Skip the Shopping Line; Spend Black Friday on the Picket Line

Rebecca Band

Despite raking in $17 billion in profits this year, Walmart (one on the richest employers in the world) still insists on paying its workers poverty wages. The average Walmart employee earns just $8.81 an hour, which amounts to $17,000 a year for those who are lucky enough to have full-time work. Most Walmart employees earn so little that they quality for public assistance programs, and we the taxpayers effectively provide massive subsidies to the company through food stamps and other programs. 

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UC Health Care Workers Strike, Charging Harassment and Intimidation

Mike Hall

Today, some 22,000 surgical and X-ray technicians, custodians, servers, cooks and other workers at nine University of California campuses and all of U.C.’s medical centers are on a one-day unfair labor practice strike over what they say is intimidation and harassment of workers who took part in an earlier strike over patient safety in May.

“Our members have both the legal right and moral responsibility to stand up for the safety of the students and patients we serve,” AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger said. “By attempting to silence workers, UC hasn’t just repeatedly broken the law—it has willfully endangered all who come to UC to learn, to heal and to build a better life for their families.”

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Truck Drivers Who Haul for Walmart Strike at the Port of LA

The latest wave of low-wage worker strikes is upon us, and it begins today with Teamster-supported port drivers who haul goods for Walmart at the Port of Los Angeles. At 5 a.m., port drivers took up “Stop this unlawful war on workers signs” and hit the picket lines in a surprise short strike. Teamsters are marching in solidarity with the drivers.

Local television, print and radio crews came out to cover the job action (check out news coverage here). The advisory informs us port truck drivers at three companies are walking off the job for 36 hours to protest Unfair Labor Practices, including harassment, intimidation, and other violations of Federal labor laws.

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TTSI’s Port Drivers Demand to Be Treated as Employees


Jessica Durrum

Twenty-seven port truck drivers walked into the Rancho Dominguez offices of Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI) Thursday and presented their employer with a petition. Their demand was simple: to be properly recognized as employees.

TTSI is one of the largest port trucking companies in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. TTSI’s business model – like the vast majority of port trucking companies in the country – relies on misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors.

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Workers Standing Together to Demand Respect at Taylor Farms

Doug Bloch

The ability for workers to stand together to improve working conditions and bargain for fair wages is essential to the American Dream. But at Taylor Farms in Tracy, the bosses are threatening and intimidating workers as part of a campaign to stop those workers from joining a union.

Today, community leaders and workers rallied outside of a Taylor Farms facility this morning to demand respect, living wages and affordable benefits for immigrant workers. Workers were joined by San Joaquin Supervisor Carlos Villapudua and other community allies, including faith leaders and immigrant rights activists.

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“JumpStart Vallejo” Coalition Makes Big Electoral Gains for Working Families

 joined forces with a coalition rarely seen in any city. Driven by the negative impacts that municipal bankruptcy has had on the City of Vallejo’s ability to attract businesses or provide for adequate public safety and an image of dysfunctional leadership, the Labor Council partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, police, fire, realtors, building trades, teachers, democrats and conservatives to form JumpStart Vallejo. For the first time, all these very distinctive groups had the chance to come together in order to identify, vet and then come to consensus on four candidates we all felt would be the best to move Vallejo forward.

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“Ban the Box” Helps Forge Strong Labor-Community Alliances

Maurice Emsellem

At the National Employment Law Project (NELP),  where we advocate for low-wage and unemployed workers, some of our most inspiring moments have come from being involved in campaigns where labor and the community work together for greater economic justice.  

The recent passage of AB218 — Assemblymember Roger Dickinson’s “ban the box” bill — was a shining example of the labor movement working in alliance with the community to expand economic opportunity to people hardest hit by unemployment.  The unions, led by the California Labor Federation and SEIU Local 1000, were an essential partner to the powerful coalition that organized with NELP for more than two years to provide a second chance to the one in five Californians with a criminal record who struggle to find work.

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Huge “Thanking Our Heroes” Event in OC Caps Union Program to Support State’s Veterans

Steve Smith

A week of union-led volunteer service projects to our nation’s veterans culminated yesterday with an inspiring event in Orange County, honoring our nation’s heroes. I was fortunate enough to join about 3,000 working families and vets at this special event, sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association and OC unions, which was part of the statewide Veterans and Labor – Partners in Service project.

It was truly an amazing day.

The day featured kids making holiday cards to send to ailing vets. The Teamsters Horseman rode Harley Davidsons in solidarity with veterans. There was a food and donation drive. Building and Construction Trades unions offered veterans information on apprenticeship programs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, along with union leaders, local elected officials and veterans groups, unveiled the new commemorative World War II Medal of Honor postage stamp.

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NNU’s Disaster Response Network Seeking RNs, Donations for Philippine Typhoon Relief Effort

Mike Hall

In the aftermath of the devastation from Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, one of the worst storms on record, the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), a project of National Nurses United (NNU), has put out a call for volunteers and donations through its vast network of direct-care nurses both nationally and internationally. After a request sent out this weekend from RNRN, within five hours, 370 RNs already had signed up to help.

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California Labor Unveils New Policy Platform to Boost Struggling Veterans

Rebecca Band

“Thank you for your service.” It’s a line we hear a lot around Veteran’s Day, especially in California, home to more than 1.8 million veterans, more than in any other state.

But if we really want to show gratitude for our veterans, then we need to do more than utter a simple “thank you.” We need to help these brave heroes find a middle-class life when they return from serving our country.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs annual survey of veterans, jobs are the biggest concern for our returning veterans, and for good reason — the unemployment rate for veterans of recent conflicts is an unacceptable 10 percent, and 1.5 million young veterans — many with families to support — currently live under the poverty line.

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