Selected Articles, September, 2013
Hundreds of building trades union members rallied at the jobsite of the new housing development in Redwood City being built by BRE. The developer has gained notoriety for using non-union contractors and construction crews and paying well below the area standard wages to build hundreds of units in Redwood City and around the Bay Area. Read More
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced August 8 that it is affiliating with the AFL-CIO. UFCW President Joe Hansen said, “We join the AFL-CIO because it is the right thing to do for UFCW members, giving them more power and influence. It is about fostering more opportunities for workers to have a true voice on the job. It is about joining forces to build a more united labor movement that can fight back against the corporate and political onslaught facing our members each and every day.” Read More
Candidates for local office heard from union members at a candidate orientation meeting organized by the San Mateo County Central Labor Council and Building and Construction Trades Council August 15 at the IBEW Local 617 union hall in San Mateo. Over 40 candidates for City Councils, School Boards and Special Districts attended. Read More
by Paul Burton
In the Labor paper’s office, a framed copy of the August 5, 1938 edition our predecessor, Volume I, Number I of the San Mateo County Union Gazette, proclaims in its first headline, “UNION SCALE BECOMES PREVAILING WAGE RATE.” This and other front-page stories from 1938 still resonate 75 years on. And the newspaper’s motto of that time. “That community thrives best when Labor prospers most,” certainly still has relevance today. Read More
by John Logan,
San Francisco State University
The sixty-day cooling off period in the BART dispute has resulted in a temporary break in contract negotiations—we don’t yet know at this writing when the parties will meet again—but it is less likely to end BART management’s relentless P.R. campaign against its own employees. If one believes BART management’s media campaign, the problem at the heart of the contract dispute is straightforward: its employees are overpaid, greedy, strike happy, inflexible, uneducated, and unworthy of middle-class wages and benefits. Read More
The Labor paper is celebrating 75 years as the voice of labor in San Mateo County; at its founding the country was eight years into the Great Depression. California was crowded with hungry, unemployed workers; economic and environmental refugees from the dust bowl states hoping to find relief from the stock market crash. The Great Depression of the 1930’s inflicted a great deal of pain and suffering on working people but it also provided a foundation we have built on locally. Read More
LABOR NEWS BRIEFS
Senate Confirms NLRB Nominees; Board at Full Strength
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is now fully staffed and able to continue to function to protect workers’ rights after the U.S. Senate confirmed five members July 31. The votes end a months-long blockade on President Obama’s nominees by Senate Republicans who threatened to shut the board down Aug. 27.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the confirmations are, “good news for all workers seeking to exercise the rights they are guaranteed by law. Those essential rights include the ability to bargain together for fair wages and living standards and a workplace safe from abuse, harassment and intimidation.”
The five members are current NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce; Nancy Schiffer, a former AFL-CIO associate general counsel; and NLRB attorney Kent Hirozawa, currently the chief counsel to Pearce; and attorneys Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, who represent management in labor-management relations.
Earlier in July, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was set to change Senate rules that would have eliminated filibusters against certain executive branch nominees, Republicans ended their obstruction tactics on the NLRB nominees, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and several others.
Trumka said the obstructionism by extremist Republicans “delayed the confirmation of a full Board and caused unnecessary anxiety and pain for working families.” Trumka said that with the vote to confirm the NLRB nominees, “our country has qualified public servants on duty to defend America’s workers, businesses and families. We congratulate all of the nominees and look forward to having a functioning NLRB that will fairly and impartially oversee the workplace rights of millions of Americans.”
- Mike Hall, www.aflcio.org/Blog
Selected Articles, July 2013
Former Obama Administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was introduced as the COPE Banquet keynote speaker by Labor Council president Lamoin Werlein-Jaen as “the peoples’ Secretary of Labor.” He said she had been a champion for labor and in particular had advocated strongly for the Hyatt Hotel workers. “She is living proof that good people can do good things in public office,” Werlein-Jaen said. Read More
The Transportation Security Administration on June 5 dropped a new policy change that would have allowed knives on planes for the first time since the 9/11 hijackings.Read More
Selected Articles, Mar.-June 2013
The all-union construction crew at the new 888 San Mateo Apartments project in San Mateo was recognized at a worker appreciation event May 16, hosted by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), in partnership with the San Mateo County Building Trades and Sares Regis Group of Northern California. The $69.9 million development that broke ground in June 2012 is funded by the BIT, which invests union pension funds in building projects around the country. Read More
Understanding the impacts of the federal Affordable Care Act on union health care plans was the subject of a training session on May 18 conducted by California Labor Federation Public Policy Coordinator Sara Flocks. “Obamacare”—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)—goes into full force and effect on January 1, 2014. Read More
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council passed a resolution May 13 supporting efforts of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) to prevent the re-introduction of knives on planes and pass HR 1093, the “No Knives Act of 2013.” The AFA resolution states that the Flight Attendants at 20 airlines strongly believe that potentially dangerous items like knives and club style sporting equipment should never be allowed in the cabin of an aircraft. Read More
State Senator Leland Yee made a surprise visit to the Labor Council delegates meeting May 13, where he announced that he had named Shelley Kessler as 2013 Woman of the Year for the 8th Senatorial District. Read More
Hundreds of workers descended on the Capitol April 16 as part of the California Labor Federation’s legislative conference lobby day with a simple message for both Democrats and Republicans in office: “End the Corporate Gravy Train.” They were referring to the state’s wasteful enterprise zone program, which takes money away from schools, infrastructure and other valuable services to line the pockets of corporate CEOs at Walmart and other large, profitable corporations. Read More
A delegation of union members from the San Mateo County Central Labor Council met with local staff of Congressmembers Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo last month to share concerns about the proposed immigration reform legislation. Read More
Over the past couple of months, lead stories on every media outlet across this nation have covered the “gloom and doom” angle of six-day postal delivery. But on Sunday, March 24, thousands of Letter Carriers, union members and allies came out to set the story straight on the real crisis that is facing the United States Postal Service. In San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno and San Francisco, rally participants let the communities they serve know that if the overzealous plan by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to eliminate Saturday mail delivery is allowed to happen, it would be one of the biggest mistakes our government would ever make.Read More
State Senator Jerry Hill unveiled his new legislation to fix the enterprise zone system at a press conference outside the old VWR facility in Brisbane March 26. The location held significant meaning for the laid-off workers in attendance, many of whom worked at that facility for several decades. Read More
The 68 employees of VWR in Visalia voted affirmatively February 14 to join Teamsters Local 948 in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. The election punctuates a very high profile and controversial move by the company from the Bay Area to Visalia and continues the Teamsters struggle with the company. 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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