Labor

A Battle Over Increasing the Minimum Wage in San Diego

August 19, 2014 by Doug Porter
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Don’t Sign It! Don’t Sign the Petition to Overturn San Diegos’ Minimum Wage – see below

Editor: The following is Doug Porter’s article posted today on DailyKos about the fight over our city’s minimum wage law. Much of it is a repeat of material Doug has used in his Daily Column at our sister online media partner, San Diego Free Press. (“douigbob” is Porter’s online handle at that site.)

by dougbob /DailyKos / Aug 19, 2014

A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.

Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.

This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.

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Latest Plan to Privatize Post Office Hits Unexpected Obstacle

August 18, 2014 by Source
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By David Morris / On the Commons / Nation of Change

Labor solidarity is stopping the U.S. Postal Service’s pursuit of a fully privatized post office. Could this be a game-changing obstacle?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) management just ran into a possible game-changing obstacle to its shameful pursuit of a fully privatized post office: labor solidarity.

Here’s the background. For a decade the USPS has been aggressively shrinking, consolidating, and outsourcing the nation’s postal system. In July 2011 management upped the ante by announcing the rapid closure of 3600 local post offices, a step toward the eventual closing of as many as 15,000, half of all post offices in the nation.

A groundswell of opposition erupted. Citizens in hundreds of towns mobilized to save a treasured institution that plays a key and sometimes defining role in their communities. In December 2011, after Congress appeared ready to impose a six-month moratorium on closures USPS management voluntarily adopted a freeze of the same length.

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San Diego’s Minimum Wage Battle Heats Up With Arrival of Sleaze of Political Consultant Hired to Defeat Ordinance

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: Doug Porter over at our online partner, San Diego Free Press, has hit the nail on the ol’ proverbial head with today’s column on the battle heating up over San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance.

The anti-minimum wage forces, boosted by Mayor Faulconer’s veto of the ordinance last week, plan on running a petition to overturn the anticipated City Council over-ride of Faulconer’s veto.

Today, Porter focuses on the political consultant hired to run the petition drive, and gives needed context and background to the whole battle – which is being fought nation-wide.

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

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Who Runs San Diego? Papa Doug the Kingmaker

August 14, 2014 by Source

Who Runs San Diego? A Project of the Democratic Women's ClubBy Eva Posner / Democratic Woman’s Club

Last week we provided an overview of Doug Manchester, the U-T, and the influence this combination has on the electorate of San Diego County.

This week, the goal is to delve a bit deeper, using a recent issue to illustrate the intensity of collusion with the publisher of the region’s largest paper and other powers that be.

From Voice of San Diego:

“It was Saturday, Aug. 31. No Republican had announced his or her intention to run to replace Mayor Bob Filner, whose term in office ended quietly the night before.

“A group of about 30 of the city’s most influential conservatives and right-of-center business representatives assembled at developer Tom Sudberry’s La Jolla estate.”

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Bill Walton and Irwin Jacobs Urge San Diegans NOT to Sign Petitions to Overturn Minimum Wage Ordinance

August 14, 2014 by Source
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Decline to Sign

Following is the Press Release from Raise Up San Diego, distributed at at 8am press conference this morning:
Basketball great Bill Walton appeared with hard working San Diegans and local business, community and political leaders on Thursday to kick-off a campaign to urge city voters not to sign petitions seeking a referendum on the city’s new minimum wage and earned sick leave ordinance.

“We stand for a San Diego in which hard-working people aren’t locked in poverty and in which they can earn a few days off a year for when they get sick or need to care for an ill child or other loved one,” Walton said. “We know the vast majority of San Diegans feel the same way, and we urge them to say no to the signature gatherers.”

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What Could Have Been If Mayor Faulconer Had Signed the Minimum Wage Law

August 12, 2014 by Source
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By Lucas O’Connor / San Diego Free Press

On Friday, August 8, Kevin Faulconer made his position official and vetoed the City Council’s increase of the city’s minimum wage. We know Faulconer has long been fundamentally opposed to wage protections that strive to keep people out of poverty, likewise the big-money orgs who paid the way for his campaign. So while the move is hardly a surprise, it’s nevertheless bizarre.

