Selected Articles, February 2017
Hundreds Attend Community Action Rally in Redwood City
In San Mateo County, hundreds attended a Community Action Rally in Redwood City, inspired by and held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Read More
Regional Coalition Stepping up Efforts to Fight Wage Theft
A coalition of organizations, many of which led campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Bay Area cities, are stepping up their efforts to enforce local wage laws and to fight “wage theft” that robs workers of the pay they have earned. Read More
Massive Worldwide Protests Kick Off Resistance to Trump
More than three million people around the world joined protests and rallies January 21 against the reactionary agenda of the Trump administration. The Woman’s March on Washington drew half a million, while 100,000 rallied in San Francisco, 60,000 in Oakland, and 750,000 in Los Angeles. Protests in New York, Chicago and many cities in Europe and worldwide also drew massive crowds. Read More
ACA Repeal: Worse than the Drought for San Joaquin Valley Jobs
California saw large increases in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as 3.7 million adults enrolled in the Medi-Cal expansion and 1.2 million Californians enrolled in subsidized insurance through Covered California. Repealing the ACA threatens not only to leave millions without health insurance, but also to eliminate 209,000 jobs and cost the state economy $20.3 billion in GDP. Further negative impacts could occur depending on how the federal government restructures federal payments for the entire state Medi-Cal program.
For the San Joaquin Valley economy, we estimate that 24,000 jobs would be eliminated. That’s more lost jobs in the San Joaquin Valley alone than the estimated 21,000 jobs lost in 2015 in the entire state due to the drought. More than 470,000 San Joaquin Valley residents—or 11.2 percent of the region’s population—enrolled in the ACA Medi-Cal expansion, more than the share that enrolled statewide (9.4 percent). More than 100,000 residents in the region receive federal subsidies averaging $3,700 per year that help them afford private insurance through Covered California. These health insurance gains would be reversed if the ACA is repealed without a comprehensive replacement.
The loss of health insurance under ACA repeal would lead to reduced demand and funding for healthcare services, resulting in 17,000 fewer jobs in the region’s healthcare industry. Healthcare workers would spend less at local businesses, creating a ripple effect of job loss throughout all industries. The region is already suffering from a higher than average unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, compared to 5.3 percent statewide. Just as San Joaquin Valley residents cannot afford the loss of health insurance that would occur under ACA repeal, the region cannot afford the loss of 24,000 jobs.
-UC Berkeley Labor Center
Selected Articles, January 2017
The Fight for $15 and a Union Continues
With a rallying cry of “Poverty Doesn’t Fly,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members joined hundreds of working people at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) November 29 to demand $15 an hour and union rights for all workers. SEIU members from Local 1021, 521, USWW, and 2015 joined Uber drivers, fast food, home care and child care workers and contingent faculty and immigrant justice activists to call attention to the plight of the chronically-underpaid at a time when more and more wealth is being shifted to the richest in our economy. Read More
Bay Restoration Authority Votes for Project Labor Agreement on Bay Restoration Work
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s (SFBRA) Governing Board voted November 30 to require that work on SF Bay restoration projects costing $500,000 and above be done under terms of a Project Labor Agreement with Bay Area Building Trades Councils. In June of this year, voters in all nine Bay Area counties approved Regional Measure AA, which will fund restoration of wetlands throughout the Bay Area through a $12 annual parcel tax. The tax will raise $25 million per year ($500 million over 20 years)—“enough to build 20 miles of new levees and restore an estimated 15,000 acres of wetlands,” according to the SFBRA. Read More
Selected Articles, November & December 2016
Mourn … and Organize!
Labor Makes Gains at Local and State Level as Anti-Union Tycoon Elected President
In an election that saw a right wing business tycoon wholly unqualified to be President take enough Electoral College votes to win and Democrats fail to gain enough seats in Congress to take control of either house, there were a few bright spots and victories at the local and state level. Read More
Fighting Back Against Trump’s Agenda:
Students, Union Leaders, Elected Officials Speak Out
In the weeks since the November 8 election, opponents of right wing millionaire Donald Trump’s extremist agenda have protested, spoken up, or called for Americans who value progress and civil rights to continue to organize. Read More
Assembly Labor Committee Chairman Tony Thurmond Meets with San Mateo County Union Members
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council hosted a meeting with State Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, the recently appointed Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment.
Julie Lind Rupp, San Mateo County Central Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, said the East Bay Assemblymember had asked to meet with SMCLC delegates to get a better understanding of regional labor issues and challenges union members in San Mateo County face that can be addressed legislatively. Read More
Selected Articles, May 2016
San Bruno City Council OKs Hotel Deal Despite Unions’ Objections
Workers Protest as Developer Fails to Commit to Union Labor
Opponents of the sale of city land to OTO Development spoke at the San Bruno City Council’s special meeting March 29.
