Bill Raden is a freelance Los Angeles writer.


Ten Years a Temp: California Food Giant Highlights National Rise in Exploited Labor

 

A Taylor Farms security gate

Last April, when Federico Lopez and his sanitation team were ordered to clean a Taylor Farms storage area, the 23-year-old didn’t like what he saw.

Lopez remembers:

“I went into the hallway that they expected me to clean. There was pigeon feces, dead pigeons, dead bats and black mold. I’m certified for that, but the rest of my coworkers weren’t. The crew had only been given dust masks for the job by the temporary labor contractor who employed them.”

 

Pension Cutters Bet Against Prosperity

a​nd Gary Cohn

Last week’s announcements about 2013 earnings by California’s largest public pension funds suggest the agencies may be making significant progress in shaking off the lingering after-effects of the 2008 stock market crash.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) said it rode a 25 percent run-up in stock prices to post a 16.2 percent gain for its 2013 portfolio — its best showing in a decade. For its part, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) reported an impressive 19.1 percent return on its 2013 investments, led by a 28 percent return on its stock holdings.