What does the history of Labor Day mean for its future?

       Art for Social Justice by Ricardo Levins Morales

For many, the legacy of Labor Day has been forgotten. We forget about the struggle that so many fought and even died for to achieve decent working conditions. We take for granted that children no longer have to slave away in American factories for 17 hours a day, six days a week. We undervalue what it took to get the weekend. After all, that’s what makes Labor Day such a treat in the first place–we get a three-day weekend instead of the boring old two. And for those of us still lucky enough, the 40 hour work week is just the standard.



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Chemical Industry Scare Tactics: Toxic and Dangerous

President, California Professional Firefighters

It’s the end of August and, like the rest of California, Sacramento is seeing temperatures rise. But over at the Capitol, legislators are sitting in the middle of a blizzard of alarmist rhetoric from the chemical industry about legislation to disclose the use of toxic flame retardants on furniture. From banner advertising to op-eds to a torrent of legislative attacks, the chemical lobby has unleashed a torrent of fear mongering about fire safety to take down SB 1019.





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Passing Paid Sick Days Shows That We Matter

Yesterday I went to Sacramento to join folks from the Organization United for Respect (OUR Walmart) campaign for a Lobby Day. It was one of those days where a big group gets together and knocks the doors of those legislators who have sworn to make laws that serve and protect the needs of their California constituents.  In a coordinated effort we split up, each sub-group taking its designated floor of the Capitol by storm.

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Celebrities Join Film and TV Workers, Flood Capitol in Support of Good Jobs

We all remember “Marv” from Home Alone– the not-so-clever “Wet Bandit” burglar, played by Daniel Stern. Thanks to great acting and the several talented makeup and special effects artists— we all laughed as 10 year old Macaulay Culkin repeatedly beat the ever-living-crap out of Stern and his co-star Joe Pesci. The ability to deliver this kind of pain-free magic to families the world over, generation after generation, is what California’s movie industry is famous for. And each and every worker on the production contributes to the magic we see on-screen. But recently, that magic–and the livelihoods of the workers who bring it to life– have been under attack.

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San Jose Cuts Endanger Public Safety

Cutting the pay and pensions of city employees has become a public safety issue for one of California’s largest cities.

After San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed implemented the cuts, an alarming number of city employees left to pursue better wages and benefits elsewhere.  As a result, the San Jose Police Department’s 911 Emergency Dispatch Center is operating at critical staffing levels.

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Senate must stand up to Corporate Lobby, Deliver on Paid Sick Days

As we get closer to the end of the California legislative session, you see a lot more corporate types in fancy suits roaming in and around the Capitol. The goal? Stamp out worker-friendly bills. Near the top of their hit list this year is AB 1522, an effort authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to allow all California workers to earn a few desperately needed paid sick days on the job.

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