SANDAG, Water Agencies Faith Based Planning


By Doug Porter

Two incredulous tales about the agencies entrusted to look out for the public good opting for short-sighted policies grabbed my attention this morning. Apparently climate change is a mere bureaucratic hurdle and the drought is soon to be forgotten. I guess we just gotta have faith, baby.

Our regional transportation planners are set to approve a proposal no better than the one already rejected by the courts for failing to meet state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction goals, according to the group that took them to court in the first place.

Ten local water agencies are, according to a story in Voice of San Diego, questioning state regulators about the need to continue restrictions on water use. They’re banking on a return to normalcy with the advent of El Nino conditions this winter, and are apparently ignorant of long term trends due to climate change.   [Read more…]

A Defining Issue for the 2016 Elections Will Be the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP)


By Doug Porter

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations have agreed to the largest regional trade accord in history, one promising to set international commerce standards affecting 40% percent of the world’s economy.

The deal culminates years of negotiations setting up mechanics for a global economy as the basis for future prosperity. These negotiations never involved questioning the premise of neo-liberal policies as the foundation for economic development in the years ahead. In a nutshell, this means “marketplace” will be the final arbiter in the global economy.

The rules of the economic game, as laid out in previous trade-pacts, are seen by the left as driving forces in the widening of economic inequality. This, along with parochial and nationalist concerns on the right, sets up the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) as a defining political battle as the US heads into an election year.   [Read more…]

University Contract Workers Wages –Or Lack Thereof– in the Crosshairs


By Doug Porter

Today (Oct 1), some contract employees working on University of California facilities will be seeing a pay hike to $13 an hour. The university system is California’s third largest employer and the largest employer in San Diego.

Earlier this year UC President Janet Napolitano announced a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a three-year roll-out for all workers, including contract ones, and today’s bump is just the first stage.  

Or maybe they won’t be seeing that raise. The Los Angeles Times reports the Department of Labor has launched an investigation into long-time contractor Performance First Building Services failure to pay overtime to workers cleaning up after sporting events at UC Berkeley.   [Read more…]

Return to Delano: the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike

delano excerpt

By Maria E. Garcia

A few weeks ago, when the United Farm Workers (UFW) posted that there would be a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, I posted a simple sentence on Facebook: ” San Diego is anybody going?” Within a few minutes my friend Gloria Serrano-Medina responded with a simple “vamos” and with that one word a decision to be part of that celebration was made.

This would not be my first trip to the Forty Acres, the parcel of land in Delano, California that in 1966 became the headquarters for the United Farm Workers of America, the first permanent agricultural labor union in the United States.   [Read more…]

Why We Must End Upward Pre-Distribution to the Rich

sdfp income-inequality

By Robert Reich / RobertReich.Org

You often hear inequality has widened because globalization and technological change have made most people less competitive, while making the best educated more competitive.

There’s some truth to this. The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines.

But this common explanation overlooks a critically important phenomenon: the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.   [Read more…]

Haggen Stores Closing: Corporate Greed Costs Eight Thousand Jobs in California


By Doug Porter

Less than six months since taking over 146 Albertsons and Vons locations, the Haggen grocery chain has announced closings for all its locations in California, Arizona and Nevada. Twenty-five stores in San Diego county will be shuttered, just two days before Thanksgiving.  (More inside)

Pope Francis gave his long-awaited address to Congress yesterday. Local faith, community and labor activists took the opportunity to amplify the pontiff’s messages on the social justice and the environment, holding a press conference and a packed interfaith forum at St. Paul’s Cathedral. (More Inside)

There are many noteworthy events coming soon:

  • Point Loma Democrats will feature a presentation by Rabbi Laurie Coskey on the fight for $15 movement,
  • The Center on Policy Initiatives will hosting the Spotlight on Justice Awards, and
  • Organized labor is stepping up its game with the 2015 San Diego Conference on Labor and Community Solidarity.

(Details and more events inside)   [Read more…]

Poverty and Pollution in San Diego, Bike Lane Madness in Coronado, Labor Troubles in Oceanside


By Doug Porter

America’s Finest City and its neighbors have got a lot of work to do.