The good folks who worked on Faulconer’s mayoral campaign have been remarkably open about their core strategy of manufacturing an image of Faulconer as a moderate in order to win. Since taking office, that approach has generally continued. This stripped-down compromise on minimum wage could have been the last step in that process, and everyone could have gone to happy hour 20 months early. But here we are. Why?

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Kevin Faulconer’s War on the Poor

August 11, 2014 by Jim Miller

war on the poor2By Jim Miller

Despite the fact that 63% of San Diegans support raising the wage, Mayor Faulconer vetoed San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance, definitively proving that he is more loyal to local plutocrats than to the people of the city, particularly those who work hard for very little.

Yes, with a stroke of the pen, Kevin Faulconer denied a raise to 172,000 people and took away earned sick days for even more local workers, a move that disproportionately affects women and people of color. Just as one could begin to feel good about the fact that our city did the right thing and stood up for those of our friends and neighbors who are most in need of a hand up, Mayor Faulconer struck them down.

When it was time to love his neighbors, he slammed the door in their faces. Rather than living with a more than reasonable compromise that will help rather than harm the local economy, he chose to declare war on the poor instead.

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Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

August 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been in office now just a little over one hundred days. And if this start to his administration is an indicator, the remainder of his term as mayor may be cause for some very rough going for San Diego environmentalists and minimum-wage supporters.

Faulconer’s actions – or, rather, inactions, around environmental policies have made eco-advocates furious. (More on that below.)

To the more immediate news, today, Friday, the 8th day of August, Faulconer formally vetoed the minimum-wage and sick-day ordinance passed by the City Council on July 28th. The measure would if enacted increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017, plus it provided access to five earned sick days.

The Council, with a 6 to 3 current ratio of Dems to Repubs, is expected to over-ride the Mayor’s veto, and the measure will become law. But then, in turn, this is expected to set the stage for an extremely divisive referendum effort by businesses and the Chamber of Commerce seeking to overturn the ordinance – which will be placed on hold until the referendum issue is settled.

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Is CVS Breaking Promises to OB Before Doors Have Even Opened?

August 5, 2014 by Source
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Union to Flier Community Over CVS’s “Broken Promises” on Wed., August 6th

By Micah Mitrosky

CVS is coming to Ocean Beach. In doing so, they promised OB they would be good community partners. In fact, CVS agreed to a Community Benefits Package that included the following promise:

“CVS will provide 20-30 new highquality jobs to the community including strong training, pay, and benefit packages…CVS has the highest rated job satisfaction in its industry and will contribute these beneficial jobs to the Ocean Beach community by prioritizing qualified candidates from within the community in its hiring process.”

Now, with retrofits underway at their new OB location, CVS is quietly breaking their promise to the OB Community before the doors have even opened.

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Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

July 28, 2014 by Source

history-labor-unionsBy Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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After the Minimum Wage Win: the Battle Continues

July 21, 2014 by Jim Miller

Closeup of business people standingBy Jim Miller

San Diego’s progressive community got a well deserved shout-out last week in the national media with The Nation praising the good work of our city’s “expanding progressive base.”

More specifically, the article noted that the local movement to raise the minimum wage was comprised of many of the same folks who formed the community-labor alliance behind the David Alvarez mayoral campaign:

That coalition, Raise Up San Diego, includes the Center for Policy Initiatives as well as labor unions, immigrant rights groups and service providers.

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San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

July 18, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Business interests opposed to raising the minimum wage in San Diego haven’t given up, despite a 6-3 city council vote on Monday, July 14, approving an ordinance boosting wages for an estimated 172,000 workers.

On Tuesday they launched a major public relations campaign seeking to portray the council vote as undemocratic and unfair to their interests. In closed door meetings led by Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, so-called business leaders are considering the logistics of mounting a signature gathering campaign to place an initiative on the ballot seeking to overturn the minimum wage increase.

Although meeting the August 8th deadline for inclusion on the November 2014 ballot is unlikely, a successful campaign completed …

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San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

July 15, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton …

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What Kind of City Is San Diego? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

July 14, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

raise min wageThe San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers.

Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 …

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What the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn Decision Means for Workers and American Democracy

July 7, 2014 by Jim Miller

David Sachs/SEIU via Equal Times

By Jim Miller

After last week’s slew of bad Supreme Court rulings much of the media attention rightfully went to the horrendous “Hobby Lobby” case where the rights of corporations were deemed more important than the rights of women.

But there was another big decision where the Supreme Court surprised some observers and ruled narrowly on Harris v. Quinn, the case which could have gutted public sector unions and virtually wiped out their ability to play in American politics by ending all public sector unions’ ability to collect agency fees. As the Daily Kos noted of the case:

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What’s Wrong with the Recent Court Decision for Teachers

June 16, 2014 by Jim Miller

BlueRobot / Foter / Creative Commons AttributionBy Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew

Last week’s decision in the Vergara v. the State of California lawsuit that undermined tenure and seniority rights was a profound slap in the face to teachers who have committed their careers to improving the lives of our children. It was yet another significant victory for those who are seeking to impose corporate education reforms by pitting teachers against children in a cynical, destructive, and utterly counterproductive fashion.

As tenured professors in the community college system, union members, and parents of a child in California’s public school system, we have a unique perspective on this matter. …

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It’s Time to Stand Up for Increasing the Minimum Wage, San Diego!

June 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
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San Diegans Are Urged to Attend Council Committee Hearing Today – June 11th

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to exist in this country.”~ President Franklin D Roosevelt

By Doug Porter

It’s been the season of (talking about) minimum wage increases. Now it’s time to take action.

On Wednesday the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee will be discussing a proposal supported by Council President Todd Gloria. If the committee approves it will go to the full City Council. Then Council members will then decide whether to approve the wage hike or send it to the ballot for a public vote.

Local supporters of Gloria’s measure, led by Raise Up San Diego are calling for people to attend the committee hearing, slated for the 12th floor at city hall, Wednesday, June 11th from 9am til Noon.

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Junco’s Jabs: Beware of Big Business Wolves

May 23, 2014 by Source

juncocanche02

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San Diego Fast-Food Employees Strike for Higher Pay and Better Rights On May 15

May 15, 2014 by Staff

San Diego joins 150-city strike as worker campaign spreads across the globe to three dozen countries and six continents

fightfor 15By Staff

The fast food industry is an issue that isn’t going away. Front line fast food workers in San Diego are living in poverty while working in a $200 billion industry. San Diego workers are calling for $15 an hour wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Employees from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger-King will be joined by the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice board members and community supporters on Thursday May 15.

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San Diego Goddam! The June 3rd Election And Why You Should Care

May 8, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

I borrowed the first part of this headline from one of my favorite songs by Nina Simone, who sang about a certain southern hellhole of a state of mind as her response to the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi; and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four black children back in 1964. The song speaks to the level of angst and frustration I’m starting to feel about the upcoming election.

Bad things are more likely to happen and good things probably won’t happen if you and your friends pass on your obligation as citizens to vote come June 3rd. Starting today and in the coming weeks we’ll be talking about those possibilities, so you need to (please!) pay attention.

Fast forward 50 years from Ms. Simone’s lament and there are 8 million eligible but unregistered voters in California. Of the 17.7 million voters that are registered to vote in the Golden State, only about one third will bother to cast ballots in the upcoming June 3rd elections. That works out to 14% of the total population deciding how things will be for next few years.

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Remember the Folks Who Brought You the 8-Hour Day?

May 5, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

8hours1Last week, May Day came and went and, while there was a small march downtown, most people barely noticed. Indeed most Americans don’t know much about May Day and if they do, they associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union.

The truth of the matter is, however, that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day.

As historian Jacob Remes reminds us:

The demand for an eight-hour day was about leisure, self-improvement and freedom, but it was also about power. When Eight Hour Leagues agitated for legislation requiring short hours, they were demanding what had never before happened: that the government regulate industry for the advantage of workers.

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Who’s Funding the Competing Minimum Wage Initiative in San Diego?

