Posted on June 30, 2015 by dcampbell1
English: The current United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2006. Photo-Wikipedia.
by Laura Clawson. Labor at Daily Kos
The Supreme Court partially pulled its last punch against public employees and their unions, but it’s coming back for another shot. In 2014, the court limited its anti-union decision in Harris v. Quinn to only affect home care workers (some of the most vulnerable, exploited workers out there) rather than all public sector workers. That decision allowed anti-union home care workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying their fair share, thereby forcing their union-member co-workers to pay to represent them.
Now the court has said it will hear a similar case involving teachers, with anti-union teachers suing to get out of paying their share of union activities that directly benefit them.
Major labor leaders expressed dismay over the court’s decision to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges a 1977 ruling that had said such fees were constitutional as long as they’re used for “collective-bargaining, contract administration, and grievance-adjustment purposes.” Continue reading
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, California Teachers Association, Center for Individual Rights, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Harvard Law School, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 24, 2015 by dcampbell1
United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., east front elevation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fast track passes. Our Congress – the supposed representatives of We the People – voted to cut themselves and us out of the process of deciding what “the rules” for doing business “in the 21st Century” will be.
How do the plutocrats and oligarchs and their giant multinational corporations get what they want when a pesky democracy is in their way? They push that pesky democracy out of their way.
Because of fast track, when the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and any other secretly negotiated “trade” agreements are completed Congress must vote in a hurry with only limited debate, cannot make any amendments no matter what is in the agreement, and they can’t be filibustered. Nothing else coming before our Congress gets that kind of skid-greasing, only corporate-written “trade” agreements – and it doesn’t matter how far the contents go beyond actual “trade.” Continue reading
Filed under: Economy, Fast Track, Politics | Tagged: Associated Press, Bernie Sanders, California, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq War, Keystone Pipeline, Republican Party (United States), Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, United States | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 27, 2015 by dcampbell1
We posted a fine piece on Justice for Janitors (below) by Peter Olney and Rand Wilson with suggested lessons for organizing. Here is a well informed supplement by labor journalist and activist David Bacon.
This article makes some excellent points, and shows the importance of the way the existing base of membership was used to reorganize building services and start Justice for Janitors. Its point about the market triggers was very interesting – I hadn’t really heard this discussed before, and it does show that putting this in the contract gave workers a concrete reason to support reorganizing the non-union buildings. As it says, ” it was not a ‘blank slate’ campaign disconnected from the sources of SEIU’s membership and contract power.”
Many of the janitors and leaders who fought in Century City were the Central American immigrants coming into LA from the wars. Their experience in their home countries was very important in their willingness to fight, and the use of the tactics of mass demonstrations and even CD in the street. They’re one of the best examples of the way migration, for all the pain it causes migrants, has benefited our labor movement enormously and given us leaders from Rocio Saenz to Ana Martinez to Yanira Merino. This is a big reason why there was an upsurge of organizing in general in LA in the 90s. Without this wave of migration I don’t think the best of strategies would have produced the results we saw. The article credits Gus Bevona with a role in getting the contract in Century City, but by comparison, this seems less important to me, and more like the mechanism than what actually forced the contractors to settle. Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: African American, California, Immigrant Workers, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by dcampbell1
by David Bacon
When hundreds of people marched to the Los Angeles City Council last October, urging it to pass a resolution supporting a farm worker union fight taking place in California’s San Joaquin Valley, hardly anyone had ever heard the name of the company involved. That may not be the case much longer. Gerawan Farming, one of the country’s largest growers, with 5,000 people picking its grapes and peaches, is challenging the California law that makes farm workers’ union rights enforceable. Lining up behind Gerawan are national anti-union think tanks. What began as a local struggle by one grower family to avoid a union contract is getting bigger, and the stakes are getting much higher.
The Gerawan workers got the City Council’s support and, on February 10, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education passed a resolution that went beyond just an encouraging statement. The LAUSD purchases Gerawan’s Prima label peaches and grapes through suppliers for 1,270 schools and 907,000 students. The LAUSD’s resolution, proposed by board member Steve Zimmer, requires the district to verify that Gerawan Farming is abiding by state labor laws, “and to immediately implement the agreement issued by the neutral mediator and the state of California.”
Verifying compliance, however, may not be easy. In mid-March a hearing on Gerawan’s violations of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) ended after 104 days of testimony by 130 witnesses. Continue reading
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Immigrant Workers, Low wage workers, Organizing, Politics, Solidarity, The enemy | Tagged: Air pollution, California, Davis, de-certification, Gerawan, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, UFW, University of California | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 21, 2015 by dcampbell1
The Selling of Public Services. By Seth Sandronsky
Do failed policy proposals from public education officials enjoy an afterlife when their creators depart Washington for the private sector? This is no academic question. In fact, the career arcs of two former federal policymakers may well have foreshadowed the life-or-death clash over the accreditation of San Francisco City College (CCSF), one of California’s 112 community colleges. The state is home to about 10 percent of America’s 1,100 two-year colleges.
As San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow’s ruling on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s bid to decertify CCSF draws near, the story of Margaret Spellings becomes instructive. Spellings, who was George W. Bush’s second-term Secretary of Education, commissioned a controversial 2006 report called “A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education.”
The report’s language was very much in tune with the pro-business Bush zeitgeist. The commission’s chairman was Charles Miller, a private investor who was joined by Nicholas Donofrio, the executive vice president of IBM Corp., and by James J. Duderstadt, the corporate vice president for Microsoft Corp. Their report predicted disaster unless colleges began protecting their “market share” by preparing students for the “global marketplace.” Continue reading
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Education Reform, Labor History, Politics | Tagged: accountability, California, Education, San Francisco Community Colleges, U.S. Chamber | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 22, 2014 by dcampbell1
Thanks to the President’s announcement that he will take administrative action on immigration, I have real hope. The president’s action will provide millions of working people and families with the opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear.
Those who can benefit from this administrative action should use iAmerica.org – a new resource offering informational tools and interactive opportunities to become full participants of our nation’s democracy.
Visit iAmerica and share it with a friend now ➞ iAmerica.org. (There’s no application process that exists yet, but once there is, this will be a trusted resource to receive accurate information).
Go to www.iAmerica.org
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Solidarity | Tagged: Barack Obama, California, Immigration law, immigration reform, Service Employees International Union, United States, Univision | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 20, 2014 by dcampbell1
Do Laws Work?
By Seth Sandronsky
California has roughly a dozen labor codes governing wage-theft on the books, with more proposed each year in the state legislature. Are these laws proving effective? Fausto Hernandez is one worker who doesn’t think they are. The 55-year-old native of Oaxaca, Mexico, has labored in the carwash business for a decade.
“For several years I worked at Slauson Carwash in South L.A. — 10 to 11 hours a day,” he told Capital & Main. “The employer would only pay me for three hours, never for all the hours I worked.”
According to Hernandez, he sought relief by contacting the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, a community coalition led by the United Steelworkers union. The campaign helped him file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), an office of the state’s Labor Commissioner.
Workers who take such action face employer retaliation. Hernandez’s employer fired him, he said. Hernandez was eventually hired at another carwash that later closed. “Recently I received a letter saying that the [Slauson Carwash] owner didn’t pay me correctly and that I’m owed tens of thousands of dollars,” he said. “I am still waiting to see the actual money.”
Filed under: Economy, Low wage workers | Tagged: Accountable care organization, African American, Baldwin Park, Board of directors, California, California State Water Resources Control Board, CBS, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Gabriel Valley, Southern California | Leave a comment »