Also: Dead Men Don’t Talk in National City, the Dotard and the Billionaire Class, and the Democratic Party’s New Free Speech Zone
Remember the days when corporations in California avoided responsibility for breaking labor laws by blaming contractors, who all-to-often disappeared when investigations were complete?
Well, those days are over, thanks to Assembly Bill 1897, opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, who claimed back in 2014 it would “discourage further growth in this state, and it will certainly discourage out-of-state companies from locating here.”
Now, a client employer may be held equally liable for the subcontractor’s owed wages, damages, and penalties, as well as workers’ compensation violations.
An investigation initiated by San Diego’s Employee Rights Center, a nonprofit that assists low-wage workers without union representation, led to a ruling by the Labor Commissioner’s Office holding the Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Southern California and its janitorial subcontractors liable for $4.57 million in minimum wages, overtime, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties, and meal and rest period premiums.
Five hundred fifty-nine janitorial workers at the company’s eight locations in San Diego and Orange County were often detained for inspections after working eight-hour shifts with no breaks and sometimes worked up to 10 hours a week of unpaid overtime.
From the Orange County Register:
Cheesecake Factory subcontracted its cleaning to Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., a Minneapolis firm doing business as Allied National Services Inc. The workers were then managed by San Diego-based Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning, whose owner Zulma Villegas must pay the $4.57 million, Labor Commissioner Julie Su reported.
After the investigation began, Villegas changed her business name to Z’s Commercial Quality Cleaning, which will also be held liable, the commissioner said. Magic Touch also does business as Zulma Villages.
However, if the state fails to collect from Villegas, the restaurant chain and the national janitorial firm will have to pay.
From the Coast News:
Cheesecake Factory janitorial contractors were also accused of wage violations in 2007 and 2010. Stolen wages are “business as usual” for the restaurant chain’s contracted workers, said Lilia Garcia-Brower, executive director of the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, a janitorial industry watchdog based in Los Angeles.
“This marks the third time the Cheesecake Factory has stood by as the people who clean their restaurants had thousands of dollars in wages stolen from their paychecks. This time is different. Because of new laws in the state, the Cheesecake Factory will also be held accountable for the stolen wages of the people who clean their restaurants,” she said.
Dead prisoners don’t talk… A petition being circulated by Color of Change, a progressive nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization, shows why having an honest District Attorney matters.
Nobody can say just how it is that National City resident Earl McNeil received the injuries leading up to his life support being turned off last Thursday.
What we do know is early Saturday morning, May 26th, McNeil, a 40-year-old black man with mental health issues, entered the National City Police (NCPD) station requesting police emergency assistance.
Later that day he was admitted to UCSD Medical Center in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, including severe brain and nerve trauma, swollen bruises all over his face and head, and cuts on his arms and hands.
From the Union-Tribune:
McNeil was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, resisting officers and violating the terms of his community supervision.
He was then taken to jail where he went into medical distress, Sullivan said. National City officers called for paramedics who treated McNeil at the jail and later took him to a hospital.
Tammy Davis, an aunt who has raised McNeil since he was 12 years old, said a police officer called her later that day and told her McNeil suffered a heart attack.
But when family members visited him, they said his face was covered in injuries that suggested an altercation took place.
The NCPD says they handcuffed McNeil and used a stiff nylon blanket known as a wrap when he became combative, using only minimal force needed to restrain him.
The Color of Change petition is aimed at the County District Attorney and National City officials, urging transparency and accountability from the police department by requiring the release of all video and audio recordings of the arrest.
From the petition:
Tragically, federal officials under the Trump White House have expressed no interest in holding police departments accountable for civil rights violations of unarmed Black people in our country. Additionally, the lack of black representation in city government makes it incumbent upon San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and National City leaders to act swiftly and decisively to represent and protect all its citizens.
I wish them lots of luck and can just about guarantee that any investigation (if it even occurs) will find no fault by any person in authority. That’s the way things in San Diego gt done, and why so much money was spent to get Summer Stephan elected as DA.
It’s Not the Dottard, It’s the Economy. (And the Lincoln Club). President Trump may or may not have a foreign policy victory by meeting with the leader of North Korea. He certainly has a public relations victory under his belt.
World peace, who’s gonna want to argue against that? As the chattering heads spew world salads, they’re all repeating the “brand” name: T.R.U.M.P.
I’ll take a moment here to remind everybody about this guy named Richard Nixon who went to China and shook Chairman Mao’s hand. He won an election by a yuge majority that fall. (and was gone less than two years later.)
So I believe, whether or not there is any substance to the agreements coming out of Singapore, the task of reversing the nation’s slide back to the 1870s in the fall elections just got more challenging.
If you’re into metaphors, the blue wave just hit a red reef. Both leaders will benefit domestically. The details aren’t really all that important to them. Kim Il Sung’s people believe they’ll get to eat regular food. The MAGA people will believe their fearless leader just triumphed over a bad guy.
There is a way out of this difficulty, and it starts by not helping the man with his branding efforts. It’s the economy and the way it impacts everyday people.
As Senator Elizabeth Warren observed on the Deconstructed podcast last week, the path to victory for Democrats involves taking on the greed and criminality of the ‘billionaire class’ as part of a broader, systemic crisis that has infected the entire American political system.
“Citizens United is taking the legs out from underneath democracy. And we have to be willing to overturn Citizens United,” Warren said. “I get it that it’s hard. But we can’t give up on it, because money is going to drown our democracy. And if we don’t start fighting back and fighting back more aggressively, then we are part of the problem as well.”
In San Diego, the fight for democracy begins with exposing the role played by the uber-wealthy in local elections. The primary purveyor of the smut used to denigrate the process is the Lincoln Club.
Other big money election operations (union groups, developer PACs) come and go, but on a consistent basis, this elite group is the heart and soul of what’s wrong with San Diego, and not just in electoral politics.
I’ll come back to the Lincoln Club as my research progresses over the summer.
The Democratic Party’s Free speech zone… Following a contentious April meeting, where police were called on demonstrators, San Diego’s Democratic Party has announced their June 19th meeting is moving to its original location, the Union Hall at IBEW 569, 4545 Viewridge Avenue
Here’s the money quote:
“IBEW 569 has graciously welcomed us back and they have adopted a new policy of keeping protestors on the sidewalk.”
The last I heard, nothing has been resolved about the claim from the Martin Luther King Jr Democratic Club regarding their treatment at the umbrella group’s annual dinner.
Keeping dissent shunted into a corner or pushed to sidewalk won’t make the very real problems with the Democratic Party leadership go away.
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