Labor

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

November 17, 2014 by Jim Miller

IMG_0767By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

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A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

October 14, 2014 by Doug Porter

Carol Kim at the DoorBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Meet Carol Kim. She lived in District 6 before deciding to run for City Council. Her idea of campaigning is spending 40 hours a week going door-to-door, meeting potential constituents. She’s the mother of two children; a professional whose work evaluating results for agencies could easily translate into public service as a watchdog for the public interest.

The race for city council in District 6 is an important contest for Democrats. A win by Kim gives the party an effective counterweight to the Chamber of Commerce alliance seeking domination over San Diego. The district’s voters are almost evenly divided between Democrats (33.6 percent), Republicans (31.7 percent) and Decline to State voters (29.5 percent).

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Last Weekend: All Quiet on the Western (beach) Front

October 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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We had genuine concerns last weekend about what was going to come down at the beach.

We thought, maybe – just maybe – that due to the heat, droves of people would be heading to San Diego’s beaches – including OB, of course. And that due to the seasonal lay-offs of over 200 lifeguards on Labor Day, there would not be sufficient rescue first responders for hapless swimmers or surfers caught up in dangerous rips at the beaches.

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San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

September 29, 2014 by Jim Miller

cityworks

November 1st Deadline Approaching

By Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is still accepting submissions for Sunshine/Noir II until November 1st. In particular we are looking for creative non-fiction pieces about underrepresented communities in San Diego and generally uncovered topics with regard to life in our region. We are also looking for good fiction, poetry, and artwork that runs against the grain of San Diego’s official story.

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Councilman Ed Harris: “Why I voted to increase the minimum wage in San Diego.”

September 11, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Councilman Ed Harris: “Why I voted to increase the minimum wage in San Diego.”

By Ed Harris

Last weekend I was outside the Trader Joe’s at Liberty Station where I met Pete.

Pete is from Los Angeles and came down to San Diego to obtain signatures opposing the minimum-wage ordinance. I listened to him talking to a woman about the ordinance, and since Pete wasn’t completely forthcoming with his information, I felt compelled to intervene.

I introduced myself as one of the San Diego City Councilmembers who voted in favor of the ordinance. I then asked the woman if she knew what she was signing. “Not really,” she said. When I asked Pete why he was gathering signatures, he told me, “Hey, I’m just trying to make a living.” (People collecting signatures make between $5 and $7 per signature.)

I supported an increase in the minimum wage because an additional $1.50 over three years is a fair compromise. That pencils out to $12 a day more for minimum wage workers. …

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Todd Gloria: “Living the Wage is Indeed a Challenge in San Diego”

September 10, 2014 by Source

Live the WageBy Todd Gloria / President, San Diego City Council

My morning ritual on most days is to buy a cup of my favorite coffee in Hillcrest. This week I did not do that. I couldn’t because I was trying to live on the minimum wage. After paying for housing and taxes, I had $51 left to spend on all my expenses including food and transportation. This meant carefully considering how to spend every penny, and I couldn’t afford my morning coffee.

My reduced consumption wasn’t limited to coffee. I knew this challenge would require a drastic reduction in what I was able to contribute to the local economy. I didn’t eat out this week. I didn’t dry clean my clothes. I skipped washing my car. The businesses that I did patronize saw far less of my money than they would in an average week.

As I struggled to live on $51 for one week, …

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News From the Sands of September at the Beach

September 8, 2014 by Source
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* Councilman Ed Harris and Nathan Fletcher Urge Veterans Not to Sign Petition Against Minimum Wage

* CHP Goes After SeaWorld “Sucks” Guy on Charges of Vandalism and Trespass

* Planners tackle concerns, nuances of Veterans’ Plaza rock-wall design

* More About the Parrots and About the Parrot Shot in OB

* City’s plan to uproot illegal pot shops is a slow, arduous process

* Rock in peace? Fat chancePoint Loma man says city’s noise ordinance is unconstitutional

* Former Point Loma Man Arrested in Hawaii on 7-Year Old Murder Case of Wife

* Coast Guard Rescues 5 People and One Boat Off Point Loma

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Bernie Sanders: “I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight”

September 8, 2014 by Source

Bernie Sanders

US Senator from Vermont is touring the country to capture the pulse of populist sentiment and to see whether or not hunger exists for a real ‘political revolution’

By Jon Queally / CommonDreams

The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has a hunch about the American electorate, but he says the only way to be sure is to go out and meet them.

It’s called the ‘Fight For Economic Justice Tour,’ but it’s really what the self-identified Social Democrat described earlier this year as his attempt to travel the country in order to gauge the country’s hunger for a grassroots ‘political revolution‘—couched in a possible presidential bid—to challenge the economic inequality and corporate malfeasance that have severely wounded the nation’s democracy and are strangling its promise of shared prosperity.

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The Fishiness of Mayor Kevin’s Tax Giveaway to Illumina Corporation

September 4, 2014 by Source

salmon-dnaBy John Lawrence

San Diego’s Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently signed a deal with Illumina Corporation that was supposedly designed to keep the corporation from jumping ship and landing in another state or jurisdiction.

The City of San Diego agreed to rebate $1.5 million in sales and use taxes. In return Illumina promised to keep a number of jobs in San Diego for the term of the agreement. But the deal the City has entered into with Illumina is fishy on several levels.

With revenue of just over $1 billion last year, Illumina sells machines that sequence the human genome. The company leases 6 buildings in San Diego totaling over 560,000 sq. ft. and currently has 1500 employees.

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Fast Food Workers Set for Protest in San Diego and Across Nation on September 4th

September 3, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

San Diego is one of 100-plus cities targeted this Thursday as part of a nationwide protest of fast food restaurant workers aimed at low wages and working conditions.

Two new elements will be introduced into this latest round of protests, at least on a national level: acts of civil disobedience and a supportive presence by thousands of home-care workers joining the protests.

Workers are expected to strike at a dozen San Diego fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Jack in the Box. Clergy, elected officials and community supporters will join fast-food workers on the strike lines, according to local organizers.

The Interfaith Center for Worker Justice of San Diego County has emailed supporters inviting them to “pray with our feet” beside Fast Food Workers on Thursday morning. The communique from the social justice advocacy group says they expect up to 500 supporters.

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San Diego’s Minimum Wage: Which Side Are You On?

September 3, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Wanted: A Living Wage – Video by Pete Segeer

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

RaiseTheMinimumWageA

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

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Unions and the Future of American Democracy

September 2, 2014 by Jim Miller

labor movementBy Jim Miller

Over the last year, the subject of economic inequality has been in the news quite a bit with the release of Robert Reich’s spectacular documentary Inequality for All and economist Thomas Piketty’s seminal work, Capital in the Twentieth Century. The picture they paint is a grim one and new bad numbers just keep rolling in.

For instance, a few weeks ago a Russell Sage Foundation study revealed that the wealth of the typical American household has dropped nearly 20 percent since 1984 and yet another study notes that private sector wages measured in real terms have dipped 16.2 percent since their 1972 high point. In the wake of that news, another US Census Bureau report came out showing that middle class household wealth fell by 35 percent between 2005 and 2011.

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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
Thumbnail image for Latest Plan to Privatize Post Office Hits Unexpected Obstacle

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

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

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

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

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

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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