Tim Robertson is an organizer with the North Valley Labor Federation, and is the former director of the California Fair Trade Coalition.

North Valley Labor Federation Public Employee Summit Builds Power in the Valley

by Tim Robertson

On Saturday, March 5, members from fifteen public sector unions joined for a summit in Merced to discuss ongoing threats to public employees and how to fight back. The event, hosted by the North Valley Labor Federation, saw over 40 union members from across the Central Valley – a challenging area for unions – unite to build power for working people. Through improving communications and organizing skills, public employee members and leaders are now poised to grow the power of their locals and the Labor Movement as a whole.

Stockton Workers and Seniors Take Taxpayer Protection Fight to Walmart’s Doorstep

Tim Robertson

Dozens of Stockton-area workers and seniors streamed into the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter this morning to deliver an important message: Walmart must pay its fair share for health care. It was the second stop on the statewide “Close the Walmart Loophole” tour.

Not even the grey sky or the rainy weather could dampen the spirits of the members of AFSCME, UFCW, Teamsters and other unions and seniors from the California Association of Retired Americans who all came together to fight for what is right for taxpayers. 

Labor, Manufacturing Groups Launch “Should Be Made In America” Campaign in East Bay

,”plans to use the iconic new east span of the bridge a rallying symbol, given that much of it was manufactured in China.

The nationwide campaign, organized by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and the United Steelworkers (USW), kicked off with two Oakland billboards noting the “100% Foreign Steel” used in the project. Organizers want policymakers to consider the broader economic advantages of sourcing domestically, not just the lower bids received from foreign, often Chinese firms.

Activists Take on Secret Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement, Demand “Fair Deal or No Deal!”

As another round of behind-closed-door talks aimed at creating a massive new trade pact for the Pacific Rim took place in a posh Beverly Hills hotel on Wednesday, labor, environmental and public health advocates picketed outside to demand a voice for working people. During a press event and rally, they called on negotiators to release the negotiating texts, allow for greater public input and to ultimately deliver a “fair deal or no deal” on the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement. Another rally is planned for today  at the University of California – San Diego, the site of more negotiations.

Californians Fight Back on Job-Killing Free Trade Agreements

against three NAFTA-style Free Trade Agreements introduced in Congress on Monday. The deals, originally negotiated by President Bush in 2007, have drawn the ire of voters across party lines because they will cost U.S. jobs and challenge labor and environmental conditions in the U.S. and abroad.

The deals, with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, are expected to have a vote in Congress within a week, but Californians are the key to stopping them, and they're standing up. Led by the California Labor Federation and the California Fair Trade Coalition, thousands of voters from around the state have already called their Members of Congress and thousands more are likely to do so over the next several days. You can join them now by calling 1-800-718-1008.

Californians Unite for Day of Action on Trade

to oppose the pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama, a position shared by the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, and hundreds of other organizations. The event, hosted by the California Fair Trade Coalition, will put pressure on every Member of Congress in the state to oppose the deals, which are likely to see a ratification vote in Congress soon.

The FTAs, originally negotiated by President Bush in 2007, have faced constant pressure from opponents in Congress and a growing skepticism from the public, including 69% of Americans who believe free trade costs jobs. This isn't surprising, as a recent study has found that the U.S. economy lost 700,000 jobs due to NAFTA, with at least 2.4 million more lost due to liberalized trade to China. California alone has lost over 800,000 jobs due to bad trade policy.

California Fighting Back on Colombia Free Trade Act

. Unfortunately, President Obama is ignoring these facts to push for the long-stalled Colombia Free Trade Agreement, a relic of the Bush Administration, in a move that can only be seen as an affront to his union base.

Not only is Colombia the most dangerous place in the world for union activity, an implied complicity with Colombia's government, in particular the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), has led to an approximate 96% impunity rating. Could you imagine the U.S. response if over the course of 2010, there were one CEO murder per week in Colombia with little investigation and few convictions or punishments? It certainly wouldn't be to liberalize trade rules.

Keeping Jobs in California, Not China

(EPI) has outlined our trade problems with China, the biggest trade cheater on the international scene to a stark reality. Between 2001 and 2007, the increasing U.S. trade deficit with China has cost Americans 2.3 million jobs.

This includes nearly 370,000 in California alone, a staggering 2.23% of the employment force. We need to fix the broken free trade system that allows countries like China to bend the rules to their own advantage.