Stop the Corporate Power Grab Act

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – who makes his healthy living (last reported to be $300,000 annually) fundraising, concealing, and dispensing special interest money through what the Sacramento Bee calls “a sophisticated series of nonprofit corporations and political action committees” – this week issued a righteous call to “STOP SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY.” How about that?  

Of course, anyone who has followed California politics over the last few decades knows that the group founded by the late Jarvis, now led by Coupal, is one of the biggest, most powerful, most-entrenched special interests under the dome.  As the Bee’s Dan Morain notes, “[Jarvis] is part of the Republican establishment, almost always aligned with Chamber of Commerce and real estate interests, and often with tobacco, oil, gambling and other big businesses.”

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San Diego Activists Commemorate 100-Year Anniversary of the Fight for Free Speech

It started as an organizing drive for the International Workers of the World. But one hundred years ago in San Diego, when the Wobblies took to their soapboxes, it turned into a battle to defend free speech that mobilized thousands across the country.

A city ordinance banned public speaking in a downtown area, and protesters were jailed, beaten, tarred and feathered, tortured and even killed for demanding their right to stand on a soapbox and speak. The fight attracted the likes of Emma Goldman, who was nearly attacked by a mob when she arrived in San Diego, and stretched until legal picketing was finally established three years later.

Free speech itself is on stronger footing today. We've seen across the country and right here in San Diego that the fight for real freedom continues every day. The freedom of earning a living wage and being able to afford a decent place to live as well as the freedom of building a secure retirement and having access to basic health care.

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250,000 Sign Petition to Apple to End Slave Conditions at Its Suppliers

Outraged at the inhumane treatment of workers in China who make iPads, iPhones and other Apple products, protesters visited a half-dozen Apple stores around the world last week to deliver petitions calling for reforms in the working conditions at factories run by Apple’s suppliers.

According to Democracy Now!, “A demonstration at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store in New York City drew a dozen people, who peacefully handed over a petition with 250,000 signatures to an Apple store manager. Shelby Knox, the director for, led the effort to collect the signatures.”

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Why Some Politicians Like Bad News

A couple months ago, it came to light that the city of San Jose was overestimating pension costs for the coming fiscal year by more than $50 million.  Last week, a report by City Manager Debra Figone revealed that the reserve set aside for next year’s budget shortfall had grown to $22 million, which reduces the deficit to just $3 million, but she and Mayor Chuck Reed continue to represent the shortfall as $25 million. Then on Wednesday, NBC Bay Area investigative reporters showed that the Mayor and others had overstated the city’s projected pension costs by $250 million.

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Pacifica Bounces Paychecks and Breaks Promise to Obey Labor Law

Last month, workers around the Pacifica network, including KPFA, deposited their paychecks — and were shocked to have them bounce. KPFA had sufficient funds to cover its payroll, but Pacifica pools the payroll money of its five stations, and did not warn KPFA that whoever deposited their checks last would end up with a bounced check fine.

Stewards from Communications Workers of America Local 9415, which represents KPFA’s union workers, wrote a letter to Pacifica’s Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and Chief Financial Officer LaVarn Williams reminding them that bouncing paychecks is a crime. (Read entire letter here.)

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2012 Building Workforce Partnerships Conference to Focus on Unemployment- Causes, Consequences & Solutions

Every year, the California Labor Federation’s Workforce and Economic Development Program (WED) puts on a multi-day 'Building Workforce Partnerships' conference that highlights new strategies for using high-road partnerships to build the labor movement. This year the conference theme is: “Unemployment in America: Causes, Consequences, Solutions.” The event will be held March 13th-14th at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles.

Anyone with a pulse and half a heart knows that chronic unemployment is tearing our communities and society apart; and we are left wondering, “Has it bottomed out? Is double-digit unemployment the new, accepted norm? How can we come together to help those most hurt and how do we find a way forward?” This year’s conference will tackle these questions head-on.

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New Mortgage Settlement Important Step in Holding Banks Accountable

Not only are the big banks responsible for collapsing the housing market, their irresponsible actions led to millions of workers losing their jobs through no fault of their own. And just a few months ago, the banks thought they had a deal that would give them blanket immunity for all their wrongdoing in exchange for just pennies on the dollar for what they owe California families. That would have been a slap in the face to every California family who’s suffered because of the banks’ illegal actions.

Fortunately, our Attorney General, Kamala Harris, resisted that settlement and fought for a better deal for Californians. With the announcement today of the national Attorneys General mortgage settlement, we finally see a critical, real first step in holding the banks accountable for cratering our state’s economy.

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Activists “OccuFLY” LAX

On Monday, February 6, nearly 400 flight attendants from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and local Los Angeles labor activists held a lively demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport. Flight attendants from across the world, aviation and airport employees and trade unionists from Southern California sent a powerful message to the public that workers’ rights are vital to the lifeblood of our great nation. The event, appropriately titled “OccuFLY,” featured inspirational remarks and was a reminder of the power of solidarity.

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Unemployment on the Chopping Block

Unemployment as we know it is on the chopping block.

So-called tea party legislators are trying to punish and humiliate people who are out of work—they’re even threatening to take away unemployment insurance from some people completely.

If you believe Congress should be focusing on jobs instead of punishing and even humiliating people who are out of work through no fault of their own, take action now.

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Pomona College—Anti-Immigrant?

I have worked as a cook in the dining hall at Pomona College for the past 7 years. These 7 years were the best of my career—I truly enjoyed cooking food for the students. I was proud to work there, not just because I was a Pomona staff member, but because I worked for the students and all the Claremont community. 

In early 2010, my coworkers and I started organizing to form a union so that we could have a voice on the job. We knew there would be risks involved in organizing, but we thought, Pomona is a liberal arts college and they say they care about us, so why would they fight us? But Pomona opposed our requests for a fair process to form a union from the beginning and it has been almost 2 years with no resolution.

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