Selected Articles, March 2014
Speier, Gordon, Mullin Discuss Income Inequality, Labor Issues
Income inequality was a major theme at a meeting with Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Assembly Members Rich Gordon and Kevin Mullin hosted by the San Mateo County Central Labor Council February 7. Read More
Bay Area Rallies Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Fair trade activists, workers, environmental activists and others rallied January 31 in San Francisco against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Activists marched from the federal building where House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has her office to the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein to mark their opposition to the Fast Track legislation which would circumvent ordinary Congressional review and speed up the approval of the TPP. Read More
Selected Articles, February 2014
First Phase of SFO Terminal 3 Project Completed
San Francisco International Airport officials led a tour of the airport’s newly renovated Terminal 3 Boarding Area E January 17 for San Mateo County labor leaders and union members. The new T3 Boarding Area was built with union labor under a Project Labor Agreement. Union general contractor Hensel Phillips began work on the $138 million project in 2012 and completed work in December 2013. Read More
Dave Pine Elected as President of County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Dave Pine was elected president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors during the Board’s first meeting of 2014. Pine was elected in May 2011 to represent District 1, which includes Burlingame, Hillsborough, parts of San Bruno and South San Francisco and the unincorporated San Mateo Highlands and Burlingame Hills neighborhoods. He made a brief speech at his swearing-in as Board president in which he called for “more risk taking, innovation and efficiency in 2014.” Read More
Stemming Income Inequality Hinges on Investing in California’s Middle Class
There’s a new narrative emerging from right-wingers like Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio on the growing problem of income inequality. Rubio and California Republicans like Assemblymember Dan Logue are blaming inequality on taxes on the wealthy and government regulations that protect workers and the environment. Problem is, this new narrative is pure fantasy. Read More
Selected Articles, January 2014
Unions Reach Deal with BART
The Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s largest unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, announced December 21 that a tentative agreement had been reached with BART Management’s negotiators on a disputed contract provision on paid family medical leave. Read More
U.S. Postal Service Can Survive with Your Support!
“Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” This familiar creed has illustrated how our nation has trustworthily received its mail delivery service since 1775. Now what Mother Nature has been unable to hinder for over 200 years, some members of the United States Senate are trying their best to dismantle through deeply flawed legislation. Read More
Another Missed TPP Deadline Calls Pact’s Agenda into Question
As negotiators for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) missed yet another deadline for completing the pact in Singapore December 10, labor, environmental, consumer and Congressional leaders held a media briefing that called the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) agenda for the pact into question. Pointing to the TPP’s significant threats to jobs, the environment and consumer safety, they called for release of TPP texts and voiced strong opposition to “Fast Track” authority for the pact. Read More
Northern California Court Interpreters Reach Deal with Courts
The California Federation of Interpreters Region 2 announced December 9 that the union, which represents courtroom interpreters in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, had reached an agreement with the courts that calls for raises and the ability to bargain over the impact of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). Read More
Selected Articles, December, 2013
The Fight Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Heats Up
Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has increased over the past few months as some of the language in the proposed trade treaty has been made public and many members of Congress have expressed opposition to Fast Tracking the deal. The AFL-CIO also called for a “New Approach to Trade and Globalization” in a Resolution at its convention in September. 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 November 5. Over 200 volunteers made phone calls, walked precincts, and talked to fellow union members to urge votes for labor-endorsed candidates and measures. Read More
Union Members Meet with State Senator Jerry Hill
State Senator Jerry Hill met with representatives of several unions November 20 at the Plumbers Local 467 union hall in Burlingame. Sen. Hill talked about his work on Enterprize Zone reform and his support for labor-backed legislation. Union members discussed concerns about the use of non-union workers by contractors on trade shows at the San Mateo County Events Center, ensuring that building trades union members are employed on construction projects in San Mateo County, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the attacks on public sector workers’ pensions, and education funding.
State Senator Jerry Hill met with representatives of several unions November 20 at the Plumbers Local 467 union hall in Burlingame.
Workers’ Combined Pennies Fight Billionaires’ Efforts to Silence Workers
Through all my years as an Ironworker, I made regular contributions to our political action committee. My contribution was at first three, and then five cents per hour. I contributed those pennies every hour of every day that I worked to support our cause. So did my brothers and sisters in our trade, and all the workers in all the Building Trades affiliates. Working in unity, all of us combined our pennies together for a common purpose, into enough dollars to fight effectively for a decent quality of life for workers. That is who we are. That is how we do things. Read More
Selected Articles, October-November, 2013
Stationary Engineers Local 39 On Strike at Sequoia Hospital
Members of the Stationary Engineers Local 39 rallied at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City October 17 to call on Dignity Health to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair and equitable agreement. Local 39 members went on strike October 1 at Dignity Health’s four hospitals—Sequoia Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, and Dominican Hospital—after rejecting the company’s last, best, and final offer. Read More
BART Unions End Unfair Labor Practice Strike
After more than five months of contentious negotiations, BART’s largest unions reached a tentative agreement with the transit agency October 21 and announced the end to a four-day unfair labor practice strike. SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555 issued statements after the tentative agreement was reached. Read More
SJ Mayor Teams Up With Enron Billionaire to Gut Californians’ Retirement
It’s official. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a career politician with backing from a Texas billionaire and former Enron trader, has filed a ballot measure to strip away retirement security from current teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and other public servants. Read More
Unions Seek Community Benefits in South City Plan
Dozens of union members from the Building Trades and public sector unions participated in a public workshop on South San Francisco’s Downtown Station Area Plan (Downtown SAP) September 17. The community meeting featured presentations from city leadership, staff and the Citizens Advisory Group on the city’s plans to develop the downtown area, and interactive workshops on the specifics of the plan. About one quarter of the participants were union members, most either residents of South SF or city employees. Read More
AFL-CIO Calls for Broad, Inclusive Labor Movement & Assisting All Workers to Organize
In a culmination of months of listening sessions and reflection, the AFL-CIO announced September 9 that any U.S. worker can join the labor movement and that the labor federation will develop several new pathways for workers to join the labor movement, either through affiliate unions, AFL-CIO’s community affiliate Working America, worker centers or as students. In addition to opening the labor movement to all and the commitment to building enduring community labor partnerships, the AFL-CIO passed two other important resolutions in the Monday morning session at its quadrennial convention in Los Angeles. Read More
Legislature Passes Historic Minimum Wage Increase
California made history last month. With the support of California’s unions, the Legislature voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour, the highest minimum wage in the country. The wage will be implemented in two steps: an increase to $9 per hour in July of next year, followed by another one-dollar increase to $10 in January of 2016. Read More
CA Legislative Session Delivers Big Gains for Workers
Big things are happening in California. The end of the California legislative session brought huge gains to workers and their families that boost our state’s economy and bolster the middle class. 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.
LABOR NEWS BRIEFS:
Nurses Premiere ‘A Nightmare on Wall Street’ Video
The National Nurses United has produced a dramatic short video, “A Nightmare on Wall Street,” to renew the push for a tax on Wall Street speculation to raise critically needed funds to heal America. The video, depicting a Wall Street executive’s imagined encounter with those who lost jobs, homes, businesses, educational opportunity and retirement accounts as a result of Wall Street’s misdeeds and “too-big-to-fail” government policies can be viewed on YouTube as well as www.ProtestInTheUSA.org. The nurses have been calling for a tax on Wall Street speculative trading as a starting point in generating revenue for distressed communities. Nurses have observed throughout the year that enduring economic hardship is doing serious harm to their patients and communities. A financial transaction tax could raise as much as $350 billion a year in the U.S.
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