Labor

Thumbnail image for McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

by Doug Porter 01.23.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

Fast food giant McDonald’s is reportedly spending $3 million daily on U.S. advertising, yet business is declining. As the company has pumped up its menu to counter the explosion of fast-casual restaurants, food quality and service times have suffered. And increasingly negative image of the fast food industry as an exploiter of its workforce certainly hasn’t helped matters.

Last year was the company’s worst in three decades. Domestic sales actually declined by 1.7 percent. Global profits declined by 21 percent in the most recent quarter. Franchise owners are unhappy about menu bloat. Customers are confused by assorted pricing schemes. Employees are appearing on TV holding picket signs. And now the company is facing even more bad news.

A July ruling by the National labor Relations Board deeming the company a “joint employer” with its franchisees could spell big trouble, as 10 former workers at three McDonald’s locations in Virginia have filed a lawsuit alleging they were unceremoniously fired last May after being told by supervisors that there were “too many black people” working at their locations.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

by Doug Porter 01.22.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty. Our roads are falling apart. Public buildings like libraries and fire stations have repair needs that are mounting faster than the city can pay for them.

I’m told discussions about how to sell taxpayers on paying for this among the city’s big time players (led by the Chamber of Commerce) are already underway. While I don’t dispute the need to upgrade the bones of this city, whatever deal emerges to sell us on paying for it needs to include a whole lotta people who’ve been getting the short end of the stick lately.

Read the full article → 10 comments
Thumbnail image for Redefining the American Dream

Redefining the American Dream

by John Lawrence 01.13.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

The American Dream is the ideological underpinning of the middle class. Now that the middle class is disappearing, it no longer makes sense as historically defined.

Thom Hartmann (Rebooting the American Dream) and Hedrick Smith (Who Stole the American Dream) have defined the American Dream as a good job at good wages plus benefits. They bemoan the fact that this has pretty much gone by the wayside in today’s world.

Well, it’s time to get over it because the conditions that gave rise to middle class prosperity in America from 1945 to 1980 are not coming back.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Mental Health Professionals Strike at Kaiser Permanente

Mental Health Professionals Strike at Kaiser Permanente

by Doug Porter 01.12.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

Protesting what they’re calling systematic under-staffing, 2,600 psychologists, therapists and social workers have called a week-long strike at Kaiser Permanente medical centers.

Organized by the National Union of Health Workers (NUHW), there are 65 picket lines in 35 California cities in responding to failed negotiations with the company.

Back in September, Kaiser agreed to a $4-million fine levied by state regulators. The Department of Managed Health Care found patients had excessively long wait times to get a therapy appointment, or were shuttled into groups when they wanted individual therapy.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for A Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, San Diego Style

A Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, San Diego Style

by Doug Porter 01.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Oh, the drama. As the dates approach for the Democratic party election in San Diego for delegates to the state party convention, a behind-the-scenes rebellion against the current party leadership is going on.

Steve Rivera, an event coordinator for the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice is challenging current party Chair Francine Busby,  Wounds within the party dating back to the Filner scandal and the Fletcher vs Alvarez contest have been re-opened.  Emotions are running high. Backroom caucuses are running late into the night.

Activists, disillusioned by what they perceive as ineffective leadership and a lack of support for progressive candidates and causes, are challenging the old guard. Based on what I’ve been able to piece together it appears (the vote isn’t until January 20th) the established leadership will weather the crisis. But the rebellion is, at a minimum, symbolic of the lack of faith many rank and file members have in the Democratic Party.

Read the full article → 20 comments
Thumbnail image for National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

by Doug Porter 01.08.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego is one of seven cities selected by the national AFL-CIO for a long-term effort to concentrate political and economic actions aimed at making increasing the minimum wage an issue in the next presidential election.

