Support for Striking Verizon Workers Spreads from Coast to Coast

Labor’s battle with Verizon Communications Inc. has spread to the West Coast as 45,000 striking telephone workers across the Northeast rally support nationwide for middle-class jobs.

That's why rowdy pickets of CWA members and their allies have been showing up daily at Verizon Wireless retail outlets. Members of the San Francisco Labor Council staged one of the biggest Bay Area rallies Wednesday, including members of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, NABET and other CWA units as well as other labor allies.

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Women of Labor Unite in Sacramento

by Rebecca Greenberg Band

The face of the labor movement is changing. Gone are the mostly male unions that were so prevalent just a generation ago. Nowadays, fully 45% of all union members are women, and by 2020 women will make up the majority of the unionized workforce. Union women are powerful activists, and have begun stepping into leadership positions like never before.

This year’s “Women of Labor” conference, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and UFCW Women’s Network, brought union women from around the state together to foster solidarity and leadership for a new kind of workforce – and a new kind of labor movement. The second annual conference, which took place this week in Sacramento, drew more than 200 union women (and some men too) from right here in California and as far away as Egypt, Tunisia and Hungary.

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SoCal Grocery Workers Still Fighting to Get Justice and Avert Strike

More than 62,000 grocery workers at Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons in southern California have been working on a contract extension since March, when the grocery chains proposed new health care provisions with higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays that would force some workers to pay as much as half their paycheck for coverage.

The average grocery store worker makes $25,000 per year. We understand the economic realities of the day, but these workers simply cannot afford to have those additional healthcare costs shifted onto their backs — especially when the grocery chains have raked in $5 BILLION in profits over the last three years. We know they can afford to take care of the people that make the money for them. They just don't want to.

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Victory for Workers’ Rights in Santa Barbara “News-Press Mess”

In a sweeping decision, the National Labor Relations Board last week ordered the Santa Barbara News-Press to reinstate me and seven other reporters who were illegally fired nearly five years ago, after our newsroom voted to unionize. I was the first to be escorted out of the building in October, 2006, one month after we voted overwhelmingly to join the union. I was a senior writer, I had been at the paper for 21 years, and I had won local, state, regional and national awards for the paper with my reporting.

Back in July of 2006, the News-Press newsroom faced a crisis. Five top editors resigned, alleging that Wendy McCaw, the multimillionaire owner, was improperly meddling in news coverage, in part by arbitrarily disciplining her own reporters and editors. In September of that year, seeking to protect our professional integrity and job security, we newsroom employees voted 33-6 to join the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

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APALA Unites Generations of Activists in Largest, Liveliest Convention Ever

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)’s 11th biennial convention which took place July 21-24 in Oakland, drew in the biggest crowd in APALA history. Over 1500 people participated in the Friday rally (co-hosted by the Alameda Labor Council) at Oakland City Hall, protesting lending practices at Wells Fargo as well as calling for workers’ and immigrants’ rights.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis opened the convention, addressing wage theft, and was met with a standing ovation for her strong support for the DREAM Act.  The convention’s impressive lineup of speakers also included AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, and California Labor Federation Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski.

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There’s a Hole in the Budget Bucket

Uh-oh. It looks like there’s a hole in the bucket Governor Brown is using to bail out the state. After Republicans refused to let voters decide on tax extensions, the legislature scrambled to put together a budget that avoided cutting essential services like education and public safety. In the end, Governor Brown signed a budget into law that depended on $4 billion in projected new revenues to close the gap.

That seems almost too good to be true—just promise to find an extra $4 billion in the couch and the state avoids painful cuts. Well, it is turning out to be too good to be true. If the state doesn’t get $4 billion in revenue, then “trigger” cuts go into effect. Depending on how short the state is, those cuts include more reductions to higher education, increased community college fees, slashing child care and deep cuts to public education. The cuts to K-12 could reduce the school year by 7 days and eliminating school bus service.

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Rabbis Declare Hyatt ‘Not Kosher’

A group of 21 rabbis and other community faith leaders have declared several Hyatt hotels to be “not kosher” and have vowed to avoid the hotels until they provide decent wages and safe conditions for all their workers, expecially housekeepers.

Meanwhile, in California, pressure is building on the giant hotel chain to drop its opposition to legislation that would require companies to adopt a few common-sense practices to protect housekeepers from getting hurt. The bill would require California hotels to provide housekeepers with fitted sheets (so housekeepers don’t have to lift 100-pound mattresses to tuck the bottom sheets underneath) and mops (so they don’t have to scrub bathroom floors by hand).

Take action. Click here to tell Hyatt: Stop opposing a bill that would keep your workers safe.

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Study: Early Care and Education Industry Strengthens Entire California Economy

More than 850,000 California children and their families are enrolled in early care and education programs in child care centers, preschools or family child care homes. The early care and education industry is not only important to children and their parents, it also strengthens the California economy as a whole. In a new report I co-authored with Jenifer MacGillvary, we discuss the range of economic benefits that the industry brings to California.

Every dollar spent on early care and education yields $2 in economic output for the California economy.  Spending on child care services increases demand at child care suppliers and at the grocery stores, health care centers and other local businesses where child care workers spend their income. The industry also supports 200,000 jobs in California, including direct jobs caring for and educating children as well as jobs at those outlets where child care businesses and workers shop and purchase services.

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Verizon Workers Fighting for Middle-Class Jobs

and rallies up and down the East Coast, Verizon workers and their allies are telling the hugely profitable corporation that they will not allow it to destroy their middle-class jobs.

The workers—members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Electrical  Workers (IBEW)—went on strike yesterday after Verizon would not back off from its $1 billion giveback demands. That’s about $20,000 per Verizon family. The strike, says CWA District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton, is: “all about good jobs. Companies like Verizon should be investing in rebuilding the American economy, not contributing to the destruction of good, middle-class jobs.”

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Spread the Word on Paid Family Leave

Imagine this. You pay into an insurance fund for years but never use its benefits – even when you need it the most – because you are not aware of your rights!  That’s the case with many California workers.

Almost all California workers pay into the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) fund – an insurance plan that provides workers partialwage-replacement for pregnancy related and other disability leaves as well as the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.  The PFL program pays workers up to six weeks of their partial wages (55%) when they take time off to bond with a new child (including adoptive and foster children) or care for a seriously ill family member (parent, child, spouse or domestic partner).

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