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I’m going to hate writing this. Every word.
Last week Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame was outed by my union, UNITE HERE, Local 11 as being in talks with the Hyatt Andaz hotel to take over the RH restaurant, where I work as a server.
I first became aware of the news when I arrived at a large picket in front of the Hyatt Andaz. The action was two days before Valentine’s Day. I was late to the picket because, as noted in an earlier column, I had to drive my mother-in-law to Walmart — which still pains me to admit.
The action in front of my hotel, like many before, was about protesting current work and safety conditions. It was co-sponsored by OUT and OCCUPY, which is a LGBTQ organization that has been unified with UNITE HERE Local 11 in making sure that all workers,
Frying Pan News writer Donald Cohen appears on television tonight in a segment of KCET’s SoCal Connected to discuss El Segundo’s alleged sweetheart tax deal with the Chevron oil corporation, whose local refinery has long dominated the town’s commerce and politics.
The case became a scandal when El Segundo’s city manager, Doug Willmore, was sacked after he purportedly dug up details of a 1994 agreement between Chevron and city officials that codified the company’s low tax payments in perpetuity.
Long Beach hospitality workers are one step closer to better wages. After years of trying to improve conditions in the hotel industry, members of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community filed paperwork to place a citywide measure on the November ballot that would require hotels to pay hospitality workers a living wage.
The living wage measure would affect hotels with more than 100 rooms, requiring them to pay workers $13 an hour. Research from past living wage victories in areas such as Los Angeles’ Century Boulevard has estimated that workers reinvest over two-thirds of their increased income back into the local community. Higher hotel wages in Long Beach would not only lift families out of poverty, but would spark a much-needed reinvestment in the city’s local businesses and neighborhoods.
A recent story and video in the Long Beach Press Telegram captures the kickoff to this historic campaign.
If you’re a woman, an artist, a cancer survivor or patient; someone with a connection to the Holocaust or the 1960s women’s movement — in fact, if you’re anyone who wonders how we human beings can endure indescribable suffering and come out the other end with something to say about it – you must see Alina Szapocznikow, Sculpture Undone at the Hammer museum before it closes April 30th. I fit a number of those categories and was deeply moved to find such connections with the work.
At the beginning of the exhibit you meet the artist (who died in 1973 at the age of 47) in a rough video. She’s young and lively and seems so innocent. When the thick-headed interviewer asks about her experiences as a young girl in a Nazi concentration camp, Szapocznikow responds with “it would be immodest to discuss my own suffering.” When the same off-screen voice asks her to describe what it’s like to be a woman in 1960s Poland,
As an author, my place on bookshelves is precarious. You can have your book banned in this country for any number of reasons. Schools especially might find a book profane or inappropriate. Or, as in the case of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, your work might be thrown into the pyre for being “satanic.”
None of this surprises me. This does: Barbara Ehrenreich’s well-received 2001 book Nickel and Dimed was removed from a personal finance class in Bedford, N.H., for being “anti-capitalist.”
Nickel and Dimed chronicles Ehrenreich’s quest to explore our economy from the perspective of an “unskilled” worker. Propelled into her social experiment by the debate over welfare, she moved across the country, taking the cheapest lodgings and whatever work she could find, from clerk to hotel maid. The result sheds light on the experience of what it means to survive on poverty-level wages in the U.S.