The labor federation’s President Richard Trumka announced the nationwide campaign Wednesday during first National Summit on Raising Wages, held at  Gallaudet University Washington, District of Columbia. More than 300 activists and labor leaders along with thousands of other people watching a live stream video also heard speeches by Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The AFL-CIO effort will kick off with statewide Raising Wages Summits in 2015 in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, typically the first four presidential primary states.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

by Doug Porter 01.07.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter
_______________________

Hours after members of its staff were murdered, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo brought its website back online with a “Je Suis Charlie” graphic, which has become the image of social media solidarity. (See story in column inside)
_______________________

Are you sick and tired of elected Democrats who don’t act like Democrats? Does the phrase “herding cats” come to mind when assemblypersons in Sacramento can’t even get it together on things like climate change? Are you tired of voting for lesser of two evils? Can I get an “Amen?”

Well, you’re in luck. With a small investment of time this weekend Democrats in San Diego can help select delegates to the state party convention, the body that makes endorsements ( a critical step in our top-two primary system) and writes the state party platform, among other things.

Today’s column will start off by telling you how to participate and where to get information on some of the choices available. Mind you, this election won’t fix everything wrong with the party of FDR, but it’s a start.

Read the full article → 18 comments
Thumbnail image for Gov. Brown’s Legacy, DA Dumanis Forever and Human Rights in Mexico in the News

Gov. Brown’s Legacy, DA Dumanis Forever and Human Rights in Mexico in the News

by Doug Porter 01.06.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There was a whole lotta swearing going on yesterday around California, as state and local officials took oaths promising to obey the constitution and whatever else it is they’re supposed to do. Today we’ll look at some of the promises made as politicians used the opportunity to talk about the future.

In Sacramento Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines, announcing a sweeping plan to address climate change. After taking the oath for his fourth and final term, Brown used his inaugural speech to proclaim that California must lead the way if the world is to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.

In San Diego county supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were sworn in for their final term limited time. Also taking the oath were Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assessor/Recorder/Clerk Ernest Dronenburg, Jr., and Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

by Staff 12.16.2014 Activism

An open letter from Dr. Fredi Avalos generates discussion on SDFP’s role in critiquing the Left and movement building

By San Diego Free Press Editorial Board

How do we reconcile our differences on the Left to more effectively fight a common enemy?

The San Diego Free Press does not publish every work that is submitted. The four daily editors determine whether a submission meets our criteria for quality of writing and compatibility with our mission of providing grassroots news and progressive views.

There have been a few times when we have declined to publish articles that were articulate and authored by respected members of the SDFP community of contributors and readers. When this occurs, it is a result of discussion and a final vote of the full editorial board, in which the majority position is reflected and the contributor is advised of our decision.

Read the full article → 17 comments
Thumbnail image for ‘Just Call Me Todd’ Gloria Gets the Boot as City Council President

‘Just Call Me Todd’ Gloria Gets the Boot as City Council President

by Doug Porter 12.11.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Depending on who you talk to, the City Council’s 7-2 vote yesterday to elect District One’s Democrat Sherri Lightner as President over Todd Gloria was either a victory for evil reactionaries or the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Looking at the two Councilpersons voting records prior to 2014, there doesn’t seem to be much of an ideological difference. The San Diego Labor Council declined to endorse both Gloria (rated by them at 60%) and Lightner (54%) in the 2012 election. So what’s the big deal?

Today we’ll take a look at the debate this decision by the council has spawned and my best guess as to what the consequences will be.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

by Doug Porter 12.10.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Students at San Diego State University participated in a march and sit-in on Tuesday, demanding the school take action in response to sexual assaults and harassment. The protest was triggered by reports of people associated with fraternity houses yelling  obscenities, waving dildos and throwing eggs at a Nov. 21st  anti-rape march called Take Back the Night.

Their demands included an open forum with  SDSU President Elliot Hirshman during the spring semester, along with the resignations of fraternity members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi from various posts on the campus. The protesters cited the need for a planned Women’s Resource Center to serve as a rape crisis center and for CSU and UC colleges to release all statistical data on the investigation, adjudication and sanction of cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

As is the case with police-linked killings around the country, the protests are the local manifestation of a much larger problem, and today I’ll try to give this story some context.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for What a Difference a Few Decades Make : An Interview with Kevin Beiser

What a Difference a Few Decades Make : An Interview with Kevin Beiser

by Judi Curry 12.10.2014 Education

By Judi Curry

As a public school teacher beginning my career in the early sixties, I have seen the pendulum swing many ways in the past fifty years. (Fifty Years! My God!) Perhaps one of the biggest swings was from the professional organizations of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) to the American Federation of Teachers ( AFT) and other labor organizations.

