Good, Local Jobs Prevail in Mountain View

Dennis Raj

With an overwhelming 6 to 1 majority vote, the Mountain View City Council passed a Prevailing Wage requirement for new affordable housing projects in the city. Mountain View, like other Charter Cities, was longer required to pay prevailing wages after a California Supreme Court ruling last year that made clear charter cities retain the autonomy to decide prevailing wage for themselves. 

A prevailing wage ordinance requires the payment of an hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime, paid to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics with a particular area. Make no mistake; this is an important victory for the local economy, construction workers and the residents of Mountain View.

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Leadership Needed from BART Directors to Avert Strike

Art Pulaski

Whether BART closes down this week will come down to one issue and one issue only: whether the BART Board of Directors shows leadership or continues to act to hold Bay Area transit riders hostage by using the same playbook a small minority of elected officials in Washington, DC have used to close down our federal government. 

No one in the Bay Area—whether they ride BART or not—wants to see a BART strike. This is especially true of BART workers, who live in one of the most expensive regions in the world and do not receive a paycheck while they are on strike.

To demonstrate their commitment to reaching a deal before cooling-off period expires tonight, BART workers have put a proposal on the table that is fair and affordable and incentivizes BART workers to keep the system one of the nation's best.

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When Public and Private Meet, Extra Care Is Needed

Donald Cohen

Across the nation, private companies are looking to take over public services. A legislative battle in Sacramento over a bill to privatize state trial courts epitomizes the promises and pitfalls of privatization.

Assembly Bill 566 (Wieckowski) would require that before contracting services out, courts must provide proof of cost savings, create employment standards, engage in a competitive bidding process, and undergo regular financial and performance audits bill sits on the governor's desk for signature or veto and the lobbying is intense.

As in most debates over outsourcing of public services, opponents' central claim is that privatizing essential courtroom services such as court reporting, processing cases, probate investigations, and interpretive services, saves dollars.

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Heroic Fight by Sutter Nurses Shows That Workers Can Fight and Win

Rose Ann DeMoro

In a political and economic climate so heavily influenced by Wall Street, corporate CEOs, and extremists like those who shut down the government in an effort to block even the modest reforms of the Affordable Care Act, it's sometimes hard to remember that it is still possible for nurses and working people to fight and win.

Well, thank goodness for the 3,000 RNs, and a few hundred techs, who work at Sutter hospitals and facilities in Northern California. They have just delivered an emphatic message to nurses and other workers everywhere. Stand up for yourselves, stand up for the public interest and the public will be with you and you can prevail.

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Legislators Travel to Hanford Express Support for Marquez Brothers Workers

Doug Bloch

Last week, three Assemblymembers traveled to Hanford to meet with Marquez Brothers workers and demonstrate their commitment for California Latinos to realize the American Dream.  Driving over eight hours to get there, Roger Hernandez, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor Employment; V. Manny Perez, Vice Chair of California Latino Legislative Caucus, and Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego met firsthand with a standing-room only crowd of Marquez workers.  They carried a letter signed by fourteen members of the Latino Legislative Caucus and the Assembly and Senate Labor committees expressing their strong support for the Marquez workers.

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Despite Government Shutdown, Health Care Exchanges Begin Enrollment

Anthony Wright

Tuesday marked the begining of a six-month open enrollment in the new benefits and options of the Affordable Care Act, including with the launch of Covered California, our state’s marketplace for health care coverage.

Now millions of Californians are now able to shop, compare, and buy affordable, high quality health insurance through Covered California, a new insurance marketplace where individuals, families and small business can also get financial assistance to pay for health coverage. This brings us a major step close to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

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Proposed California Laws Will Protect Immigrant Workers Even if Federal Reform Fails

 left only a narrow opening for states to pass and enforce immigration-related legislation. Nevertheless, the enactment of immigration-related state laws and resolutions in 2013 increased by 83 percent compared with the first half of 2012. California has been a leader, passing numerous laws that would benefit immigrant workers and protect labor standards for U.S. workers. Despite extensive media coverage of the TRUST Act and two other bills—one that would grant “domestic workers” overtime pay (which became law last week) and another permitting unauthorized immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses—four others would protect the labor and employment rights of California’s unauthorized immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers (“guestworkers”).

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Sutter Nurses’ Stance and Strikes for Patient Care Pay off with Tentative Pact

 during the past two years protesting sweeping reductions in patient care, nurses’ standards and workplace conditions that Sutter Health system demanded during contract talks at San Francisco Bay area hospitals, some 3,000 registered nurses have reached a tentative agreement that eliminates more than 200 concession demands.

The agreement, announced Friday, covers RNs and several hundred respiratory, X-ray and other technicians who work at Alta Bates Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Sutter Solano in Vallejo and Sutter Delta in Antioch. The health care professionals are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) or its affiliate Caregivers and Hospital Employees Union.

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