Labor

San Diego Lifeguards Complain of Yet Another Rescue Delay Due to New Dispatch System

March 15, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Another life-saving incident occurred recently that San Diego lifeguards say shows that a new dispatch system installed by San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy is causing problems. The new system is confusing dispatchers and adding to response times for first-responders.

The new system has water-rescue calls routed to the firefighters and not to lifeguards, as had previously been the system.

Sgt. Ed Harris, head of the lifeguard union, said that over last weekend a small child had to be rescued from the Model Yacht Pond in Mission Bay Park.

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San Diego Lifeguards Want to Leave the Fire Department Because of New Dispatching Procedures

March 10, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City lifeguards and their union are seriously considering getting out from under the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The lifeguard union leader claims that recent changes in dispatching procedures initiated by the new fire chief, Brian Fennessy, now route all water-related 911 calls to the fire department instead of directly to lifeguards- who have historically made all water rescues.

This is leading to longer response times and a waste of resources, says Sgt Ed Harris of the lifeguard union.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the OB Rag, Harris wrote:

“We cannot afford to have the Fire Department divert our trainers, personnel and budget. … Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

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How San Diego’s Downtown Housing Supply Boom Is Making Rent Less Affordable

March 10, 2017 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine

Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces.

From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.

Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.

In terms of affordability, downtown is at a tipping point.

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Progressive Calendar for San Diego Activists, March 10 – 21, 2017

March 10, 2017 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Progressive ActivistWow. Here’s another calendar packed full of events for local activists. I’ve made some cosmetic changes this week, including icons to make events more recognizable.

So what will you do? Check out this week’s Progressive Calendar listings below. Following those listings are upcoming events of national importance, along with opportunities for organizational involvement and a few reading suggestions.

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Making It Easier to Build Won’t Generate Affordable Housing

March 3, 2017 by Source

Downtown San Diego’s Experience Has Given Us Lessons

Affordable

By Murtaza Baxamusa / Rooflines, the Shelterforce blog

It is often convenient to blame city planners for the affordable housing crisis. After all, those affected have no other public forum to vent their concerns, least of all toward those who are profiting off of the crisis on a project-by-project basis. Sadly, this blame is often misguided, because planners do not produce housing.

A case study of the profit-maximizing, decision-making that is driving the affordability crisis is downtown San Diego. Construction cranes are up all over, …

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Amazon Go: The End of Jobs?

March 3, 2017 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

AmazonAmazon Go is the latest job destroyer by virtue of the fact that it is a grocery store with no check-out lines.

High tech devices will monitor every item you put in your high tech grocery basket so you just load up and go. Your credit card will be charged the correct amount. It isn’t clear if a robot will bag your groceries or if you’ll do that yourself.

This feat of automation is only the harbinger of things to come. With artificial intelligence and robots, jobs will be automated out of existence except for a few software engineers who will design the various systems.

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New Emergency Procedures for San Diego Lifeguards Are a Waste of Precious Time and a Waste of Money

March 2, 2017 by Source

“Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

By Ed Harris

On December 15th, 2016 San Diego Lifeguard River Rescue team members were holding a deployment briefing prior to an imminent storm.

Fifteen minutes before they were to deploy, they were given a new standard operating procedure. The new SOP was part of an executive order mandated by the new Fire Chief.

There were several changes that have a negative operational effect on the Lifeguards as well as a negative budgetary effect for all of us.

A big change is that now San Diego Fire Dispatch will handle inland calls for water emergencies and that Firefighters will automatically dispatch multiple engines, trucks personnel and a helicopter to calls that have been successfully handled by a few Lifeguards for over 40 years.

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Ocean Beach Home Hosts Sanctuary House Teach-In

March 1, 2017 by Source

sanctuary

By Dianne Lane

A couple of activists hosted a Sanctuary House Party/Teach-in at their home in Ocean Beach on Saturday, February 25th.

The impetus for the event sprang from a “Teaching Positive Alternatives to Trump Teach-In” last month in Balboa Park.

The aim is to build a San Diego network of sanctuary homes in resistance to Trump’s fascism and to corporate capitalism.

Over the next few months, a series of neighborhood house parties throughout San Diego …

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OB Town Council Spotlights Unsung Heroes in Graffiti and Trash Wars

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Spotlights Unsung Heroes in Graffiti and Trash Wars

During Wednesday’s Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly meeting – Feb. 22nd -, the Council cast a spotlight on and honored some of the unsung heroes of OB’s graffiti and trash wars.

