AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust Celebrates Workers At Pension-Funded Construction Project

Paul Burton

The all-union construction crew at the new 888 San Mateo Apartments project in San Mateo was recognized at a worker appreciation event May 16, hosted by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), in partnership with the San Mateo County Building Trades and Sares Regis Group of Northern California. The $69.9 million development that broke ground in June 2012 is funded by the BIT, which invests union pension funds in building projects around the country.

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California Unions Launch ‘Short and Strong’ Student Video Contest to Capture Immigration Stories

 and UNITE HERE, the restaurant and hotel workers union, want to encourage more young students to share their stories of immigration—either their own or somebody else’s—with the country, especially with national lawmakers who may vote on an immigration reform bill as soon as later this year. The two labor organizations are sponsoring a student short film contest called “Cortos y Fuertes / Short and Strong.” The author of the best overall video will receive $2,000.

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Stockton Workers and Seniors Take Taxpayer Protection Fight to Walmart’s Doorstep

Tim Robertson

Dozens of Stockton-area workers and seniors streamed into the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter this morning to deliver an important message: Walmart must pay its fair share for health care. It was the second stop on the statewide “Close the Walmart Loophole” tour.

Not even the grey sky or the rainy weather could dampen the spirits of the members of AFSCME, UFCW, Teamsters and other unions and seniors from the California Association of Retired Americans who all came together to fight for what is right for taxpayers. 

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Honda Center Workers Become Latest Victims of Enterprise Zone Program

Rebecca Band

While 400 workers at the Honda Center in Anaheim are trying to figure out how to make ends meet when they all lose their jobs at the end of next month, their employer is set to collect as much as $14.8 million in so-called “job creation” tax credits – and it’s all thanks to the flawed Enterprise Zone program.

According to Voice of OC“The company, Anaheim Arena Management, can take advantage of the tax break because it is within the city's enterprise zone, a program designed to spur investment and job growth in economically depressed areas. Last week, the workers were given notice, effective June 30, that they will lose their jobs when the company ends its contract with Aramark, the Honda Center's longtime food service concessionaire. On Tuesday, the company announced it will hire 500 new workers for food jobs at the city-owned arena, which is home to the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks.”

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America’s Killer Jobs

, has sparked appropriate global outrage, with advocates, pundits and politicians calling for tougher laws to protect exploited workers in Third World countries.

While this tragedy, like many before it, seems far removed from the reality of the American workplace, it isn’t nearly as remote as we might think — a fact eerily underscored by the deadly fertilizer plant fire in Texas that preceded the Bangladeshi catastrophe.

While the surreal quality of the Texas disaster was somewhat unique, the deaths and injuries caused by it were not. Every year thousands of American workers die on the job, and millions are injured.

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We May Sell Peanuts, But We Shouldn’t Have to Work for Them

Billie Feliciano

I’ve worked concessions at Giants games since 1978. Back then, a 24-ounce beer cost $3.75 and the average ticket to a game was less than $4.00.  I was working the World Series at Candlestick in 1989 when the earthquake hit.  All the people at the park became united and strong during the emergency.  All the workers helped each other.  When we moved to AT&T Park, we started working for a new concessionaire, now called Centerplate, but we’ve always worked for Giants fans.

My older son Damon started wrapping hot dogs with me in 1990, when he was 14 years old.  He worked his way up to being a stand manager over 12 years before he passed away.  My younger son Timothy works at AT&T Park too while he’s attending college. 

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Effort to Stop Koch Brothers’ Takeover of LA Times Gains Momentum

Steve Smith

 “Don’t sell out to the Koch brothers / Don’t let the brothers in the door/ We don’t want them taking over / That is what we’re marching for.”

That was the message, as sung by acclaimed musician Ry Cooder, carried by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who marched and rallied today to urge Oaktree Capital Management not to sell the respected Los Angeles Times to right-wing extremists David and Charles Koch.  The “No Koch Hate in LA” rally was sponsored by the LA County Federation of Labor and community allies.

The brothers have expressed interest in buying the Times and other media holdings of the Tribune Co., threatening the journalistic integrity of some of the nation’s most venerable media outlets and providing an unprecedented megaphone to the Kochs to push their radical agenda.

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Governor’s May Revise Proposes Important Fixes to Broken Enterprise Zone Program

Steve Smith

While there were lots of complicated formulas on things like health care funding and education in today’s May Revise of the California budget that will take some time to fully analyze, one thing is clear: The Governor is no fan of the broken enterprise zone (EZ) tax giveaway program. At least not in its current form.

Today’s Budget Revise proposes a major overhaul of the EZ program that would likely do away with some of the worst abuses that are costing the state hundreds of millions without producing jobs in return.

According to the May Revise, “Created over 25 years ago, the Enterprise Zone program should be reshaped to meet the needs of the current economy. In its current form it fails to encourage the creation of new jobs and instead rewards moving jobs from one place to another within the state.”

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Labor Commissioner Julie Su Cracks Down on Employers That Exploit Workers & Violate the Law

Mitch Seaman

No one wins when employers break labor laws, but whenever California’s star Labor Commissioner Julie Su announces the latest round of enforcement actions, it sure feels like a victory.

Case in point: This week, Commissioner Su hit three of the worst violators with over $1.8 million in backpay and penalty assessments for stealing employees’ wages, defrauding the workers’ comp system and willfully breaking a variety of other workforce protection laws. Her efforts to ensure the responsible use of public funds, protect workers and promote legitimate contractors help keep California a great place to live and work.

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My Story: Gaining Skills and Experience as an Apprentice Electrician at LAX

Hannah Cooper

For the past year and a half, ­­I’ve had the great fortune of working on the new addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In the first two years of my electrical apprenticeship with IBEW Local 11, I worked on small jobs for small shops that had a very limited scope of work, so there weren’t very many aspects of the trade I had exposure to, much to my disappointment. 

I was enormously frustrated with my limited experience. I would dream of working on a large, “class A” construction site for a good union shop that would afford me experience and training in more aspects of our field. But after a couple of years in the trade, based on the tales I’d heard from old-timers who worked in Los Angeles during the construction boom following the Northridge earthquake in the 90s, it seemed like a pipe dream.

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