The San Bruno City Council voted March 29 to approve the sale of city land to developer OTO for construction of a luxury Marriot hotel. The South Carolina-based developer has refused to meet with representatives of the Hotel Workers union, UNITE-HERE Local 2, to work out a card-check agreement and has not agreed to a Project Labor Agreement with the Building Trades for construction work on the project. Read More
Supreme Court Reaffirms Collective Bargaining in Landmark Case
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association March 29, affirming that public employers have a compelling interest in having strong and effective collective bargaining. The 4-4 decision leaves intact the sound law of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that has been working for nearly four decades. Read More
Governor Brown Signs Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $15
California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation April 4 that will raise the state’s minimum wage in steps over the next six years to $15 an hour. Read More
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo Announces She Will Vote NO on TPP
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo told Labor and fair trade activists last month that she will vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when it comes before the House. Eshoo joins Rep. Jackie Speier in opposition to the trade agreement.
Pictured. left to right, at the meeting: Julie Lind, San Mateo County Central Labor Council; Paul George, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center; Shelley Kessler, San Mateo County Central Labor Council; Rep. Eshoo; Xiomara Castro, Citizens Trade Campaign; and Jeremy Malcolm, Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Selected Articles, April 2016
Flight Attendants and Teamster Mechanics Picket United Airlines at SFO
Members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) and Teamster mechanics rallied at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) March 17 to demand fair contracts at United Airlines (UAL). The action was the fifth in a series of rallies held since last December to call attention to the failure of UAL management to reach an agreement with the unions in contract negotiations. Hundreds of Teamsters rallied at the United Airlines Maintenance Base February 19 and again on February 28 at the UAL terminal. AFA members rallied in December and January to demand an industry-leading contract. Read More
San Mateo County Unions Meet with Local Legislators
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council hosted a breakfast meeting with State Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Phil Ting March 4 to discuss Labor issues and concerns. Hill and Mullin are among the 37 state legislators with 100 percent pro-Labor voting records; Ting’s voting record is 96 percent pro-Labor. Senator Hill said he respects Labor and that, “It isn’t difficult to support Labor’s bills—we are on the same side and want workers to be treated well.” Read More
Selected Articles, December 2015
San Mateo City Council Backs Raising Minimum Wage to $15
The San Mateo City Council began the process of raising the minimum wage in the city at its November 16 meeting. All five council members agreed to start setting a process to raise the minimum wage in San Mateo to $15 per hour, and directed city staff to consider further policy options, including enacting living wage standards and expanding prevailing wage requirements to cover private developments. Read More
Workers from SFO Contractors Rally for Better Working Conditions
Cabin cleaners and other contracted airport workers picketed at the United Airlines terminal at San Francisco International Airport November 19 in solidarity with airline contract workers who were on strike at airports around the US. The national day of action by SEIU airline workers saw wheelchair attendants and cabin and terminal cleaners in Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, New York City and Philadelphia go out on strike. Read More
Labor Council’s Election Work Gets Results
The efforts of San Mateo County Central Labor Council union members to get out the vote paid off with positive results in many races in the November 3 elections. The Labor Council was successful in winning 79 percent of endorsed local ballot measures and candidate races. Over 280 volunteers made phone calls, walked precincts, and talked to fellow union members to urge votes for labor-endorsed candidates and measures. Read More
Underpaid Workers across California Mobilize to Win $15 and a Union
Thousands of underpaid workers across California mobilized November 10 in a historic show of solidarity for higher wages, social justice and equality in cities from San Diego to Sacramento. There are 3.2 million workers in California paid less than $15/hr. Read More
Hundreds of fast-food, home care, retail and child care workers gathered in Oakland November 10 to call for a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights.
Selected Articles, November 2015
Airline Catering Employees Win Coverage Under Quality Standards Program at SFO
Over 1,200 employees of the companies who supply on-board food for airline passengers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will see improved benefits through the airport’s wage and benefit policy, known as the Quality Standards Program (QSP). The San Francisco International Airport Commission voted October 13 to expand the QSP to include airline catering employees. Read More
High-Speed Rail Authority Presents Plan for Peninsula Rail Corridor
The California High-Speed Rail Authority held a Community Open House in Burlingame October 7. CHSRA officials presented updated information on plans for the rail line that will eventually connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, focusing on the route from San Francisco to San Jose that will run through the Peninsula. The meeting was one of four held in Northern California designed to provide up-to-date information on the statewide High-Speed Rail program and the next phase of planning and environmental review. Read More
Selected Articles, September 2015
Activists Rally to Protect, Improve, Expand Medicare
Hundreds of union members, seniors and health care advocates rallied in Oakland July 30 to call to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Medicare program.