Representatives of two groups – OB Clean Streets Initiative and the OB Graffiti Task Force – were on hand to give updates and overviews of their efforts to clean up the village.

Greg Crowley of OB’s CSI told the gathered audience of some 70 people that his group’s motto is “Not talking spotless, just a little bit cleaner,” and how the group has organized 5 clean-ups in OB over the last year. They and the volunteers they organized collected over 600 pounds of trash – with the main items picked up being cigarette butts. One of the differences between CSI and other clean-up efforts, Greg said, was that his group goes into the alleys and away from the beaches to find their trash.

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Union Density in San Diego Is Below State Average

February 21, 2017 by Source

union
By Murtaza Baxamusa / San Diego Free Press

There were about 185 thousand union members in San Diego, based on surveys by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016. About 110 thousand of these workers are in the private sector. There are additionally 20 thousand workers covered by union contracts in the region. The continuing employment recovery in the last two years contributed to an increase in union membership.

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Inequality in America: Incomes Collapsing for Bottom 50% as Top 1% Soars

February 20, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

While most of us were busy watching the Trump administration and their crack team of “populist” millionaires light the world on fire, a new study released by Thomas Piketty, Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, and Emmanuel Saez underlined the fact that the steep costs of our historic level of economic inequality are being borne by those at the bottom of the economic system, particularly here in the United States.

As the Market Watch story on this new research outlined:

In the U.S., between 1978 and 2015, the income share of the bottom 50% fell to 12% from 20%. Total real income for that group fell 1% during that time period.

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ResistSD! Progressive Calendar for San Diego February 16-March 1, 2017

February 18, 2017 by Doug Porter

More than two dozen ways to get involved

Progressive CalendarBy Doug Porter

Congress will be taking a break next week to listen to their constituents, except for the 200 Republican members of the House of Representatives who refuse contact with the public.

By contrast, in the first two months of 2015, Republicans held 222 in-person events.

Donald Trump is already campaigning for 2020, and as was true with his last launch event, people are being paid to be there.

So what can you do? There’s plenty of local activism to support. Check out this week’s Progressive Calendar listings below. Following those listings are upcoming events of national importance.

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In this Post-Filner Era, the San Diego Democratic Party and the Labor Council Need to Do Better

February 13, 2017 by Source

An open letter to:

Jessica Hayes, (Chair, San Diego Democratic Party) and

Dale Kelly Bankhead (Secretary-Treasurer for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council),

from Sara Kent.

Resistance

Over the past two months, I have hoped for brave action from each of you. As women who hold positions of power in San Diego who should be stalwarts of fundamental Democratic ideals, instead of being proud of your leadership, I am gravely disappointed.

Not only for you, but for all of us.

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How Not to Be the Resistance: Local San Diego Democratic Party and Union Leaders Fail Early Test

February 6, 2017 by Jim Miller

Head of Democratic Party Bashes Unions … While American Federation of Teachers Joins Calls for Kasparian to Take Leave of Absence

By Jim Miller

Last week I dedicated my column to outlining how, despite the emergence of inspiring protests in the streets and amongst the progressive base, many key Democratic figures in Congress and in the national leadership of the building trades unions still didn’t seem to understand what time it was. Sadly, it only took a few more days to see a couple of stunning examples of how not to be the resistance right here in San Diego.

On January 26th, Jessica Hayes, the newly elected chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, took advantage of her presence at a forum hosted by the Democrats for Equality entitled “#The Resistance: Women Lead the Way” to attack not the dangerous plutocrats running the country, but a key element of the Democratic base: unions.

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One-Third of Working Age Families in San Diego Can’t Make Ends Meet

February 3, 2017 by Source

Latest data shows more than 1 million people living in families with incomes too low for expenses

Center on Policy Initiatives

A new report from the Center on Policy Initiatives finds that a third (33%) of all household in San Diego County have incomes below the level needed to cover basic living expenses.

Women and children are most impacted, largely because employed women throughout the county earn 74 cents for every $1 paid to men. Among households headed by single mothers, 69% have incomes below the bare-bones level known as the Self-Sufficiency Standard.

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Prominent Democrats and Community Activists Call on Labor Leader Kasparian to Stand Down

February 3, 2017 by Doug Porter

Three people holding signs protesting Mickey Kasparian

Gretchen Newsom and Lori Saldana Have Joined Calls for Kasparian to Be Placed on Admin Leave

By Doug Porter* / San Diego Free Press

Four years after the Bob Filner scandal, little has changed with the leadership culture in the centers of power on the left in San Diego–namely labor and the Democratic party.

