May is Labor History Month. Signed into law as AB 2269 (Swanson) in 2012 by Governor Brown, its purpose is to encourage schools “to commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States.”
They’re calling it “NAFTA on steroids.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be the largest international trade deal in history – with major economic and environmental consequences here in California – but the details have been veiled in total secrecy.
According to a report released today by the AFL-CIO, Latino workers are 19 percent more likely to be killed on the job than the national average, leading to nearly 800 deaths on the job in 2013. In California, Latinos made up almost 50 percent of all worker fatalities. 194 Latino workers died while on the job in California, an alarming increase of 42 percent from the previous year.
Worker’s Memorial Day is more than just an observance and a day to honor our friends and family who have suffered and died on the job, it’s also a call to action. Yesterday in our ThrowbackThursday post we highlighted life for workers before Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act more than forty years ago.
Can you imagine a time when you could go to work, get injured, and have no recourse whatsoever?! Until workers started to organize in the 20th century and push for safe standards on the job, this was the case for generations of men, women, and children. For decades workers across industries fought to have employers voluntarily adopt regulations to keep their workers safe and provide benefits in the event a worker got injured while working.
The Coalition to Stop Fast Track began airing television ads in Sacramento, Bay Area, and Fresno media markets to encourage voters to urge their Representatives to oppose Trade Promotion Authority, aka “Fast Track”, which Congress is expected to vote on within the next two weeks. These "Bad Deal" ads are part of a seven figure campaign running across the country and specifically target Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA 6th District), and Congressmen Ami Bera (D-CA 7th District), Mike Thompson (D-CA 5th District) and Jim Costa (D-CA 16th District) who have been non-committal about their position on Fast Track legislation.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors last night joined the growing chorus to stop fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by unanimously passing a resolution opposing Trade Promotion Authority for the TPP. San Francisco joins another major West Coast port city – Seattle -- in opposing a fast-tracked TPP that would have broad and potentially devastating consequences to California’s economy, environment and public health.
There’s been a lot of attention lately on California’s turnaround. As it turns out, that nonsense about all our jobs moving to Texas was a just Texas-sized whopper. Last year California created about 500,000 jobs to lead the nation in job growth, outpacing the conservative darling Texas.
Thousands took part in strikes and protests Wednesday in one of the largest mobilizations of underpaid working people in history. Actions across California from Los Angeles to Sacramento gave working people the opportunity to stand with low wage workers who bravely went on strike and walked out mid-shift to send the message: we will not stop until $15 and a union.
Yesterday, Labor’s annual Joint Legislative Conference, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council, brought together more than 500 union leaders, representatives, and activists from all over the state to plan and execute a shared agenda for the good of all working families. While there were many phenomenal speakers throughout the day during plenary, lunch and dinner, conference attendees agreed: the workers who were able to tell their story stole the show.
Today more than 500 leaders and activists from hundreds of California unions will come together in Sacramento for Labor’s 2015 Joint Legislative Conference, hosted by the California Labor Federation and the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The theme of the conference this year is “Working People Standing Together Changing Lives”.
With National Women’s History Month behind us now, it’s still important to celebrate the great strides women have made over the past decades. It is equally important to remember how many women workers still don’t have the basic necessities they need to support themselves and their families. The labor movement views the struggle for women’s equality as a shared fight, especially considering women are the sole or primary breadwinners for 40% of families in the United States. Women of color, in particular, have a hard time getting good pay and benefits, and they make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers.
Everyone loves a good #TBT but there are also so many forward-thinking campaigns worth highlighting in the labor movement! Yesterday we celebrated the legendary Cesar Chavez for #ThrowBackThursday and today we’re dedicating our first #ForwardFriday to Jennifer Muir with the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA). Muir wrote an opinion piece for the Orange County Register today that will hit home for many working people in California who are fed up with a system that is rigged against us.