As a member of “management” later in my career, I have been disillusioned with professionals (educators) belonging to labor organizations, because I have always felt that the “product” – read children – we deal with cannot be “recalled” to put in a missing part. We get one time to do it correctly, and God help us all if we are not successful.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

by Doug Porter 12.05.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The big news in downtown San Diego yesterday, if you are a reader of the local daily newspaper, was the bomb squad being called in to investigate a discarded sex toy left on the ground near the federal courthouse.

In keeping with UT-San Diego’s historic lack of coverage, there was no mention of early morning protests temporarily causing a McDonald’s franchise in City Heights to lock their doors. Or the members of the City Council who came out at 6am to stand with the demonstrators. Or the 150 or so protesters who marched all over downtown for a three hour period mid-day, targeting not only fast food stores but federal immigration enforcement, and echoing nationwide dismay over recent killings at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Local TV stations sent cameramen to get a bit of footage of the downtown demonstrations. KUSI, KFMB, Fox5, and 10news all used a local wire service for their actual reporting on the demonstration.

Now I know these demonstrations weren’t “page one or lead story” news by contemporary journalism standards. Something is happening here in San Diego and around the country. There is a larger story about inequality and injustice. And it’s not going away.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Chicago set to raise minimum wage to $13

Chicago set to raise minimum wage to $13

by Source 12.04.2014 Activism

By Laura Clawson / Daily Kos

Chicago is likely to be the next city to raise its minimum wage, with its city council voting Tuesday on an increase supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

The mayor’s revised minimum wage ordinance would raise the hourly minimum wage in Chicago each year in July, starting with an increase to $10 next year. It would then go up to $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018, and $13 in 2019.After 2019, the city’s minimum wage would go up each year at a rate equal to the rise in the Consumer Price Index.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Injustices in Ferguson, Mexico and the Fast Food Business Trigger Protests in San Diego

Injustices in Ferguson, Mexico and the Fast Food Business Trigger Protests in San Diego

by Doug Porter 12.03.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

There are protests aplenty in San Diego this week. Yesterday City College students walked out in solidarity with those who see recent events in Ferguson as part of a larger problem of injustice. They also acknowledged the international outcry over the 43 missing Mexican students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

Today protesters will come together in 43 cities (including San Marcos) across the United States in a display of solidarity to demand that the government uphold its own human rights laws by stopping funding for the Mérida Initiative, also known as Plan Mexico.

And tomorrow fast food workers and their allies in San Diego and 150 other cities will be making a statement about inherent unfairness of a business strategy needing government programs to keep wages low and profits high.

We’ll look at all three of these protests today.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for UT-San Diego’s Imaginary “War on Cars”

UT-San Diego’s Imaginary “War on Cars”

by Doug Porter 12.02.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Papa Doug Manchester’s Mission Valley minions have decided to create an imaginary world to explain away recent court decisions adverse to the planning documents of the county government and the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG.

Today’s UT-San Diego editorial fantasizes about an alternative universe wherein their “smart growth” principles are opposed by evil environmentalists seeking to impose suffering upon the good people of America’s Finest City by banning automobiles. It closes with a rant about “those who view cars and freeways the same way that most people think about bubonic plague.”

As is true with other imagined narratives (Fox News fantasies about a War on Christmas is my personal favorite), the War on Cars concept provides the opportunity for rapid-fire distortions and lies.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for December 4th Fast Food Strikes: Part of a Much Bigger Picture

December 4th Fast Food Strikes: Part of a Much Bigger Picture

by Doug Porter 12.01.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Fast food workers in San Diego and 150 other cities will be walking off the job this Thursday demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union.

This nationwide protest comes on the heels of Black Friday protests at 1600 WalMart stores in 49 states. Workers in stores in walked off the job in advance of the protests on Wednesday in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators angered by events in Ferguson, Missouri targeted malls in cities around the country (including San Diego) urging shoppers to skip shopping to show solidarity with their cause.

