Labor

San Diego Grocery Workers Vote to Authorize Union to Strike

June 27, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Grocery workers throughout San Diego County have voted to authorize their union to call a strike if negotiations with supermarket chains stall. They were joined in the call by thousands of their fellow workers across Southern California in voting overwhelmingly to give the okay to the leaderships of their union, the United Food and Commercial Workers.

97 per cent of grocery workers in San Diego County voted to approve a strike.

There is no strike yet. But it definitely could happen if the major chains fail to negotiate a new contract successfully with the unions who represent the people who run the stores.

Which major stores are we talking about? Ralph’s, Albertsons and Vons – and Pavilions (an upscale version of Vons). Alone, Albertsons has over a 1,000 stores across North America. This would include no doubt the Vons on Midway Drive.

What is the status of the negotiations? They’re on hold as of right now after weeks of being stalled, but are scheduled to begin again July 10 and go on for several days.

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Grocery Strike in San Diego?

June 12, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Whether there is a grocery strike in San Diego – and other parts of Southern California – could very well be decided on June 24 when union members from 7 different locals vote on whether to authorize a strike or not. If there is a strike, it would be against 3 major grocery chains, Albertsons, Albertsons-owned Vons, and Kroger-owned Ralphs.

The San Diego local, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, will vote at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley, near Local 135 offices. If a strike is authorized by the membership, a strike could be called at any time by the leadership.

The other UFCW locals involved in the contract negotiations are Local 8, based in Bakersfield; Local 324 of Buena Park, Local 770, based in Los Angeles; Local 1167 of Bloomington; Local 1428 of Claremont; and Local 1442 of Inglewood.

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May Day in San Diego: Remember the Folks Who Brought You the 8-Hour Day

April 29, 2019 by Jim Miller

May Day March Kickoff:
Wednesday, May 1st at 3:30pm
at Thomas Jefferson School of Law
701 B St. San Diego, CA. 92101
Rally: 5:00pm at Sempra Energy
488 Eighth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
After Rally, March Continues to Barrio Logan

By Jim Miller

The majority of Americans don’t know much about May Day or they simply associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union. For the most part, it’s lost down the memory hole. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover a whole forgotten history of American workers and their struggle for basic dignity and rights in the workplace and in society.

The truth of the matter is 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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Labor and Progressives Mix It Up at Summit 2019

April 17, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / April 15, 2019

Advocates for a progressive policies and organized labor gathered in San Diego this past weekend at the Doubletree Hilton in Mission Valley. Hundreds of union members mingled with local political activists for a day of speeches, strategizing, and solidarity at the third annual Progressive Labor Summit.

The assembly of one of the most powerful forces in local electoral politics and the driver of significant social change featured nationally and locally prominent speakers. And, despite, an active public relations campaign, this column will likely be the only coverage of the event.

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3rd Annual Progressive Labor Summit 2019 in San Diego, Saturday April 13th

April 8, 2019 by Jim Miller

All Day Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Mission Valley at 7450 Hazard Center Drive from 9:00 AM until 5:30 PM.

Want a great crash course in local, statewide, and national progressive issues and politics? Then you won’t want to miss the third annual Progressive Labor Summit this Saturday, April 13th in Mission Valley. This one-day event will feature a wide range of speakers and breakout sessions on labor, the environment, immigration, housing, transit, education, local politics, organizing, and much more.

Some of day’s highlights include: the first San Diego mayoral forum with Todd Gloria, Tasha Williamson, and Barbara Bry; a discussion with leaders from the unions whose recent strikes woke up the country—the United Teachers Los Angeles and the Oakland Education Association

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Hey, American Labor! Listen to the Next Generation on the Green New Deal

March 18, 2019 by Jim Miller

 

Labor Needs to Listen to the Next Generation and Help Craft a Green New Deal with Strong Labor Provisions

By Jim Miller

Young people across the world are making sure their voices are heard. I was proud of my son, his friends, and their classmates last week when they walked out of San Diego High School to participate in the Global Climate Strike during which over a million students worldwide in two thousand locations across one hundred and twenty-five countries stood up to call for urgent climate action .

Moments like these serve as lights in the greater darkness.

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Lessons for San Diego Labor in the Wake of Mickey Kasparian’s Fall

January 7, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

One of the last bits of big local political news towards the end of 2018 was the resounding defeat of United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian along with his entire slate in their union election on the heels of two years of internal and external conflict.

After refusing to step down from his position as President of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council in the wake of multiple workplace and sexual harassment allegations in 2016, Kasparian split the labor movement, sought to divide local progressives, and fought a scorched earth campaign against his perceived enemies.

All of it ended badly with lots of damage being done along the way.

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With Labored Breath: The Polluted Legacy of the Steel Mills

September 4, 2018 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

For the children of steel
The Atlantic recently ran an article about the long term impacts of the now largely defunct steel industry in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Braddock resident Tony Buba has produced a short documentary about the environmental racism that has created an overlooked health crisis among residents in the area, particularly among African Americans who were segregated in neighborhoods closest to the mills. The incidences of cancer and lung disease are shocking.

For those of us who lived in any one of the mill towns dotting the Monongahela River (Mon Valley) in southwestern Pennsylvania and lost loved ones to those diseases,

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Lessons for 2018: Labor Solidarity Works!