Thousands of union members, seniors, and activists rallied across the country July 30 in a National Day of Action celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare, which provided health care for 50 million Americans last year—covering health care costs and stabilizing finances in households on fixed budgets. Read More
Labor Working to Raise Wages
The “Fight for $15” movement has caught fire nationally, expanding beyond the fast food industry. Community and labor activists and local elected officials are heeding the call to “Raise the Wage,” so working families can meet their basic needs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read More
Bay News Rising Covers Workers’ Struggles, Unon Campaigns
The Pacific Media Workers Guild recently completed the fourth yearly edition of Bay News Rising, the union’s summer internship program for journalism students that brings together professional and college reporters in a collaborative training for the future of Bay Area journalism.
“We had eight sharp young people from San Francisco State and San Francisco City College this year,” said Bay News Rising Editor Bill Snyder, chair of the Local’s Freelance Unit. “They focused on stories about the struggles of working people and unions in the Bay Area. Take a look at their work on the program’s Web site. It’s damn good.”
Recent stories include, “Is the gig up? Contract workers vote to unionize,” “Bay Area workers cry foul as Staples, U.S. Postal Service team up” and “Union cabbies give mayors an earful at Uber soiree: ‘We pay high fees, they pay zero’.” See http://baynewsrising.org for recent and archived stories.
Selected Articles, July & August 2015
United Airlines Flight Attendants Rally for Fair Contract
United Airlines Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), rallied at the San Francisco International Airport July 16 to call on United Airlines to negotiate a fair contract and finish the operational merger with Continental Airlines. Read More
United Flight Attendants and supporters from throughout the industry called on United management to recognize the hard work of Flight Attendants.
The “Sharing Economy” Leaves Out Middle Class Jobs
Apps like AirBnB and Uber bad for Workers
Don’t the let the term “sharing economy” fool you. There is no sharing. It’s really just the 1 percent making money by stripping workers of the rights for which the labor movement has fought so hard to secure. Read More
Senate Votes for Fast Track
13 Democrats back corporate trade agenda despite protests by Labor
Union members, environmental activists, and representatives of human rights campaigns protested the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track outside Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco office June 22.
The Senate voted 60-38 June 24 to grant Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to the Obama Administration that will fast track trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).The House of Representatives passed fast-track trade legislation June 18 on a 218-208 vote, with 28 Democrats voting yes. Unlike a version rejected earlier in June, the bills passed in the House and Senate were not tied to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill meant to provide aid to workers displaced by trade agreements. Read More
SM County Moving Forward on Community Choice Energy Plan
San Mateo County Supervisors Dave Pine and Carole Groom spoke about the County’s plans for Community Choice Energy (CCE) at the Labor Council’s delegates meeting June 8. County Supervisors voted earlier this year to study setting up a CCE agency, and recently appointed an advisory committee to help guide the process. Read More
For previous articles, click on the Archives link.
CEO Pay and the 99 Percent
The 2012 AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch site—now called “CEO Pay and the 99%”—includes the most comprehensive data accessible on 2011 executive pay. CEO Pay and the 99% shows that a CEO of a company in the S&P 500 Index, on average, received $12.9 million in total compensation in 2011. That’s nearly a 14 percent raise over the previous year. And that’s on top of a 23 percent increase in 2010.
In stark contrast, the average wage for workers hovered at $34,000 in 2011. Median household income fell $3,700 over the past decade. And those who are employed received an average 2.8 percent raise—barely keeping up with inflation.
The new site also features data on:
• Swelling corporate cash stockpiles. Corporations have a record $2.2 trillion in cash on their balance sheets, according to the Federal Reserve. But rather than reinvest this capital to grow our economy and create jobs, CEOs are not deploying these resources.
• The widening gap between CEO and worker pay. Last year, this ratio of CEO-to-worker pay had widened to an astonishing 380 times. In 1980, CEOs of large U.S. companies made 42 times the average wages of workers.
• Mutual funds’ votes on executive pay. Mutual funds wield enormous clout on CEO pay issues in part because of the new “say-on-pay” requirement that shareholders cast an advisory vote on CEO pay. In this new section, investors can look up how their mutual funds voted and ask their mutual funds to vote against runaway CEO pay levels.
• The shady world of private equity, which Mitt Romney’s candidacy has brought to light.
All of the data available is searchable by industry, by state and by the top 100 highest-paid CEOs. See www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-the-99/ for more details.
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