The particulars of these events are not as important as what they represent: a growing sense of frustration with economic and social conditions. These actions are symbolic, intended to break through the “everybody knows” noise generated by the mass media.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for What to Do When Black Friday Isn’t Your Thing

What to Do When Black Friday Isn’t Your Thing

by At Large 11.28.2014 Activism

By Debbie Forward

Black Friday Walmart Actions in the San Diego Area

Grossmont 11am– 8820 Grossmont Blvd, La Mesa
Aero 10am– 3382 Murphy Canyon Rd, SD
Logan 10am– 2121 Imperial Ave, SD

If you’re one of the humans who believe holidays are for friends and families, nobody should be forced to work on Thanksgiving Day, and you steer away from the shopping masses on Black Friday, well, here’s something worthy of your consideration.

Thousands of people like you are signing up to join peaceful demonstrations at hundreds of Walmarts across the country to support the stores’ employees in their quest for decent working conditions. Some of those rallies are already planned in San Diego County. Even in North County. Gasp.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

by At Large 11.18.2014 Activism

By Oliver James

I threw away a $100k+ a year career for my community. I live in City Heights, San Diego, California and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. And this is why I did it.

Let’s rewind a bit back to 2010. I was working for a marketing company providing design and marketing services to the financial industry. I was making around $65k a year and life was good (or so it seemed).

Don’t get me wrong $65,000 a year was great. But I wasn’t really, truly happy.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

by Jim Miller 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for ‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

by Doug Porter 11.14.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Coast to coast labor actions on Thursday, November 13th, provided a preview of what’s to come in the not-so-distant future as workers who’ve been marginalized and abused in the so-called post recession economy begin voicing their frustrations. The tactic of short, sudden strikes starting with restaurant workers in New York City several years ago is going nationwide.

America’s biggest retailer saw an daytime sit-in by about 20 employees at its Crenshaw store. Off duty Walmart employees sat along aisles at that location holding signs resembling those used in the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937.

Store Managers came by and checked IDs and discount cards to verify that those involved really were WalMart employees. Protesters were out of their uniform and off the clock, their mouths covered with green tape and the word strike written across it symbolizing their claims about the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

Read the full article → 5 comments
Thumbnail image for A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

by Doug Porter 11.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Years of grass roots organizing paid off yesterday as the City Council voted 8-1 to eliminate a cap on the number of taxi permits issued in San Diego.

The United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) grew out of an unsuccessful driver strike in December, 2009. Roughly 300 drivers took part, asking for a reduced weekly lease rate, a guaranteed day off per week, sick days, better job security and better-maintained vehicles.

The taxi industry in San Diego has been functioning as a government licensed fiefdom, with a several hundred permit holders leasing their vehicles to immigrants (mostly) from East Africa who introduce others to the job after arriving in the region.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

by Doug Porter 11.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The effort to sabotage a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego was funded almost entirely by corporations dependent on government anti-poverty programs to support their workers.

This information came out via a November 4 campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the San Diego city clerk’s office reported on by Matt Potter at  the Reader. The campaign was sponsored by a group calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition.,  While the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, made no secret of its involvement, they consistently claimed they were acting on behalf of and funded by small businesses.

Now we know that more than 95% of the group’s funding came from big business Political Action Committees. Out of town monies included: $100,000 from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, $40,000 from The California Restaurant Association Issues PAC, and $25,000 from the International Franchise Association of Washington DC.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for 100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

by Source 10.30.2014 Activism

By Daniel Gutiérrez and Victor Herzfeld

On Saturday, October 25, union members, community leaders, and student organizers gathered at Lincoln High School to attend the San Diego Troublemakers Conference, hosted by Labor Notes and the Coalition for Labor & Community Solidarity (CLCS).

The event attracted a wide array of attendees from multiple unions, neighborhoods, and campuses to address burning questions that face labor today. Speakers included various organizers, like folks from SEIU, United Taxi Workers of San Diego, Unión del Barrio, ARE, AFT, UAW, IWW, the Seattle Education Association, and a slue of others that deserve mention. However, what made the event more remarkable than the list of invited speakers was the shear fact that it was so well attended. More than 120 people gathered on an early Saturday morning to address the future of the labor movement in San Diego, nationally, and internationally.

Read the full article → 1 comment