September 4, 2018 by Jim Miller

It has been the worst of times and the best of times for the American Labor Movement in 2018.

Economic inequality has continued to spiral out of control as policy coming out of Washington, DC designed to tilt the scales in favor of the rich and corporations weakened the rights of working Americans at every turn.

At the Supreme Court level, anti-labor justices joined the assault against labor and undermined public sector unions’ rights to collect dues.

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The Wages of Inequality Keep Growing: Only Working People’s Power Can Save Our Democracy

August 27, 2018 by Jim Miller

It shouldn’t be news to readers of the OB Rag that life here under the perfect sun isn’t always so easy, particularly for working people. Indeed, as a Bloomberg report outlined last May, “The gap between the have and have-nots in San Diego was the ninth-highest out of 100 cities between 2011 to 2016.”

As usual, this report received not much more than a shrug in the place where happy happens as we were too busy spectacularly failing to address our shameful homelessness crisis yet again while the supply of high-end condos downtown and elsewhere continues to grow. So it goes.

It’s the same old story over and over again here–and everywhere else.

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Supreme Court to Decide Whether Public Employee Union Free-Loaders Pay ‘Fair Share’ in Janus Case

May 21, 2018 by Source

This first appeared at San Diego Free Press

By Peter Zschiesche

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the “Janus Case” and determine the legality of state laws that allow public employee union contracts to require all covered employees to pay at least a “fair share” fee to cover the union’s cost of negotiating and enforcing their agreement. There are 23 states that have such laws and California is one of them.

In 1977 the Supreme Court decided unanimously that yes, states could do that. But just a few years ago several of the current conservative Supreme Court Justices let it be known that they would be willing to revisit that 1977 decision.

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May Day Is an American Working People’s Holiday

May 1, 2018 by Staff

Haymarket Massacre

May first – or May Day – is really working people’s holiday. So, tell your boss that you’re taking the day off. Yeah, right!

But seriously, this day was established by generations of American workers back in the 19th century as the day for workers and their families. And it spread world wide, way before there was a world wide web, and May Day as a working people’s holiday came to be celebrated in many other countries. But it started here, in the good, ol’ US of A.

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Notes from the Class War: the West Virginia Strike Shows That Solidarity Wins

March 12, 2018 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

In the early days of the Trump administration, most savvy observers were quick to note that, populist bluster aside, Trump’s policies would be a disaster for America’s already historic level of economic inequality. As economist Charles Ballard wrote in The Hill, “the main thrust of policy proposals from President Trump is to maintain, and even accelerate, the anti-egalitarian policies of recent decades.”

A year later, it’s now abundantly clear that the anti-egalitarian nature of this administration has only poured gasoline on the fire.

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Working People’s Day of Action at Convention Center Park – February 24th

February 19, 2018 by Jim Miller

This coming Saturday, Feb. 24th thousands of workers, along with their families, friends, and allies in the community, will gather in San Diego to stand up for the rights of working Americans in the face of the impending Janus vs AFSCME decision by the Supreme Court that aims further rig the system against us. Against this assault, we will continue to insist on our right to form strong unions, raise our collective voice, and fight for equitable pay, affordable health care, civil rights, strong communities, and quality public education for all.

As public sector unions confront the threat of Janus, it is important to remember that fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis to support striking city sanitation workers. By the time of his assassination, King had come to see that it was impossible to fight for civil rights without including economic rights. The battle for racial equality was inextricably linked to the fight for economic opportunity.

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The Koch Brothers’ War on Unions is a War on Democrats, Education, and Democracy

February 5, 2018 by Jim Miller

There’s blood in the water. That’s the sense that the money behind the American Right has as we head into the second year of the Trump era. And with recent polls showing the big Democratic polling edge ebbing, the sharks are beginning to circle.

But, as unsettling as that is, there is a lot more at stake than just one election cycle.

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What Good is a Union in 2017?

September 4, 2017 by Jim Miller


What is there to celebrate this Labor Day for the average American? We live in troubled times and many of us in the United States are increasingly anxious or angry as we see the American Dream slipping away right before our eyes as the middle-class shrinks and the gap between the very rich and the rest of us continues to grow.

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Labor Solidarity in San Diego – Despite Our Differences

July 25, 2017 by Source

By Peter Zscheische / San Diego Free Press

For those who read Jim Miller’s recent articles recounting the unfortunate splits in the local Labor movement, it may seem they result from just personal differences among labor leaders. Jim reported the events that led the AFL-CIO, the parent organization of the Labor Council, to take over the council and restore it to functioning as it should.

However that came about, that is what the AFL-CIO as the parent organization is supposed to do. It will be hard work.

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What’s the Matter with Labor in San Diego?

May 15, 2017 by Jim Miller
…there is no great philosophical debate over principle at stake here in San Diego. In fact, principle or coherent strategic thinking has nothing to do with the current state of affairs at all.

laborBy Jim Miller

In one of my first columns of the year, I made a plea that San Diego labor should not allow itself to be distracted by the trials and tribulations of Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian.

With everything from a looming anti-labor shift on the Supreme Court and at the National Labor Relations Board, to “right to work” legislation in Congress along with a host of other perils, I argued that the Trump era simply holds too many dangers for labor to get bogged down in the petty drama surrounding one leader

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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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