So what’s up with the U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME, a.k.a. Right-to-work (for less), case? NewsBroke’s Francesca Fiorentini provides some history, context and speculation on outcomes in her irreverent, witty and acerbic style. [Read more…]
This coming Saturday, thousands of workers, along with their families, friends, and allies in the community, will gather in San Diego to stand up for the rights of working Americans in the face of the impending Janus vs AFSCME decision by the Supreme Court that aims further rig the system against us. Against this assault, we will continue to insist on our right to form strong unions, raise our collective voice, and fight for equitable pay, affordable health care, civil rights, strong communities, and quality public education for all.
The only political mechanism American workers have ever had to address this is the labor movement and that is why most Americans should care about the fate of the labor movement, whether they are in a union or not.
So come on out this Saturday and stand with the American labor movement. The new Robber Barons of the Trump era can only prevail if we let them divide us. United, we can fight back and win a better future. [Read more…]
In the wake of my last column on the agenda of the billionaire backers of the Janus vs. AFSCME case soon to be heard by the Supreme Court, the Los Angeles Times published a solid piece that outlined the broader context and suspect reasoning guiding this shameless attack on American labor…
While it’s abundantly clear why progressives should be disturbed by this naked power grab, not all the dissent is coming from the left. Even those with little sympathy for the Democratic Party have noted how brazenly this case distorts the notion of “free speech…”
It is also unlikely that most Americans if they had a say in the matter, would agree that “money is speech” or that there was any noble right at stake when the Court ruled in favor of unlimited corporate campaign spending in the Citizens United case. One might also reasonably assume that not many Americans are too sanguine about the corrosive effect this rigging of our political system has had on our democracy. [Read more…]
There’s blood in the water. That’s the sense that the money behind the American Right has as we head into the second year of the Trump era. And with recent polls showing the big Democratic polling edge ebbing, the sharks are beginning to circle.
But, as unsettling as that is, there is a lot more at stake than just one election cycle.
As Doug Porter ably reported last week, the Koch network got together in Indian Wells to sip cocktails and discuss how they could invest $400 million to promote their politics and policies in the upcoming election cycle. That alone is very bad news for those of us hoping that a Democratic wave might sweep the Republican majority out of the House of Representatives, but the aim of this incredibly powerful group of billionaires is not just to win one election but to win the long war. [Read more…]
As the Trump circus keeps people focused on daily scandals along with assaults on immigrants, transgender folks, and a myriad of other battles, the right is busy trying to quietly win the long war. Last week in my Labor Day column, I noted how the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME decision will help make it possible to gut public sector unions and the labor movement as a whole in order to change the power structure of the entire country and rig American politics in favor of the interests of the rich and our corporate oligarchy.
While many progressives take comfort in the fact that Trump’s incompetence and perpetually dysfunctional administration have made big legislative accomplishments difficult even with Republican majorities in both houses, it is important not to forget what a big win getting a Supreme Court majority was for right-wing interests long term. It sets the stage for a coming battle royal once the Janus decision hits. [Read more…]
Q: What do Angela Davis, Luis Valdez and Gloria Steinem have in common? A: They all appear in the movie “Dolores”, about labor organizer and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta. While surfing the interwebs today I came across a Democracy Now! segment that featured Amy Goodman interviewing Dolores about the current DACA situation. In the course of the interview Amy mentioned that there’s a new film out about her and that piqued my curiosity. With a little more research I discovered that “Dolores” is a Carlos Santana production written, directed and produced by Peter Bratt and it’s just been released!
The film’s website shows that Dolores Huerta will be appearing in person at the Ken Cinema on Friday, September 22th for a Q&A at 4:45 pm and for the screening at 7:10 pm. Other members of the Huerta family, including Maria Elena Chavez and Rick Chavez, will be attending in person on Saturday, September 23rd for the 7:10 screening. [Read more…]
What is there to celebrate this Labor Day for the average American? We live in troubled times and many of us in the United States are increasingly anxious or angry as we see the American Dream slipping away right before our eyes as the middle-class shrinks and the gap between the very rich and the rest of us continues to grow.
Of course things weren’t always so discouraging for working folks and, as recently as the middle of the twentieth century, what Robert Reich has called the “great compression” helped build the American middle class to its historic zenith as people saw their wages increase, their educational and economic opportunities expand, and their political power grow as the government responded to increasing pressure from below and employers felt the need to compromise with rather than put the screws to their workforces.
While many people have a vague nostalgia for the times before the great unraveling of economic security for most Americans, many have forgotten what helped make the good old days for the middle class good: unions. [Read more…]
Maybe it’s because he authored a book titled “Working”, maybe it’s because he was employed by the Works Progress Administration in his early years, maybe it’s just because he so obviously loved the work he did, but for me Studs Terkel personifies the idea of a labor of love, and of the good, caring and kind aspects of work. So, on Labor Day, here’s a brief clip of Studs relating with his disarmingly charming delivery, an anecdote with a Labor Day theme. [Read more…]
A little more music for the weekend, this selection in the spirit of the Labor Day holiday: Union Town by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman. Don’t think there are any clips of San Diego in this video, so for us this may be aspirational rather than descriptive, but we’re working on it … [Read more…]
For those who read Jim Miller’s recent articles recounting the unfortunate splits in the local Labor movement, it may seem they result from just personal differences among labor leaders. Jim reported the events that led the AFL-CIO, the parent organization of the Labor Council, to take over the council and restore it to functioning as it should.
However that came about, that is what the AFL-CIO as the parent organization is supposed to do. It will be hard work.
This work will pay off if San Diego’s Labor Council is restored to the level it maintained for over two decades beginning in the late 1990s when it helped union families leverage their collective strength in improving wages and benefits, as well as playing a key role in local elections. It can be said definitively that the lives of hundreds of thousands of people improved in this region because San Diego had a strong, unified Labor Council. [Read more…]
Study: Nearly 40,000 workers shorted on paychecks.
What happens if voters approve an increased minimum wage ordinance and government can’t be bothered? Short answer–people get ripped off.
A study by the San Diego State University Department of Sociology, the Center on Policy Initiatives, and the Employee Rights Center of San Diego estimates employers in San Diego and Imperial counties have failed to pay the legal minimum wage to 39,900 local workers.
One year ago today the San Diego Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance became law and established a local minimum wage (currently $11.50 an hour) applying to all work done within City limits. [Read more…]
California’s port truckers make it possible for the both the old and new retail economies.of the world to function. This week they’re calling strikes and staging picket lines at ports on the West Coast, including San Diego.
This work stoppage is about more than wages and benefits; it’s about an economic nightmare akin to involuntary servitude enabled by corporations like Toyota, Walmart, Target, and Amazon.
Companies like XPO Logistics, Inc.–the target of this week’s actions– are illegally misclassifying workers as independent contractors, forcing them into a debt peonage system of the sort most Americans think vanished a century ago. [Read more…]