Oakland Mayor Vows to Help Improve Relationship With Working Journalists

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan vowed to help improve the relationship between city police and journalists during a recent meeting with news gatherers and professional organizations. The meeting, held in late February at Oakland City Hall, was called in an effort to discuss incidents of working reporters and photographers being detained and in some cases arrested by Oakland Police Department officers during several Occupy Oakland protests in recent months.

Sara Steffens, a CWA District 9 staff representative, said the flaw lies not with the police department’s policy, but with its enforcement. “Our concern is that our members should be able to be out there working and not having to spend the night in jail,” Steffens said. “We don’t have a problem with the policy, but what’s happening in the heat of the moment.”

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WED Conference Takes ‘Building Workforce Partnerships’ to a New Level

The California Labor Federation's Workforce and Economic Development Program (WED) has once again raised the bar at its annual Building Workforce Partnerships (BWP) conference held this week in LA, where more than 400 labor leaders, workforce partners, and community activists are coming together to develop new ideas and paths to a healthier, greener economy and revitalized workforce.

BWP has gained national recognition as the largest workforce conference of its kind, where high road labor-management training partnerships are highlighted and workforce development, labor, academic, and community allies can come together to talk about workforce and economic development from a progressive perspective. This year, BWP is putting theory into practice in a new way by partnering with two national allies: the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the BlueGreen Alliance.

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Why Walmart Loves Welfare

You may have already heard that uber-retailer Walmart plans to open a 33,000 square-foot store in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Last week opponents of Walmart’s Chinatown store gathered at Sixth and Park View in MacArthur Park to listen to Walmart “associates”—the retailer’s preferred term for its employees—talk about their need for public assistance to make ends meet.

If you know L.A., you know MacArthur Park is nowhere near Chinatown. But it is across the street from a California Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) building—a place you’d go to apply for social services such as welfare and health care— for support you might need if you were employed at a poverty-wage job.

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New UFW Website Documents Personal Stories From the Farm Worker Movement

It will document the accounts of thousands of men, women and children who participated over five historic decades with Cesar Chavez and the UFW. It will tell the story of how millions of Americans, 17 million adults in a 1975 nationwide poll, rallied to the farm workers’ cause and continue to support it.

These stories range from strikers, full-time organizers and staff to volunteer pickets, marchers and countless consumers who boycotted grapes and other products. The UFW asks you to share what you did, and are still doing, for farm workers in this official and premiere location that preserves these stories and makes them available for future generations.

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Pacifica Hires Notorious Union-Busters Jackson Lewis

KPFA’s parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation, has hired Jackson Lewis, a notorious anti-union law firm which the AFL-CIO calls “America’s number one union-buster.”  The multimillion-dollar corporate firm specializes in what it calls ”preventative practices” — that is, advising managers how to obstruct workers from successfully forming unions and undermining existing unions. “Under its polished veneer lies a for-profit union-buster,” writes the nonprofit American Rights at Work, “one of the oldest and largest” such firms in the nation.

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A Living Wage: Making a Difference for Caregivers

I am an in-home care worker and vice president of a union called United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), which is a member of the Service Employees International Union. Currently, I and over 120,000 other in-home caregivers are negotiating with Los Angeles County to win a living wage and better future for home-care workers. As testimony to the need for a living wage, here is my story.

Just over 19 years ago, I started taking care of my grandmother. She already had a home-care worker but I would help with errands, help around the house and just thought to myself that after all she had done for me, this was the least I could do for her. From the moment I started taking care of her, I knew that home care was my calling.

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Seniors, Supporters Take Action to Expose Simpson/Bowles Deficit Proposal as “Full of Baloney”

Believe or not, sometimes sandwich meat can actually make a pretty good political point. That was the case on Tuesday night as the two co-chairs of the President’s Deficit Commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, came to the Paramount Theater in Oakland to push their proposed drastic changes to Social Security, including raising the retirement age, taxing benefits, and privatizing the program – even though Social Security has not added one cent to the deficit.

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“A Whole Lot of Crazy”: San Jose City Council Moves Forward With Pension Ballot Measure

After more than 2 hours of angry public testimony and a contentious debate among council members, the San Jose City Council voted 8 to 3 to go forward with an illegal ballot measure on pension reform in the June 5 Primary Election.

Council members essentially ignored the pleas of dozens of city workers, community leaders and other San Jose residents to allow further negotiations with city workers and a state audit to establish clear future pension obligations, before bringing the issue to voters. The ballot measure would effectively kill collective bargaining rights for city workers.

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Scholarships to Attend Netroots Nation 2012: Apply Today!

will be taking place in Providence, Rhode Island, from June 7th-10th. If you are Latino, Asian, or any other immigrant rights online progressive activist, be sure to apply for the scholarship so you can attend this year!

Here’s my testimonial now up on the Democracy for America’s website:

“I’m queer and I’m undocumented.” Those were the most powerful words I have ever seen a Latino youth say in front of hundreds of people. What was most remarkable was that many in the crowd had never seen a group of Latino youth speak so bluntly about either their immigration status or their sexual orientation. The Latino youth that were up on stage making such bold statements were the recipients of the Freedom from Fear Award Rigo Padilla, Reyna Wences, and Tania Unzueta of Chicago’s Immigrant Youth Justice League.

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