California’s new goal is to COVID-test hospital workers. But will the state’s health care behemoths follow the nonbinding recommendation?
Co-published by L.A. Taco
Nearly a year after Los Angeles began permitting street vendors, they are stuck between an expensive, complex permit system and the devastating penalties that come to those without a license.
A utility commissioner backs both Trump and solar energy, but his maverick reputation may not win him reelection. Georgia is changing.
In one of the wealthiest areas in the country, the Shinnecock Nation fights to survive as Thanksgiving approaches.
Mark Kreidler speaks to Jenny Wong-Swanson, a Kaiser Permanente nurse in Woodland Hills, about the pandemic’s explosion.
Fresno, the working class capital of California’s San Joaquin Valley, remains a hardscrabble town with a history of radical activism.
Protests over the killing of George Floyd have hastened teachers union calls to remove police from Los Angeles’ public school campuses.
Co-published by The Guardian
Even before the pandemic, ICE consistently failed to provide adequate medical care to detainees on its flights — with dire outcomes.
Trump and Biden exchanged words over climate change on Tuesday night. How many of them were accurate?
Who was watching the watchdogs as the cleanup of lead contamination on L.A.’s Eastside ran out of money?
This may be organized labor’s summer of discontent, but don’t tell that to the folks at L.A. Labor 411. The communications group, which for the past five years has supplied Angelenos with directories listing more than 3,000 unionized businesses, goods and services, has been busy compiling socially conscious drinking recipes (mojitos ahoy!), products and venues for those who imbibe. They call one of their standouts the Union Made Long Island Iced Tea – although I’ll bet that Back East it might be known as the Last Exit toBrooklyn. All its ingredients are processed or manufactured by companies where workers enjoy the wage, health-care and vacation benefits of union representation.
Dale DeGroff, the “King of Cocktails” who mixed many a L.I. Iced Tea at New York’s Rainbow Room, places the drink’s birthplace at the Old Beach Inn in Hampton Bays.
(Update, June 17: A United Teachers L.A. bulletin has announced the 58-42 percent membership approval of the agreement discussed below.)
My neighbor Rena found her life’s work at the age of 50. Today, 10 years later, she could lose that work and her profession teaching English as a second language.Thousands of teachers in L.A. this week are voting on a proposed agreement to reduce their own pay in order to save adult and early childhood education programs, teacher-librarians, counselors and nurses, and to reduce class sizes. It’s a deal that would make most of us blanch – threaten our own family’s economic health for the common good? No thanks.
In fact, by refusing to raise property and other taxes in California, we’ve essentially left it to the teachers to volunteer for the sacrifices the rest of us are not willing to make for the welfare of our state’s public school children.
On Wednesday, June 13, Caroline, an organizer at a downtown press conference held by opponents of a proposed Chinatown Walmart store, noticed a young woman chatting to reporters. She’d seen her exactly one week before at another news conference. There, the young woman introduced herself as Zoe Mitchell, said she was a student at the University of Southern California and, somewhat vaguely, mentioned that she was interested in writing human interest stories.
At the June 6 event, Mitchell seemed sympathetic to the cause of workers who had a long list of complaints against the Walmart-contracted warehouses they worked in. And she had a request – could she talk to some of these workers who spoke English and record their names and stories?
Caroline was happy to accommodate the student and hooked her up with a lengthy interview with the worker present who spoke English.
Who is the woman seen in this photograph talking on a cell phone? Last week she claimed to be “Zoe Mitchell,” a young student at USC interested in the terrible and illegal conditions found inside warehouses that move goods for Walmart. She told warehouse workers she was a journalist interested in their plight. (See her business card and last week’s event sign-in information below. Click to enlarge the image.)
Today, while gathering information at a news conference held by community and labor groups opposed to the retail giant’s entry into Chinatown, she let her true identity slip. “Zoe Mitchell” is completely fictional. Zoe is actually Stephanie Harnett, a fake “reporter” working for Walmart — more precisely, a senior associate at Mercury, a giant PR firm that represents a wide range of corporate interests. Mercury says it is about “high stakes public strategy” and boasts that it is especially adept at “Latino Communications.”
