Sacramento marchers celebrate Chavez legacy

Cesar Chavez march- Sacramento

Marchers arrive at Cesar Chavez Plaza

Marchers arrive at Cesar Chavez Park, Sacramento

Some of the over 800 marchers, many of them youth, arrived at Cesar Chavez Park on Saturday March 27,2010, as a part of the celebration of the Cesar Chavez holiday in California. The annual march, sponsored by Sacramento LACLAA and local organizations including DSA, this year focused on jobs, education and immigration reform.

Reported by Duane Campbell.

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When a Union Acts like a Big Corporation: A report from SEIU’s civil trial against California union reformers

by Carl Finamore

Carl Finamore

Carl Finamore

The quiet decorum of a court room is a far cry from a union hall. But in San Francisco, it is precisely in a federal court where an extremely crucial and unprecedented debate is taking place that may fundamentally alter how much democratic control members exercise over local union chapters.

The 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has brought a $25 million lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary responsibilities under both national and state laws and for violations of the SEIU constitution against 26 former elected officers, staff and organizers of their third-largest national unit, the 150,000 member United Healthcare Workers –West (UHW).

The 26 defendants are currently supporters of a new union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) which is also being sued.

During the first week of the trial, both sides presented opening statements and SEIU then began presenting their testimony. Early this week, plaintiffs will rest their case and the 26 defendants will get their chance in front of the nine-person jury.

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NYC DSAers tell Trader Joe’s to Pay Farmworkers a Fair Wage

By Maria Svart

On Thursday, March 18th, NYC DSAers rallied with activists from Jobs with Justice and the Alliance for Fair Food in front of the Trader Joe’s supermarket in Union Square. We expressed our solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in their fight to get a just wage for the hardworking men and women who pick tomatoes for Trader Joe’s.

This wasn’t my first time standing up for farmworkers. My Young Democratic Socialists chapter at the University of Chicago campaigned to Boot the Bell from the U of C because Taco Bell was refusing to give a penny-per-pound raise to tomato pickers represented by CIW. By now, Taco Bell, Subway, Burger King and even anti-union Whole Foods pay a fair wage to farmworkers.

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Stewart Acuff on unions and the global economic crisis

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, Stewart Acuff participated in the Left Forum in New York City. He was a featured panelist at the event, speaking about the current economic crisis and the role unions are playing in reaction.

Cesar Chavez March : Sacramento March 27

President of UFW

Sacramento. 10th. Annual Cesar Chavez Day March.
For Jobs, Education, Immigration Reform and Justice.
March 27,2010. Cesar Chavez Park. 10th. And J. Street. Sacramento.
Sponsored by Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, DSA and others.

César Chávez: “Presente”
By Duane E. Campbell

The spirit of Cesar Chavez lives on in the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California. Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history. There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.
Each of the prior attempts to organize farm worker unions were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing and allied itself with the churches, students, and organized labor. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S.
Today, under the leadership of UFW president Arturo Rodriguez, over 28,000 farm workers enjoy benefits on the job. They are incorporated into California’s educational, health and civic communities. The UFW has shown the AFL-CIO that immigrants can and must be organized. Continue reading

Defying Health Care Advocates, SEIU-UHW Backs Sutter’s CPMC Mega-Hospital

by Randy Shaw

Photo : Beyond Chron

Breaking with a large coalition of community groups and citywide health care advocates, SEIU-UHW has agreed to publicly support Sutter Health’s controversial 550-bed CPMC mega-hospital planned for San Francisco. The proposed project has aroused widespread opposition among citywide health care advocates, as it is linked with Sutter’s plan to reduce acute care beds by 60% at its St. Luke’s Hospital in the city’s heavily Latino Mission District. This has spawned a broad “Coalition for Health Planning – San Francisco,” to address principles of health justice and equity in the city.

In addition, a broad “Good Neighbor Coalition” (GNC) of groups including St. Anthony’s Foundation Medical Clinic, Meals on Wheels, and the Housing and Urban Health division of the city’s Department of Public Health have spent months preparing a Community Benefits Agreement to address the impacts of Sutter’s proposal. The GNC seeks to ensure that the project does not negatively impact the surrounding community, and “that medical services provided are accessible, affordable, and equitably distributed.” But even before negotiations could begin, SEIU-UHW cut its own deal with Sutter on March 11, 2010, unconditionally backing the project.

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Viva La Causa: Sacramento

Cesar Chavez and Duane Campbell

On March 24, the Serna Center in Sacramento will have a special showing of documentary movie Viva La Causa: The Story of the Great Movement for Social Justice led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. The film will be introduced by Peter Barid, reporter from 1972-1974 for El Malcriado , the UFW newspaper.

There will be a panel discussion chaired by Duane Campnell, CSUC professor emiritus, chair of Sacramento DSA, and Talking Union editorial board member.

Also speaking on the panel will be March Grossman (Cesar Chavez’s long-time press secreatary and current UFW spokesman) Dolores Delgado Campbell (professor of  history, (American River College), Manuel Barajas (Associate Professor of Sociology, CSUS), and Maggie Beddow (Assistant Professor of Bilingual, Multicultural History).

The film and discussion will be  March 24 from 4-6 pm at CSU-Sacramento. Hind Auditorium. Sacramento, Calif.