Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform — And We Have Much Work Ahead

Important and good news: The pathway to provide health care for all of our people has survived. Since the Civil War, many attempts to extend health care for all have failed. As of today, June 28, 2012, the path has mostly been cleared.

Of course, the law is not an extension of Medicare for all, nor does it guarantee health care for all tomorrow. It certainly does not guarantee health care for all that is equitable, affordable and of the highest quality. Those struggles are still before us.

But, advocates for high-quality health care for all have been given a huge boost to build on the platform of the Affordable Care Act, which survived the political gridlock in Washington, D.C. Chief Justice John Roberts was the “swing vote” in the 5-4 decision that upheld the law.

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LAUSD Senior Management:  A Culture of Silence

When teachers are accused of misconduct, sometimes we’re outright fired or placed in “rubber rooms,” a.k.a. teacher jail. According to LA Unifed School District policy (Bulletin-5168.0), if no impropriety is discovered, we’re supposed to return  to our assignment within 120 days. Yet teachers routinely languish away in rubber rooms for years while the District places blame for this exile on the time it takes to conduct police investigations.

In fact, not only has it been longer than 120 days for the 85 teachers removed from Miramonte Elementary in February—not only have they not yet been allowed to return—they were never suspected of any wrongdoing. Well, what happens when those who work at LAUSD’s central offices are suspected of misconduct? Does a different standard apply?

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Youth Engaged in Solidarity at IBEW 1245

It began in 2009, when Business Manager Tom Dalzell reached out to younger members and began involving them in our union as shop stewards, unit officers, and committees, including major bargaining committees.

Inspired by the first national AFL-CIO Next Up Young Worker Summit in 2010, ten members of our local established Youth Engaged in Solidarity (YES). The goal: educate and motivate other young members to step up and get involved. YES organized a conference at IBEW 1245 headquarters, expanding the number of young members involved in this program.

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Teamsters Rally to Support Fired Latino Workers At La Michoacana

Yesterday, hundreds of Teamsters, community members and politicians came to rally in support of workers fired by ice cream manufacturer Paleteria La Michoacana, based in Modesto with distribution centers in Sacramento, Sunnyvale, Castroville and Gardena. Last month, the company fired long-time drivers, merchandisers, warehousemen and office staff just days before their election for Teamsters representation was scheduled to take place.

At yesterday’s rally, hosted by Teamsters Local 386, 572 and 853, participants wore t-shirts emblazoned with artwork that said, “WANTED: Ignacio Gutierrez for Unlawful Acts Against Latino Workers” and carried matching rally signs.

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Oakland City Council Votes to Redevelop Army Base, Creating Local Jobs

Thousands of quality construction and warehouse/operations jobs are coming to Oakland’s hardest-hit communities, thanks to a recent Oakland City Council decision to redevelop an army base that closed decades ago.

Josie Camacho, executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, which helped lead a labor-community campaign for jobs, said, “The redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base is a surefire way to kick-start job creation in the construction sector, while also creating a wealth of new jobs to maintain operations on the base. And the vital labor standards that are guaranteed by last night’s vote will benefit all Oakland residents and communities.”

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California Labor Activists Get Schooled on Stopping the Special Exemptions Act

“Our power is in people. We can beat the other side by getting people in the streets and getting them to talk about what we really believe in.”

This quote from Mike Casey, president of UNITE HERE Local 2, struck a chord with me this weekend as I participated in California Labor Federation’s 2012 Campaign School in Burlingame, just one of more than a dozen Campaign School trainings going on around the state this month. Nearly 500 union and progressive activists attended a Campaign School this week alone, and by the end of the month, as many as 2,000 or more volunteer activists will have participated in the same intensive and exciting training, as part of California Labor’s coordinated grassroots effort to Stop the Special Exemptions Act on the November ballot.

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San Diego Prepares to Greet Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiators

People from southern California and throughout the nation are preparing to greet trade negotiators and corporate lobbyists as they gather for the 13th major round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations from July 2 -10 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

The San Diego-Imperial Central Labor Council, Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) and others are holding a kick-off rally to welcome trade negotiators on Monday, July 2 at 12:00 noon at the park adjacent to the Hilton Bayfront and the Convention Center.  The broader Stop TPP Coalition, led by Occupy San Diego and others, is also planning a series of actions and educational events, the details of which will be announced online at

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In L.A. County, IBEW Local 11 Helps Organize Massive Food Drive

Across the United States, 50 million adults and 17 million children lack sufficient food every single day. To combat this, the Letter Carriers (NALC), for the past 20 years, has collected and donated food from mailboxes across the country.

For the second consecutive year, IBEW Local 11 donated its Electrical Training Center in Commerce as the home base for all donated and collected food in Los Angeles County.

IBEW members have volunteered in the collection, sorting and distribution of food for more than a decade. But last year, Business Manager Marvin Kropke made the decision to donate the Training Center as a site to support what he calls a “great cause.”

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Wanted - Ignacio Gutierrez for Unlawful Acts Against Latino Workers

In mid-May, the management at Palateria La Michoacana ice cream fired long-time delivery drivers, merchandisers, office workers and warehousemen at the Gardena and Modesto facilities, despite the fact that the boss, Ignacio Gutierrez, told employees earlier this year that his company is growing and profitable.  The employee terminations occurred nearly on the eve of the scheduled Teamster representation election date.

Join Teamsters and labor union supporters at our rally on Tuesday, June 26th in Modesto to protest the unlawful firing of workers at Michoacana. The rally will be held at Michoacana's Modesto facility (2068 Lapham Drive, Modesto, CA 95354). In addition to union members and supporters, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and Jose Hernandez, the former astronaut and winner of the Democratic primary for US Congress, will be on hand to show their support.

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Thousands of Protestors Say “Enough” to More IHSS Cuts; Dozens Arrested at Capitol

A record-breaking 10-day campaign by thousands of IHSS providers and consumers from throughout the state reached its crescendo June 13th as some five thousand IHSS consumers and members of UDW Homecare Providers Union, SEIU, and California United Homecare Workers rallied at the State Capitol.

As thousands chanted and cheered outside in 95-degree heat, hundreds of providers and consumers inside rocked the Capitol Rotunda and the hallway leading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office with an ear-splitting shout: “No More Cuts!” Nearly 50 consumers and providers, including a wheel-chair-bound woman who had just celebrated her 100th birthday, were arrested when they refused to leave the Rotunda. They were released shortly afterwards.

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