The big question is,
It’s a strange feeling to recognize someone not by his or her face, but by their name-tag. This was the experience I had in Providence, Rhode Island this past week, where I attended the annual Netroots Nation conference for progressives on behalf of my union, UNITE HERE Local 11. It was good to finally match up the tweets to all these faces that I had been in touch with for the past year.
I arrived at the conference later than most of my UNITE HERE comrades because of my work schedule and a delayed flight. One of the moments that I was sad to have missed was when hotel workers from the Providence Westin came onstage and thanked the Netroots organization for moving its 2010 conference from their hotel due to a contract dispute with the Westin over wage cuts, slashes in vacation and the elimination of union jobs for subcontracted ones.
(The following post first appeared on the California Labor Federation’s Labor’s Edge site.)
We knew it was bad, but we didn’t know it was this bad.
Walmart has an outsized influence on Southern California – on multiple sectors, on tens of thousands of jobs and even on our environment. In the new report Chain of Greed, the well-respected National Employment Law Project documents the giant retailers’ negative impact on our region and details conditions inside Walmart-contracted warehouses. This is what NELP found:
After a year-long campaign by labor and community groups on behalf of carwasheros in what is traditionally a progressive town, the City of Santa Monica will no longer contract with car-wash businesses that are not in compliance with federal and state employment laws.
In addition to strict implementation by the city’s Finance Department of existing policies that require those receiving City dollars to comply with laws, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office will investigate practices at all four car washes located in Santa Monica as part of its Consumer Affairs operations.
Rather than employ public workers to wash city trucks, police cars and other vehicles, Santa Monica, like many other cities, contracts with local car washes to keep its vehicles clean. After California’s Attorney General reached a settlement with Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica that resulted in the business agreeing to a contract with the United Steelworkers Union,
Wednesday, June 13, near the very spot where Walmart hopes to establish a beachhead in central Los Angeles, labor, community and political leaders will put the retail giant on notice that it can forget about getting the red carpet treatment. The company’s plans to open an express store selling groceries in Chinatown have provoked widespread opposition that goes beyond mere irritation over the arrival of a corporate megachain.
As Frying Pan News has documented, Walmart typically has a blighting effect on the communities where it locates: Local stores go out of business and the retailer’s workers, who lack decent wages and medical coverage, must rely on for public assistance in the form of food stamps and emergency room visits.
But it is mostly the dismal working conditions of employees at Walmart and its suppliers that is fueling resistance to the company’s expansion. Only yesterday foreign guest workers employed by a Louisiana seafood supplier to Walmart went on strike against what they say are long,
The fallout from the failed bid to unseat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, along with election victories to curtail public-employee pensions in San Diego and San Jose, continues for organized labor. While a number of media stories have questioned the strategic wisdom of trying to unseat a sitting governor who had not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, many moderate and progressive writers have been thinking aloud about something more fundamental – the very existence of unions.
“These votes,” the Atlantic.com’s Derek Thompson writes, “didn’t announce a new trend. They reminded us of a very old one.” His post’s title asks the disturbing question, “Are Unions Necessary?” It turns out he doesn’t have an answer. After we follow a recap of the long, slow decline of labor over the past half century, and some scary line graphs comparing plummeting union membership numbers with the fall of middle-class incomes,
There’s no pleasing stock traders. No sooner had European financial ministers granted Spain’s banks a $125 billion bailout than investors began worrying about Italy’s ability to pay its national debt – and to pitch in to save Spain. According to The New York Times, “[b]ecause Italy does not have enough economic growth to generate the money itself, the government will probably have to borrow it at high interest rates, adding to an already heavy debt load.” The Times on Monday quoted Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s pessimism: “There is a permanent risk of contagion.”
Although the mention of a European economic plague certainly makes ears stand up, the continent’s continual financial woes more resemble a Möbius strip of dominoes. With each new agreement to save one of the Mediterranean PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain), a new panic spreads on the floors of Europe’s stock exchanges.