6.5 million Californians have access to paid sick leave starting today
By Rachel Johnson
Today is game-changer for California. Thanks to the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014, which goes into effect today, millions of workers in the Golden State will now have access paid sick day protections at their workplace. After years of fighting to expand access to paid sick leave against business lobbyists who continue to insist that paid sick leave is a “job-killer”, the California Labor Movement earned a historic victory when a Labor sponsored bill, AB 1522 (authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez): Earned Sick Leave for All California Workers, was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2014. Today that law goes into effect, bringing a much needed benefit to millions of California workers.
Don’t the let the term “sharing economy” fool you. There is no sharing. It’s really just the 1% making money by stripping workers of the rights for which the labor movement has fought so hard to secure. Just because the business transactions of these so-called “sharing economy” companies, such as Uber and AirBnB, are accomplished using smartphone apps, doesn’t mean they’re progressive or new. Instead, these companies are simply recycling old ideas and taking us backwards to a time when workers had no rights on the job.
This California labor history series is excerpted from the forthcoming book on University of California Press, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement by California Federation of Teachers Communications Director Fred Glass.
The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) announced this morning that it would hear a case that has the potential to adversely affect millions of American workers. The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Associationwill challenge existing precedent and would allow people to have the benefits of a union contract without paying an “agency fee” or “fair share” fee. These fees cover the costs of bargaining workers’ contracts with employers and are typically less than full union membership dues. This system is covered by legal precedent dating back to the 1970’s when the Supreme Court heard Abood v. Board of Education and determined that fair share fees are legal and just.
This week, in the lead-up to the nation's birthday on July 4, we'll be spotlighting union-made products. Stay tuned for a new list each day.
Many of us will celebrate Independence Day with a barbecue. We can keep the red, white and blue in the holiday with this made-in-America, union label backyard barbecue checklist, compiled from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the LA Labor 411's website, Union Plus and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
When you start a new job, you expect to fill out a pile of paperwork relating to your employment. What you don't expect is for your boss to slip in a document that effectively nullifies your rights as a worker and demand that you sign it as a condition of employment. It's called forced arbitration, and it's an underhanded practice that's on the rise.
Everywhere you look, union apprenticeships and careers in the trades are being applauded. Earlier this year, LeDaya Epps, a graduate of a Laborer’s apprenticeship was invited as a special guest to the State of the Union. President Obama recognized her and called for more paid apprenticeships and “opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs, even if they don’t have a higher education.” Governor Brown also expressed similar sentiments during the groundbreaking ceremony for California’s High Speed rail, extoling how vital it is to strengthen our infrastructure through skilled workers in the trades. He said, "You've got to get these building trades men and women doing stuff. That's what makes America — what makes the world — go 'round."
Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted 60-37 to invoke cloture on Trade Promotion Authority (aka "Fast Track") for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, effectively ensuring the passage of Fast Track. This vote was all the more disappointing because Sen. Feinstein joined 12 other Senate Democrats to cast decisive votes that pushed this job-killing corporate trade deal forward.
Today we’re throwing back to a powerful time in labor history. On June 15th, 1990, a few hundred workers bravely stood together against unspeakable odds and improved the lives countless workers, an impact we’re still seeing in the labor movement today.
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once termed it the “stuff used to blow up in the movies.” But America’s vital infrastructure—highways, railways, bridges and thruways—now face a doom worse than the Terminator ever imagined. That’s the destruction from the rust, decay and corrosion of trillions of dollars worth of elderly tracks, canals, ports, structures and causeways that carry our trade and traffic all over the United States.
California Federation of Teachers Communications Director Fred Glass has written a book on California labor history, the first in nearly fifty years. It will be published by the University of California Press next year. In the meantime, Labor's Edge is pleased to present excerpts in a series beginning with this issue!