The Center on Policy Initiatives has finished crunching the 2014 census data released last week, finding the number of San Diegans living in official poverty continues to increase. Seniors, children and minority populations are disproportionally impacted, with 41.5% of adults living in poverty reporting they had jobs in 2014.

The Climate Action Campaign and Circulate San Diego released a report on Wednesday critical of regional planning proposals, saying current efforts will undermine one of the main goals of the city’s climate action plan.

The icing on the cake for the day was a report from KPBS about a successful effort in Coronado to halt additional bike lanes based on citizen complaints about “paint stripe pollution.”   [Read more…]

Lively Hoods


Why are we asking for jobs?

Most jobs are a lopsided trade agreement
where we relinquish the majority of our waking hours,
and our labor and talent
to make someone else
wealthy – wealthier!
in exchange for just enough money to survive.
Sometimes it’s not even enough
…used to be.

What we all really want
and need
is a means of living
that makes being alive meaningful.   [Read more…]

DeMaio-Reed Pension Measure Flops, For Now


By Doug Porter

Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio, along with former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, are headed back to the drawing board, following the failure of their latest pension “reform” ballot proposal to gain traction in California.

DeMaio and Reed were hoping to attract funding and political support for a pension reform initiative involving voter approval for each and every future plan throughout the state, negating what is now part of the collective bargaining process.

The California Republican Party failed to endorse the measure during its Anaheim convention last weekend. DeMaio and Reed cried foul last month after the State Attorney General’s office gave the proposed reforms ballot language not to their liking.   [Read more…]

The Pope Isn’t Coming to San Diego – Don’t Let That Be Your Excuse for Doing Nothing


By Doug Porter

Pope Francis is coming to the United States next week, and will bump the Trump off the top off the news pile. His message will be somewhat different than what Americans are used to hearing from the Catholic Church. Already Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has written a letter saying he’ll be boycotting the Pope’s address to Congress because of “socialist talking points…presented to guilt people into leftist policies.”

While I’ve got plenty of issues with Catholic Church* doctrine and policies, this is one of those times when perfection can be the enemy of progress. Let’s seize the moment and use the occasion to take action towards making the world a better place…

Or you can sit and stew. Your choice.   [Read more…]

Beach Lifeguards Spread Too Thin Due to Increased Sunset Cliffs Rescue Activity


Lifeguard Staffing at OB and Mission Beach Adversely Effected by Rescues at Pocket Beaches – Should Be On Par With La Jolla

By Ed Harris

For years, Lifeguards have expressed the need for increased staffing at several locations.  The need for staffing at Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs is high on the list.

The pocket beaches along Sunset Cliffs (Santa Cruz, Bermuda, No Surf and Ladera Street) have become increasingly busy in recent years.

They used to be attended mainly by locals but the internet, increased tourism and vacation rentals have changed that.   [Read more…]

‘News’ Story Pleads Developers Cause on Civic San Diego Oversight Law


By Doug Porter

This is why we can’t have nice things in San Diego. By this I mean the greed of the local billionaire class and the willingness of the Union-Tribune to publish lies on their behalf.

UT reporter Roger Showley was apparently called upon to create some propaganda following the legislature’s approval of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s AB 504, a bill designed to strengthen oversight of organizations like Civic San Diego making land use decisions for cities.

It’s my guess this UT article represents a last ditch attempt to appeal to Gov. Jerry Brown in the hope he won’t sign the bill. (You never know with the Gov…)

Gonzalez and other civic activists saw the necessity for such a measure because San Diego is the only city in California that outsources permitting and planning functions to a nonprofit with minimal oversight. Attempts at oversight and citizen input have been continually stymied.   [Read more…]

Against Work: We Need to Stop Glorifying the Wasting of Our Lives

worked to death

By Jim Miller

Recently the New York Times did a thorough exposé of life inside Amazon’s “bruising workplace” where the managers celebrate what they call “Purposeful Darwinism.” The focus of the piece was not on the poor folks turning around the goods in the warehouses but on the presumably more privileged white-collar workers who are encouraged to regularly challenge and report on one another when they are not busy answering texts at 3:00 AM or pushing themselves to work 80 hours a week.  

