Lorena Gonzalez has served as secretary-treasurer and CEO for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO since 2008.  Lorena is the first woman and first person of color to serve as head of the Labor Council since the organization’s inception in 1902. A member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 36, Lorena worked as the Labor Council’s Political Director before being elected Secretary-Treasurer. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the California League of Conservation Voters, the Center for Policy Initiatives, the Environmental Health Coalition and the United Way of San Diego. Lorena also serves on the Executive Council of the state California Labor Federation as a Vice President.


San Diego Working Families Celebrate Major Victory in Historic Mayoral Race

Lorena Gonzalez

California's working families have a great deal to celebrate across the state this week, and nowhere is it more true than here in San Diego. Not only are we celebrating the success of Proposition 30 and well-deserved defeat of Proposition 32, on Tuesday San Diego elected Bob Filner to be the next mayor—the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego since 1988 and the first pro-labor Mayor that I can ever remember.

It wasn’t easy. Years of steadily building infrastructure in the communities long cut off from City Hall had to come together and mobilize, and it did thanks to the most elaborate field program ever imagined in San Diego.

San Diegans Take a Stand Against Wal-Mart in Historic Sherman Heights Neighborhood

Last weekend, more than 750 people took to the streets in San Diego’s largest ever rally and march against Wal-Mart. The coalition of community, faith and labor groups organized this spring to defend Sherman Heights when Wal-Mart snuck into the community and took over the historic Farmer’s Market building.

When news broke in the spring that Wal-Mart was planning to move in, the community mobilized and made a simple request of Wal-Mart: Sit down with the community to discuss what a new market would mean for the neighborhood and how everyone could be sure it would provide a benefit. Instead, Wal-Mart responded by importing labor from outside San Diego and demolishing the historic Farmer’s Market Building without public notice or hearings.

A Better San Diego Coalition Hosts Community Forum to Stop Prop 32

is a coalition of community, faith, and labor groups that seeks to improve our community by addressing and demanding action on the important economic issues that face us. Friday morning, the coalition took a long look at the troubling truth behind Proposition 32.

We started the coalition specifically to address the economic issues that matter to us all, including direct attacks exactly like Proposition 32. Friday morning, our monthly breakfast discussion took an in-depth look at the threat from Prop 32 to our San Diego community and California overall. The fight will be tough, but our overflow crowd was fired up to get out and spread the word after getting the primer from a fantastic group of speakers.

Taxi Drivers Unite with San Diego Labor Council

, our mission is to create more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all of San Diego's workers — union and non-union. For years, we have proudly worked on policies that bring up the standard for our entire community; things like a living wage ordinance, paid family leave, worker retention policies, and healthcare access for working families.

But until now, as the AFL-CIO umbrella organization for the San Diego region, our 192,000 members have consisted of only unionized workers, retirees, and their families. Today, for the first time in our local history, we are excited to be welcoming a group of non-union workers into our fold — the United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD).

Thank a Superhero Worker at San Diego Comic-Con

to celebrate “the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world.” For the better part of the week, downtown is transformed into a fantastic celebration of comics and art, with creative costumes and parties for every taste.

A celebration this elaborate doesn’t just happen though – it takes thousands of workers to make everything go. That includes the San Diego Convention Center decorators, electricians, stagehands, banquet servers, hotel workers, janitors, parking lot attendants and more who keep the show running.

San Diego Activists Commemorate 100-Year Anniversary of the Fight for Free Speech


It started as an organizing drive for the International Workers of the World. But one hundred years ago in San Diego, when the Wobblies took to their soapboxes, it turned into a battle to defend free speech that mobilized thousands across the country.

A city ordinance banned public speaking in a downtown area, and protesters were jailed, beaten, tarred and feathered, tortured and even killed for demanding their right to stand on a soapbox and speak. The fight attracted the likes of Emma Goldman, who was nearly attacked by a mob when she arrived in San Diego, and stretched until legal picketing was finally established three years later.

Free speech itself is on stronger footing today. We've seen across the country and right here in San Diego that the fight for real freedom continues every day. The freedom of earning a living wage and being able to afford a decent place to live as well as the freedom of building a secure retirement and having access to basic health care.

Exposing San Diego’s Dirtiest Politician

Local elections rarely matter to the rest of the State. We all are facing so many challenges in our own regions, that paying attention to another part of the State is often just an after-thought. But, once in a while, there is a local politician with such dangerous beliefs, tactics and immense corporate backing, that they warrant statewide attention.  Such is the case in San Diego today.

I came of age as a young San Diegan at the same time Pete Wilson left our City Hall to become a U.S. senator and then governor of California.  And, as harmful and antagonist as a Governor Pete Wilson was, he was mild compared to Carl DeMaio.  DeMaio is one of four high-profile candidates vying San Diego’s top spot this June.

SB 469: This Is About Local Decision-Making


In California, local governments are required to study how new development impacts the surrounding environment, and rightly so. Before buildings are put up, the public deserves to know if there will be more traffic impacts, if it will harm wildlife or if there’s a possibility that nearby creeks or beaches will be polluted as a result.

With our state facing such a deep recession, why aren’t we requiring the same studies when it comes to economic issues – like jobs, benefits and businesses? It’s very encouraging to see state leaders begin to start that discussion.

Senate Bill 469, the Small and Neighborhood Business Protection Act, was authored by Senator Juan Vargas to help address a very significant impact on local economies in California – Supercenters. Last week, the State Senate voted to approve the bill, which would require big-box superstores like Wal-Mart Supercenters to undergo an economic impact analysis before they can be built in California.

San Diego Stands Up In Solidarity

Heavy rains and the beginning of a holiday weekend were not enough to keep 150 union brothers and sisters from joining the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council on February 19 to show our support for collective bargaining rights and our solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin and throughout the country who are currently under attack.

What is taking place in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and elsewhere in the United States is a concerted attack on all workers at a time when the working class needs to be supported through job creation. It is a statement that corporate interests should trump all else, and it is setting an anti-worker tone for the rest of the country. It’s time to change that tone.

Wal-Mart’s Big Bucks Buy Out San Diego Law

a requirement for superstore developers to conduct an economic impact analysis after Wal-Mart completed a deceptive campaign to force the City’s hand: Put the policy on the ballot at a cost of $3 million during tough budget times, or get rid of it altogether.

Ironically, just days before the City Council decision, Wal-Mart announced it was going to build up to 12 new stores in San Diego over the next five years. Just as the world’s largest and most anti-union retailer gears up to build a dozen new stores in San Diego, the San Diego public and its decision-makers are now handcuffed from asking Wal-Mart the tough but necessary questions about their Supercenters’ impacts on local jobs and the community.

San Diego Union Members Opt For a “Day On” on MLK Day

width=”147″ />The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council organized its third annual Martin Luther King Day service project on Monday, attracting nearly 200 union members and other community volunteers to the Rolando Park neighborhood of San Diego to pick up litter and clear weeds.

The Labor Council volunteers removed thousands of pounds of trash – including a mattress, a couch and other debris – from the neighborhood’s major thoroughfares.

Prop G Stands for Ground Zero in Chula Vista

included a project labor agreement, used union construction workers, or included prevailing wage requirements.

To California’s Labor movement, the fight over Proposition G is about more than the impacts on one city. For the first time that anyone can recall, a city’s voters are being asked whether they should ban a group of workers who live, pay taxes and are part of that city’s community from working on public works projects just because they joined a union. It’s wrong and it’s dangerous for our workers.