Union and Government Partner for Good of City

Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was asked by the city to take charge of an $8.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program to weatherize the homes of low-income customers. The nonprofits that typically do the work didn’t feel they had the capabilities.

Brian D’Arcy, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 — the union that represents most LADWP workers — saw an opportunity to work with the Department to kick-start an 18-month training program that would address the problem of an aging LADWP workforce. The “Utility Pre-Craft Trainee Program” would link L.A.’s struggling communities with careers in the utility at a time when 40 percent of Local 18’s 8,000 members were at or near retirement age. These trainees would be an ideal workforce for the weatherization program.

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National Day of Action: Workers Fight Back Against Corporate Greed

Hundreds of workers converged upon downtown San Francisco today to blow the whistle – literally and figuratively – on corporations that they say slash worker benefits and pay and outsource jobs while lavishing bonuses upon executives.

In particular, the Day of Action, which brought demonstrators out in cities across the U.S., trained its sights on Verizon Communications, where management and unions have been locked in a fight over benefits since a contract lapsed in August.

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The Hiring Hall and Home Defense: A Powerful Linkage

Inspired by the Occupy movement, over 100 people showed up yesterday outside the homes of two African American families in Bay View, one of the traditional black neighborhoods of San Francisco. A year ago, or even two months ago, this home defense, led by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), would have scraped to enlist 1-20 people to be present. Now buoyed by the effervescence of the Occupy moment, unionists, community leaders and politicians all swarmed Quesada Avenue in San Francisco. A high point was when a jubilant and visibly moved black homeowner came out her door and called the assembled group her “angels of mercy”. Then the banners of Occupy San Francisco arrived, and cheers of “They got bailed out, we got thrown out!” rang through the streets as we marched to two of the fourteen houses on the same street being foreclosed.

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The GOP’s Assault on Labor Rights: What is Happening in the States?

The past 15 months have seen a remarkable assault by the GOP on federal labor rights.

Republicans have introduced numerous bills designed to undermine the National Labor Relations Act, all with wonderfully deceptive names suggesting they would strengthen the rights of ordinary workers: Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, Employee Rights Act, Jobs Protection Act, Employee Workplace Freedom Act, Secret Ballot Protection Act, National Right to Work Act, Truth in Employment Act, National Labor Relations Reorganization Act, and others.

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California Assembly Joins Growing Movement to Overturn Citizens United

Score one for REAL campaign finance reform.

Today the California State Assembly, with support from the California Labor Federation, Common Cause and many other labor and good government groups, joined the growing chorus nationwide to overturn the Citizens United decision.

By a vote of 48-22 the Assembly passed AJR 22, co-authored by Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Michael Allen (D-Sonoma County), which calls on Congress to overturn the outrageous Citizens United decision. Citizens United is fueling an unprecedented growth of corporate money in politics that, if allowed to continue, threatens the fabric of our democracy.

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New Resources to Raise Awareness of California Paid Family Leave

This year, we are celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the passage of a pioneering law for California’s working families. In 2002, a coalition of unions and community organizations including the Labor Project for Working Families successfully passed the first Paid Family Leave (PFL) law in the nation. The law established a family leave insurance program that enables millions of Californians to be there for a seriously ill family member or a new child without worrying about losing their income when they take time off from work.

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California Labor Launches “Invest in California” Jobs Plan for the 99%

California was built with a vision that prioritized investments in our future. From creating a world-class infrastructure to seeding innovation through our schools and universities, investments fueled the economic miracle that once was our state. But as those investments dried up in recent years, we’ve risked tearing the very fabric of California.

It’s time to chart a different course.

Today, the California Labor Federation and the State Building and Construction Trades Council unveiled Labor’s new “Invest in California” jobs plan, which focuses on renewing the state’s commitment to innovation and investments that built an economy of broadly shared prosperity.

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Labor’s 2012 Legislative Conference Focuses on Investing in California

It’s not often that union leaders, representatives and activists from all over the state come together to plan and execute a shared agenda for the good of all working families. That’s what makes Labor’s annual Joint Legislative Conference, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council, so special. And this year’s conference has been no exception.

More than 500 union advocates from hundreds of different unions joined together at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento yesterday to learn about and advocate for labor’s legislative priorities for 2012. In true conference tradition, the morning plenary session kicked off with four brave workers sharing their personal stories about the exploitation and hostility they (and hundreds of thousands of other warehouse workers) face every day working at Walmart-subcontracted warehouses in the Inland Empire.

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Hundreds Converge in Sacramento for Labor’s 2012 Joint Legislative Conference

Today, more than 500 leaders and activists from hundreds of California unions are coming together in Sacramento for Labor’s 2012 Joint Legislative Conference, hosted by the California Labor Federation and the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The annual conference gives union activists from all across the state the chance to get involved in Labor’s policy-making endeavors by learning about and weighing in on our 2012 legislative agenda, hearing from key elected officials and engaging directly with legislators at the Capitol.

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Test Mania: A School is Not a Spreadsheet

LAUSD has issued more than 9,500 RIF notices to UTLA bargaining unit members, denying educational opportunities to our communities, and shuttering Arts Programs, Adult Education, and Early Childhood Education.

The LAUSD school board majority says they they don't have a choice, even though they're spending $2 million to $4 million (the equivalent of 25 to 50 employees) on citywide implementation of the Early Start Calendar; they're keeping $200 million locked away in a drawer, accounting for it as money they'll spend later; and over the next four years the District intends to increase the number of administrators by 27% (according to the four-year budget LAUSD submitted to the county).

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