In the jungle of Amazon, everyone is subject to this kind of sadistic postmodern Taylorism, and they have the choice to either like it or leave. 

Of course, only a fraction of those who start at Amazon stay for any length of time, but that is all OK according to the good folks there because their survival of the fittest model helps them keep only the best.     [Read more…]

With Victories From Coast to Coast, Fight for $15 Has Always Been About More Than a Paycheck


By Doug Porter

I went downtown on Thursday for a media event inspired by the Fight for Fifteen movement. Representatives from unions, community and faith groups gathered outside City Hall to hail recent victories and rededicate themselves to continue the campaign.

In recent weeks the country’s largest county government (Los Angeles County) and one of the biggest public university systems in the U.S. (University of California) raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As fast food workers in New York were celebrating a win, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood beside Vice President Joe Biden proposing $15 an hour legislation including an additional 3 million workers in other industries.  

This news is bittersweet for San Diego activists. They held aloft signs with quotes from mayors of other cities around California who’ve supported successful drives to increase the minimum wage, along with a sign quoting Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s excuse for opposing a much more modest increase.   [Read more…]

Sharing Solidarity on Labor’s Day in San Diego


By Doug Porter

It was Labor Day on Monday. That’s the holiday where people are supposed to celebrate the many little victories adding up to what is generally referred to as middle-class life. These days it’s about those fortunate souls who’ve managed not to be pushed downward by the market-based economy.

Many of them are union families. In America’s Finest City they’re likely the most diverse grouping of people you’ll see anywhere. Black, Brown, old, young, gay and straight–the one thing binding them together is the power that collective bargaining gives them.

In the news business if it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. There were no bombs thrown and no heads busted at the hundreds of labor day picnics, rallies and parades around the country. So it was in San Diego, where just a couple of TV crews braved the blazing sun to report on the rally held by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council at Tailgate park.   [Read more…]

Happy Labor Day? The Jury is Out


By Jim Miller

Toward the end of June, as many liberals were cheering the Supreme Court’s unexpectedly nonpartisan legalization of same-sex marriage and its equally surprising upholding of the Affordable Care Act, they missed the signal of some potentially very bad news to come this fall.

Indeed, while it was fun to see the Republicans being frustrated by a high court of their own making, that very same court reserved the right to bring some serious pain to progressives for the long term by agreeing to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in its next session.   [Read more…]

Labor Day 2015: Stand Together and Fight Back

Bernie Sanders bnw

By Senator Bernie Sanders / Daily Kos

Labor Day is a time for honoring the working people of this country. It is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the activists and organizers who fought for the 40-hour work week, occupational safety, minimum-wage law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and affordable housing. These working people, and their unions, resisted the oligarchs of their day, fought for a more responsive democracy, and built the middle class.

Today we can – and we must – follow their example. It’s time to rebuild the crumbling middle class of our country and make certain that every working person in the United States of America has a chance at a decent life.

Against overwhelming odds, the men and women of the labor movement changed society for the better. If you’ve ever enjoyed a paid vacation, a sick day or a pension, they are the people to thank. And if you don’t have those benefits on your job today, they are the people who can help you get them.   [Read more…]

7 Great Music Videos about Work and Working People

living wage excerpt

By Staff

We have a long history of music that chronicles the struggles of working people in this country. This music depicts our transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrialized one and the labor movement that arose from that transformation. The econ0my has been transformed yet again as we moved from manufacturing to service sector jobs; as jobs are outsourced and employees are re-defined as independent contractors; and as worker productivity has sharply increased, wages for the middle class and working poor remain stagnant.

Work remains dangerous and too often deadly for some; underpaid or unequally paid for far too many. Labor unions have historically addressed both of those work issues and union members have put their lives on the line to remedy them. These videos are a reminder of the work and of the struggle. And they still resonate today.   [Read more…]

Labor Day 2028

robot image

By Robert Reich / Robert Reich Blog

In 1928, famed British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would advance so far in a hundred years — by 2028 — that it will replace all work, and no one will need to worry about making money.

“For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem — how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.”