The enablers and apologists for workplace sexual improprieties, gender discrimination, and retaliation continue to use the political clout and cash flow of their organizations as a shield, preventing them from answering for their behavior or learning from their mistakes.

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Feckless Democrats and Business Unionists Fail Early Trump Era Tests

January 30, 2017 by Jim Miller

Making Deals with the Devil

Feckless Democrats PoliticianBy Jim Miller

As inspiring as the big marches were last week, it didn’t take long for evidence to emerge that there are still plenty of folks in the Democratic party and elsewhere who just don’t get what time it is.

As I noted in a post I wrote on Martin Luther King Jr. day, it was dismaying to see prominent Democrats like Senator Cory Booker and twelve of his Big Pharma funded friends vote against Bernie Sanders’ effort to reduce prescription drug prices before the inauguration.

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Donna Frye and Irene McCormack Show Solidarity with Kasparian’s Accusers

January 27, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Kasparian's accusers

“Doing nothing is not an option for people of good conscience.”

By Brent E. Beltrán / San Diego Free Press

On a cold Wednesday evening in Kearny Mesa prominent San Diegans Donna Frye and Irene McCormack joined community members to show their solidarity with Sandy Naranjo, Isabel Vasquez and Anabel Arauz and call for the resignation of the President of UFCW Local 135 and San Diego and Imperial Labor Council, Mickey Kasparian.

Naranjo, Vasquez, and Arauz filed separate lawsuits against Kasparian accusing him of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and other misdeeds. Also named in all three complaints are the union itself and in Arauz’s filing, Richard Barerra, executive assistant of the local.

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Campaign Against Labor Leader for Sexual Harassment Charges Heats Up – Protest to Call for Mickey Kasparian’s Resignation – Wed., Jan. 25th

January 25, 2017 by Staff

The campaign against San Diego labor leader Mickey Kasparian is heating up, as a protest calling for his resignation as head of the local labor council is being held today, Wednesday, Jan. 25th at 6pm outside a labor delegates meeting.

Three women have filed gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuits against Kasparian, the president of UFCW Local 135, who also sits as the President of the Labor Council.

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Protests, Boycotts, Walk-Outs and Possible Impeachment Face Trump as his Inauguration Approaches

January 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

President-elect Trump faces a barrage of opposition as he gets set to be inaugurated this Friday, January 20th.

Protests, boycotts, school walk-outs and possible impeachment will engulf the least-popular president-elect in American history as he takes the oath of office.

Over a half-dozen national networks are mobilizing to protest the inauguration, while on the day after, on the 21st, a massive women-led march in Washington DC promises to be the largest protest that the Capitol has witnessed in years.

Students are organizing school walk-outs across the country.

And a boycott of the inauguration by Congressional representatives has now reached 52 Democratic lawmakers who have pledged to forego the event.

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A Dozen-Plus Opportunities in San Diego to Protest Trump’s Inauguration

January 14, 2017 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

San Diego gets it. Lots of us are unhappy with the incoming administration.

There are community gatherings. There are rallies. There are protest marches. There are teach-ins. There are press conferences. There is art. There are even dance parties.

People from all walks of life find are finding ways to express their displeasure with the incoming administration. Check out the calendar below for events over the next ten days or so. Events related to the inauguration include the Trump/NOPE graphic.

Americans don’t think much of the President-elect’s transition performance, according to a Gallup poll released this week. It’s historically bad with 51% of those surveyed disapproving, as opposed to 12% (Obama/2009), 25% (Bush/2001) and Clinton (18%/1993).

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City Attorney Targets High-End Restaurants in Ocean Beach and Point Loma for Adding Surcharges

January 12, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

We’ve been following the developing story of how the new San Diego City Attorney, Mara Elliott, is targeting high-end restaurants for adding illegal surcharges to customers’ bills – or misrepresenting the additions – all due to the January 1st increase in the minimum wage within the city.

A number of these restaurants are located in the Ocean Beach and Point Loma communities, as they are part of larger chains. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that –

“restaurant industry officials … estimated that about 30 local operators are adding surcharges of about 3 percent to bills in response to the minimum wage hike. They include … the Brigantine chain [and] Cohn Restaurant Group….”

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Big Questions Loom for Local San Diego Labor in 2017

January 10, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

2017 awaits us fierce as a tiger with major assaults looming on multiple fronts. As I have written here quite recently, it is not an overstatement to say that we face existential threats . With so many things to worry about in the near future, what should labor and progressives be focusing on in anticipation of the coming storm?

