Let’s say you’ve been teaching for years. You’re well regarded among parents, students, teachers, and administrators. No one complains about you because you produce results— students consistently engaged and learning.
You’ve heard of rubber rooms, teacher jail, and housed teachers. You've seen YouTube videos where students openly talk about how easy it is to get a teacher fired. Students you respect have shared with you that they know there won’t be any consequences for them if they make false allegations against a teacher.
One day you’re informed that you are no longer to report to school. Why? You are told that you will later be provided the reason. But not right now. You’ve always been someone who follows the rules, and you know this mixup will be resolved in a few days. You report to an off-campus location, where other “housed” teachers are.
It’s no secret that corporate CEOs game the system to their favor. There’s a maze of loopholes and tax dodges for big corporations like Walmart that the rest of us couldn’t dream of getting. These big corporations are riding the corporate gravy train. And taxpayers like us are paying the fare.
Imagine a program that encourages unscrupulous companies to eliminate good union jobs, pack up and move to another part of the state, and get a fat tax bonus for hiring workers at low wages.
California’s poster child for the corporate gravy train is the “Enterprise Zone” (EZ) tax credit program. The program is supposed to encourage job creation in disadvantaged areas. But the only thing it actually encourages is low-paid jobs with our tax dollar support.
Hundreds of Waste Management workers belonging to the ILWU struck three facilities Friday morning, March 15, shutting down the company’s East Bay operation in for five hours. The successful job action was made possible by the support from hundreds of Teamster members who honored picket lines and refused to drive the company’s trucks that collect refuse and recycling early each morning from residential and industrial customers. Additional support came from members of the Machinists Union who honored picket lines by refusing to report for their maintenance and repair jobs during the strike.
OK, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg didn’t say “join a union.” But that’s the message the vast majority of working women should be considering this Women’s History Month. The best way for the most women to improve their working lives is through a union.
The new PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America shows how the women's movement changed the workplace for women, men and families. Two of the young Makers highlighted in the film, Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook and Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, now dominate the news. Here's what neither of them tell you: union women earn more than non-union women and have better benefits and working conditions.
Women at Facebook and Yahoo should consider spending their time organizing to have a say in their workplace.
For eighteen years, I have had the incredible opportunity and privilege to serve as Principal Timpani of the San Francisco Symphony. These years have been the best years of my musical life. As a member of this world class orchestra I have shared with my colleagues the honor of winning multiple Grammy Awards.
Unfortunately there has grown, over time, a cultural disconnect between the San Francisco Symphony Management and the musicians of the orchestra who make the music come to life. The increased divide between my colleagues’ service to the music and the failure of the San Francisco Symphony Management to recognize such commitment has been disheartening.
published a story about the important successes of campaigns to pass local minimum wage and living wage laws. However, while highlighting new developments that will impact local economies and the lives of workers, the Times
missed the real story and forces behind this growing trend.
The piece focused on two ballot-box victories for living wage laws: a minimum wage for hotel workers in Long Beach and a citywide minimum wage increase in San Jose. “The victories put these two California cities on the cusp of an emerging trend,” wrote Wesley Lowery. “Ballot initiatives, labor experts say, have the potential to rewrite labor’s playbook for how to win concessions from management.”
As Women’s History Month continues, it’s important to highlight the often unsung heroes—or heroines—doing great work that continues to push the union movement forward, like domestic workers and groups advocating on their behalf. For many of us, domestic workers are the backbone of our household, providing general family care, housekeeping and home health care. They are responsible for some of the most vital and intimate work in our nation, and yet the law does not guarantee them the same protections they guarantee our families.
of labor unions, environmental groups and tribes made clear that protecting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), our state’s landmark environmental protection law, is essential to California’s future.
Wealthy developers and corporate special interests have attacked CEQA as a hindrance to job creation, and are pushing to “reform” (i.e. gut) the law. But the facts just don’t support their claims. At an event on the steps of the Capitol this morning, the Labor Management Cooperation Trust released a report that finds that since CEQA became law in 1970, California’s manufacturing output, construction activity, per capita GDP and housing (relative to population) all grew as fast or faster than the other 49 states.
For the last year, faculty at City College of San Francisco have been under siege, not just from a newly-hostile administration, but from an accreditation commission that has threatened the district's very existence. To protect their institution, instructors, supported students and community leaders, have given up wages, campaigned for ballot measures to secure new funding, and supported changes to meet more stringent fiscal requirements while maintaining their vision of community-centered education.
Unfortunately, they have not been met halfway. Instead, AFT Local 2121 has been forced to fight at a time when cooperation is needed to save the school.
There aren’t a whole lot of journalists who cover the “union beat;” writer Philip Dine is one of the rare few. He has reported on unions and organized labor for 25 years, covering events ranging from local labor-management issues to the largest strike by black workers in Mississippi’s history, the key role of aerospace workers in our civilian and military aviation industries, the rise of public-sector unionism, labor’s national political efforts, the little-known role of American labor in assisting the fledgling democratic unions in Eastern Europe before the Wall fell, and more. He just released a new edition of his eye-opening book, “State of the Unions,” which offers an incisive look at not just the evolution of the Labor Movement itself over the last few decades, but also at the widespread misconceptions that have surfaced about organized Labor, and what we can do to change the way the public perceives unions.