Students, Workers Rally at Cosumnes River College for Jobs

Like many college students, Tanya Reyes is doing what she can to try to build a better future for herself. Every weekday, she makes the 1 ½ hour drive from her home to Cosumnes River College to pursue a college education. But over the last year, the class offerings have become slimmer. Educators have been let go. The economic outlook has become even gloomier, making her wonder what opportunities await her after college.

She, like hundreds of others at an “America Wants to Work” rally at the college last week, is becoming increasingly frustrated with the GOP obstructionism on the President’s jobs plan. The American Jobs Act could put hundreds of thousands of people to work right away, alleviate the devastating cuts to her college and so many others, and spur economic growth so that she could look at the future with a sense of optimism.

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North Valley Union Members and Candidates Connect

The San Joaquin-Calaveras CLC held a first-of-its-kind candidate training Saturday, October 22 at the CLC’s new labor center in Stockton. Leaders from several affiliates held discussions with candidates about issues important to public and private sector workers, education workers, and the Building Trades. Candidates for Congress on down to School Board attended, though the training was intended for candidates for local offices. Assembly and higher offices have a different process, but also found this training helpful.

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What the Hell is a Solidarity Sleepover?

What would cause 13 mostly 30- and 40-something electricians to come up with an event like the “Solidarity Sleepover” at Occupy LA? It all started with a text message. Howard Brown, adventurer, electrician and Occupy LA supporter wrote me, “would like 2 c mas union presence.” I had not been down to Occupy LA and before I put my name near it, I needed to do some recon to check it out. I had heard that it was this leaderless movement that really had no strong positions on anything because they could not get a consensus from the group. Being a lifelong Democrat, that sounded vaguely familiar.  So down to City Hall I went with my good friend Gary in tow. I figured I needed some backup in case somebody tried to put a red Che Guevara beret on me when I wasn’t looking.

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LA Times Exposes Disney’s “Electronic Whip”

who have been struggling to hold on to family healthcare and prevent full-time jobs from becoming part-time.  The workers haven’t had a contract in four years. I wanted Lopez to go to workers’ homes, hear their stories and meet their kids. His stripped-down story telling captures the human condition like no other.

And that’s what he did. He spent an hour at the Santa Ana home of Carmen Guzman, a Disneyland housekeeper-turned-hostess who suffered uterine cancer. He visited a young worker named Robert Cox who rents a room with a co-worker to make ends meet and waited in the rain for some laundry workers to finish their shifts.

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Pension Truth Squad: Public Employees Are Doing Their Part

As lawmakers examine public pensions and Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to release his new pension agenda, firefighters, law enforcement officers and others are fighting to preserve retirement security for California’s middle class. The Pension Truth Squad gathered outside a legislative hearing today to set the record straight about politically motivated attacks on public worker pensions.

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Victory at the Carwash

Yesterday was a historic moment for carwash workers in Los Angeles – after years of fighting the deplorable workplace conditions, workers have finally secured their first union contract. The agreement, with Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, marks the first contract won by the CLEAN (Community Labor Environmental Action Network) Campaign and makes Los Angeles home to the only unionized carwash in the country.

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Labor Icon Joe Hill—The Man Who Never Died

One hundred years ago, workers were fighting for the middle class, organizing for One Big Union; today they’d likely call themselves “The 99 Percent.” Songs united their movement and unified their actions, and many of those songs were written by a Swedish immigrant who called himself Joe Hill. In 1915, Hill was executed by firing squad—most claim it was because he had a red union card in his pocket—but he remains “The Man Who Never Died.”

This Wednesday, October 26, we will sing the songs of Joe Hill, accompanied by local musician Hali Hammer, carrying Hill’s vision of labor solidarity into our century. William B. Adler, author of a new Joe Hill biography described in The New York Times that he “saw the book as a murder mystery, and I saw myself in the role of gumshoe.” Adler will answer questions and share stories from his book of the man and the myth, Joe Hill.

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Nurses to Obama: Push for a Global Financial Transaction Tax, Now!

by Roseann Demoro

Will President Obama be the main holdout when world leaders, under growing pressure from the occupy Wall Street protests across the world and demand building for a tax on international financial transactions, meet early next month at the G-20 summit in France?

Nurses from at least four continents, including a U.S. delegation from National Nurses United, will deliver that message November 3 at the G-20 summit meeting November 3 in Cannes – urging enactment of a financial transaction tax that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year to heal global economies, promote sustainable development and environmental security, and strengthen quality public services.

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Bridging the Income Gap

There's obviously no easy way to bridge the income gap between the rich and the rest of us or to combat the other serious economic problems raised by the Occupy Wall Street movement. But keep in mind the crucial ­ if not decisive ­ role that labor unions can play in righting our economic wrongs.

Union members earn a lot more than non-union workers overall and within particular occupations, and in age, gender and racial groups, and so spend more. They have more and greater fringe benefits, a greater voice in community and political affairs and otherwise are in a good position to span the income gap as well as contribute to the growth of the economy that's so badly needed.

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The Jobs Crisis and A *New* New Deal for America

and Richard Walker

The nation is experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. Princeton economist and former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, Alan Blinder, calls the current crisis a “national jobs emergency.” The official unemployment rate in September was 9.1 percent – nearly twice the rate a decade ago – leaving 14 million people out of work. In California, the rate is much worse, 12.1 percent, with over two million workers out of luck.

President Obama’s jobs plan would provide a much-needed extension of unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut for working Americans, but it will do little to dent the catastrophic rate of unemployment. What we need today is a massive jobs program like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) launched by President Franklin Roosevelt. The WPA put millions of people back to work in the midst of the Great Depression, restoring their dignity, putting money in their pockets, and quite literally saving lives.

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