Let me start by saying that our first order of business should definitely not be whether you are with or against the imperiled San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council President.

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Councilman Alvarez: “I am disgusted by the allegations” About Sexual Harassment by Labor Leader

January 9, 2017 by Brent Beltran

sexual harassmentRespected Latinas Step Forward with Shocking Claims Against UFCW President Mickey Kasparian

By Brent E. Beltran /San Diego Free Press

On December 17, 2016 NBC 7 San Diego broke the news that former UFCW Local 135 organizer Sandy Naranjo had filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against UFCW President Mickey Kasparian.

A few days later on December 21 NBC 7 San Diego came out with another story on Kasparian. This time it was regarding allegations of sexual harassment filed by former employee Isabel Vasquez. Vasquez’s complaint was full of lurid details.

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Why Don’t OB and San Diego Restaurants Add ‘Free Market’ Surcharges to Customer Bills?

January 5, 2017 by Anna Daniels

High-end Ocean Beach and San Diego Restaurants Poised to Add Surcharge for “government mandated” Costs to Business

By Anna Daniels

Over the past ten years consumers have absorbed higher costs at the check-out counter for all manner of goods. Remember when gasoline costs spiked and affected more than gas at the pump?

Everything from the potted plants at the local nursery to grocery items reflected an attendant price increase. Remember when the cost of coffee went up? What about the shortage of cheese and how that was reflected in higher consumer costs?

These consumer cost increases reflect everything from volatility in the commodity market to shortages caused by natural disasters to price fixing. We weren’t handed restaurant checks or grocery bills with a surcharge added for “free market” or “act of god” or “corporate greed.”

So why are some San Diego restaurants considering a surcharge on bills to cover the most recent “government mandated” wage hike which raises the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour?

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San Diego City Council, Day One: New Faces, Old Politics

December 14, 2016 by Doug Porter

san-diego-city-council-chambersBy Doug Porter

Love rescue me, come forth and speak to me,” lyrics from a Bob Dylan/U2 song, echoed across Horton Plaza as current and newly-elected city officials, including the mayor, city council and city attorney, streamed into the Balboa Theater on Monday, Dec. 12th.

The Voices of Our City Choir, most of whom are homeless, were there serving as a reminder of the inhumane practices that are the end result of years of neglect, greed, and incompetence in local government.

Speakers at the People’s Inaugural, representing the voices of the dispossessed and downtrodden, called out for Emergency Humanitarian Action, urging the Mayor to suspend the ticketing, arrest of, and stay away orders for unsheltered homeless San Diegans.

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San Diego Labor Opposes Dakota Access Pipeline

December 12, 2016 by Jim Miller

nodapl02 DAPLBy Jim Miller

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the heroic struggle against it have ignited a big battle inside of American labor. Earlier this fall an excellent article in Common Dreams outlined the split over DAPL at the national level with key trades unions and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka backing the pipeline and criticizing the protests while other large national unions were issuing statements supporting the Standing Rock resistance.

Here in California and elsewhere, Trumka’s letter in support of the pipeline received strong condemnation.

For instance, a response to it that I penned as chair of the California Federation of Teachers Climate Justice Task Force challenges the AFL-CIO leader in the strongest possible terms:

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Will the Trump Presidency be an Extinction Level Event for Labor? We Better Hope Not

December 5, 2016 by Jim Miller

Unions vs Trump Presidency

By Jim Miller

Last week in the bluntly titled “Trump Presidency Could Kill Labor Unions,” distinguished journalist Harold Meyerson ponders the possibility that the 2016 Presidential election was “an extinction-level event for American labor.”

Noting the sad fact that a high percentage of union households (about 43 percent nationally) went for Trump, Meyerson wastes no time in outlining what the costs will be for working class folks in America:

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Justice Can’t Wait – Rally and March Downtown San Diego – Tues. Nov. 29th

November 28, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

justice-cant-wait-2-edjustice-cant-wait-1

The Nov.29th Justice Can’t Wait rally and march in downtown San Diego is on for Tuesday, November 29th, from 5 pm to 7:30pm.

From one of several facebook pages on the event, we find:

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass. Part 3

November 28, 2016 by Jim Miller

California LaborBy Jim Miller

It seems like a million years ago now, but back in my Labor Day column, I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:

California labor history doesn’t begin and end with union membership. Forming and maintaining unions is one part of a broader story, …

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