May 1, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Seriously. We need to know. UT-San Diego and KPBS have run stories about an initiative in the works proposing an increase in the minimum wage that’s less than the one currently under consideration by the City Council. In fact, the “increase” it purports to offer wouldn’t affect 93% of businesses small and large in the city via loopholes large enough to drive a truck through.

It takes serious money and/or a large grass roots organization to collect signatures for a ballot initiative. Essentially you’ve got to get 100,000 people to sign a petition in the hope that 68,000 or so will be recognized as valid. The shipbuilders association spent somewhere south of a half million dollars to get their measure killing the Barrio Logan Community Plan on upcoming the June ballot. The 2012 Proposition B Pension Reform backers spent over a million bucks.

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Raise Up San Diego – Do the Right Thing About the Minimum Wage

April 28, 2014 by Jim Miller

raiseuplogoBy Jim Miller

These are still tough times for most working people in the United States. We are in the midst of a new Gilded Age of historic economic inequality. The rich are carving out a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of nearly everyone else in America. As I noted in my column last week, corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years and employee compensation is at the lowest level it has been in 65 years.

And this is happening despite the fact that the average American worker is more educated and more productive than ever before. The result of all this is a declining middle class, economic instability, and the hijacking of our democracy by moneyed interests.

Here in San Diego, we have one of the highest costs of living in the United States, ….

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Reverse Robin Hood Funding Threatens San Diego

April 22, 2014 by Source
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By Laura Barrett / Huffington Post / April 21, 2014

San Diego’s sunny beaches and beautiful college campuses can be deceptive. The city’s soaring housing costs force university students and low-income families to sleep on couches and to depend on free meals. Many, too, end up living out of cars. The waiting list for Section 8 housing is 10 years long, and as a result, families are being forced to move out of state.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a renter in San Diego’s Metropolitan Statistical Area would need to earn $26.58 an hour to afford a fair market two bedroom apartment, yet, the average renter’s wage is just $17.28. Despite this, the City of San Diego is trying to take away federal money that provides a source of relief.

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Book Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All

April 21, 2014 by Source

chavezbookMiriam Pawel offers the most comprehensive look at Chavez and his movement in her new book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez.

By Mark R. Day / Labor Notes

“Cesar was not a humble man,” narrator Luis Valdez says at the conclusion of the new documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast,” about the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. “Nor was he a simple man.”

Indeed, Chavez was a controversial and complex figure. That’s the problem with Diego Luna’s feature film “Cesar Chavez,” whose release coincided with the charismatic leader’s March 31 birthday.

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OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

April 11, 2014 by Source
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From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

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Democrats’ Revenge: San Diego City Council Appointment of Ed Harris Tilts Council Left

April 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Appointment of Democrat Is Complicated even with “Super-majority”

The Democrats on the San Diego City Council took revenge on their Republican colleagues yesterday by appointing another Democrat to the Council. As of 5pm Monday, April 7, there are now 6 Democrats to the 3 Republicans on the Council after they choose Ed Harris, a lifeguard and union head – and Democrat, to take the seat to represent District 2.

This retaliatory measure was, in no small part, revenge for the defeat of the Democratic candidate in the last mayor’s election, where David Alvarez lost to Republican Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer vacated his seat for the 2nd District when he stepped up to the mayor’s floor of City Hall.

With a 6 to 3 tilt, the City Council now leans left, …

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UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

April 4, 2014 by Source

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares in protest against unfair labor practices while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end today Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons.

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A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

April 3, 2014 by Source
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By Byron Morton

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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UCSD Grad Students Protest Controversial Employment Policy

April 3, 2014 by Source

UCSD grad students protesting.Doctoral students rally against the 18 Quarter Limit

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — Students at the University of California, San Diego stormed the Office of Graduate Studies Tuesday, April 1, to protest a controversial employment policy implemented across the University of California.

The “18 Quarter Limit” restricts doctoral students by only allotting them 18 quarters to be teaching assistants, readers, or graduate student researchers. Such positions, if secured, reduce a graduate student’s tuition from roughly $5,200 a quarter to a mere $196. The action came on the eve of the two-day strike that will be held April 2nd and 3rd at UCSD.

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