We still have thirteen years to go before we reach Keynes’ prophetic year, but we’re not exactly on the way to it. Americans are working harder than ever.   [Read more…]

The Economy of the Future-Economic Democracy


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers / Popular Resistance

This Labor Day weekend rather than looking at the history and current struggles of workers, we look to the future and imagine what will work be like in 2025 or 2050. What will the overall economy look like? What is our vision for an economy that works for the people?

The Future of Work

There are some major trends that indicate we are in the midst of a radical transformation of what work means and how people will have income.

The most significant trend involves robotics, artificial intelligence and software that will do most current jobs. The research firm Gartner predicts that “one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025.”Oxford University researchers estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated by 2033.  Already the official unemployment rate hides the fact only 63% of working-age adults are actually working.   [Read more…]

Making America Work for Working People


This Labor Day, remember the millions of Americans who don’t know the next time they’ll get called in to their jobs.

By Sarita Gupta / OtherWords

For millions of working parents like me, the juggling act between our homes and offices gets even more frantic as our kids head back to school.

My daughter just started kindergarten. Some days, I’m proud of how my husband and I manage the demands of our jobs while also taking care of her and my parents. Other days, life happens — the train’s late, a deadline surfaces, a meeting gets rescheduled ­— and it all falls apart.

This Labor Day, I’m grateful that I’ll be able to spend time with my family and take a break from the demands of this time of year. But I’ll also be thinking about the working people across the country who don’t know the next time they’ll actually be working.   [Read more…]

Cal Pensions Cutting Coal Stock Called an “Emotional” Response to Climate Change


By Doug Porter

You would think that losing $5 billion in pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies in 2014 would cause the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to change course.

But Republican reaction to passage of SB 185, also called “Investing with Values and Responsibility,” beginning an eighteen month process to disinvest in any holdings of thermal coal is quite the opposite.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City decried the measure, saying, “We need to make (investment) decisions based on good, sound financial decisions, not based on emotions.”

So there you have it. Global climate change is simply an emotional issue.   [Read more…]

Mayor Faulconer’s Convention Center Expansion: It’s Huuuge


By Doug Porter

Oh, those boys and their big shiny toys. Having failed in past years to gain approval for a waterfront expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, the City is about to throw its weight behind a $90,000 study promising “huuuge” (ala Trump) returns.

The Union-Tribune says Mayor Faulconer finds the report so persuasive that he’s prepared to back a ballot measure increasing hotel taxes for 2016. Since those taxes are dedicated revenues, two thirds voter approval will be required.

Today we’ll take a look at the spotty record of the outfit hired to do this report, along with various options along the way to getting a super-majority to go the polls and vote for this expansion.   [Read more…]

Disposable People: Obama, the TPP, and the Betrayal of Human Rights

tpp slavery

By Jim Miller

During the lead-up to the vote on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) that the President narrowly won, Obama and his surrogates consistently suggested that those in labor and other allied groups opposing the deal were “fighting the last war” and were against “the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen.” Indeed, he even went so far as to accuse critics like Senator Elizabeth Warren of “making stuff up”.

As we know, Obama defeated labor and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and, in concert with Republicans and just enough New Democrats like San Diego’s own Scott Peters and Susan Davis, he succeeded in forwarding the multinational corporate agenda.

Since that time the gaze of the national media has turned elsewhere and, as negotiations have encountered difficulties, the administration has sunk to new lows in its zeal to finish the deal on the TPP.   [Read more…]

NLRB Ruling Could Be a Game Changer for Unions


By Doug Porter

A Reagan-era standard allowing corporations to maintain an arms-length relationship with their workforces fell by the wayside yesterday as the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Teamsters in a dispute with California recycler Browning-Ferris Industries.

The bottom line here is that big companies may be held responsible for what goes on in the workplace. Organized labor is pleased with the decision. Wall Street isn’t. The actual ruling concerned the use of temporary employees. What people are reacting to are its game changing implications.

There are lots of poorly informed (meaning full of crap) analyses being passed off in various media accounts.  To use a baseball analogy, just because a team acquires a high performance player doesn’t mean they’ll have a winning season. Just ask the San Diego Padres.   [Read more…]