February 29: International RSI Day

February 29th is an unusual day for everyone, since it comes just once every 4 years.  However, to people who suffer from repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, thoriac outlet syndrome, rotator cuff injuries among others, this day is special. It's the only day on the calendar which is non- repetitive, and it's also International RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) Day.  It is a day to remember those of us who suffer from disorders caused by doing the same motions repeatedly that affect our muscles, nerves and tendons.

As someone who has had carpal tunnel syndrome since l998, I am luckier than most, since I became injured late in life.  When I first started my career, there were devices called typewriters, and office workers such as myself put pen to paper.

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W is for Winning — Warehouse Workers Take on Walmart

of and solidarity of workers in Walmart contracted warehouses. Last October, after working in scorching heat with no breaks for hours on end, roughly 100 workers at a major Walmart contracted warehouse took legal action against Schneider Logistics after noticing wages were being stolen from their paychecks.  The action prompted a notice to terminate the workers en masse, a discharge that was scheduled to take effect on February 24th, and a series of legal battles in which a California District Court barred the Walmart contractor from firing the workers.

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‘1000 Ways to Die’ Crew Hits the Street to Fight for Their Rights at Work

The hit TV series ‘1000 Ways to Die’ depicts vivid re-enactments of fatal catastrophes. But there’s a real catastrophe going on behind the scenes, as the hard-working crew of ‘1000 Ways to Die’ fights for fairness and a voice at work.

After four years of working in difficult conditions without union protections, the television crew at Spike TV's hit show decided to take a stand. Last Thursday, the crew voted unanimously to support the IATSE so they can finally secure affordable health care, safe working conditions and a fair union contract. But the employer, Original Productions, which also produces other hit reality shows such as 'Ice Road Truckers' and 'Deadliest Catch', refused to recognize the IATSE as the bargaining unit, and promptly fired more than 25 crew members.

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Walmart in Chinatown: There Goes the Neighborhood

The recent confirmation that Walmart will be setting up shop in LA's Chinatown made my heart drop. This is a neighborhood that will always hold a special place in my heart. Having previously worked in the community for two years, I can tell you stories of eating pastries at Phoenix Bakery or the smells of ginseng and tea wafting from Wing Hop Fung or the sound of elders debating loudly at family association meetings.

Chinatown holds so much history but it’s also a living community that remains a cultural and economic hub for hundreds of thousands of other Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian American residents. It has been the landing spot for immigrants for centuries, even after the original Chinatown was demolished and moved to its current location. Despite this disruption, the fabric of the community has managed to stay intact – continuing to provide a sense of community for many Asian Americans.

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AFL-CIO President Trumka Joins Domestic Workers at Capitol to Support CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

More than 100 domestic workers descended on the State Capitol yesterday in support of AB 889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, with a very special guest: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Trumka, who met a group of domestic worker in California last fall, has made their crusade for equal treatment and dignity on the job his own, traveling to California this week to support their cause.

At a press conference this morning, Trumka, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski, Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, V.M Perez, Bill Monning and others voiced their support for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, AB 889, a bill that extends basic protections to this often overlooked and undervalued workforce.

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Stand With Golden Gate Bridge Workers

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of America’s most famous icons. However, right now we have a disturbing and heartbreaking situation going on at the bridge.

Over 380 union members who are joined in a coalition of 19 unions have been bargaining for over 10 months without reaching an agreement, and now are down to a fight to keep healthcare affordable for their families. The Golden Gate Bridge General Manager and Board have insisted on concessions to help them out of a short-term budget challenge, while also giving the non-union employees at the District a raise in July of 2011.

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LAUSD Budget Proposal Fails to Put Classrooms and Communities First

With the recent Los Angeles Unified School District/United Teachers Los Angeles agreement to stabilize schools, LAUSD officials embraced a renewed commitment to fixing schools rather than continuing to abdicate that responsibility to outside interests.

Then, they took four steps back by creating a devastating “fiscal stabilization” budget that would decimate communities and educational opportunities. In a small spot of good news, School Board members voted unanimously to delay approving this budget, but they will take the issue back up on March 13.

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Workers at SoCal Carwashes Win First Contracts

won their first contracts with carwash owners after they voted last year to join the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675.

The workers at Vermont Carwash and Nava’s Carwash in South Los Angeles came together in the CLEAN Carwash Campaign to fight for their rights. The CLEAN Carwash Campaign is a coalition supported by the USW, the AFL-CIO and more than 100 community, faith and labor organizations in Los Angeles.

Today, the carwasheros celebrated their victory at a ceremony with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Solidarity: The Next Generation

group donned zombie gear, marched down to a music event at a city park and held a flash mob. Then they camped overnight in support of workers.

The group has about 50 active members, with 150 more involved via email. They hold at least three events a month not including activities like voter registration drives. They attend alliance events, hold happy hours and raise awareness around social justice issues.

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Beverly Nurses Fight for Quality Patient Care, Fair Wages, & Union Protections

by Ken Deitz, RN and Barbara Blake, RN

Beverly Hospital is a community hospital that serves working families in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Monterey Park, El Monte, Whittier, and East Los Angeles. In recent years, the quality of care at Beverly has plummeted. The hospital’s roof is leaking, there isn’t enough medical equipment, and existing equipment is broken. Wages are so low that the hospital can’t keep enough experienced nurses to maintain safe staffing levels as required by state law.

While hospital administrators refuse to invest in Beverly’s staff and equipment, the hospital’s CEO, Gary Kiff, has been getting pay raises and bonuses, now making more than $400k a year. Over the years, Beverly’s Registered Nurses have made repeated individual attempts to speak to management about our concerns – but we have gotten nowhere. We chose to form a union so that we would have a real voice in patient care and working conditions.

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