Links between environmental exposures and maternal health outcomes remain underexplored, despite recent efforts to catch up.
A new poll of teachers sounds a red alert for public education in the state.
A pledge to sharply reduce infant mortality by 2023 faces daunting obstacles.
With more progressives likely to join her on L.A.’s City Council, Nithya Raman talks about the prospects for breaking the ‘culture of unanimity’ at City Hall.
Political giving by the Los Angeles mayoral candidate tops $1 million since 2020.
When I started Unionosity, my goal was to provoke discussion about important workplace and economic issues. Work is such a significant part of our lives – many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at it. Yet we don’t talk enough about what it means and how we can do it better — specifically, what can be accomplished if we work together.
Unfortunately, the “working together” part can sometimes go awry before it has the chance to begin. I’ve learned to be mindful of some of the predicaments that the working poor have long lived with. One of these I learned the hard way during an affordable housing campaign I took part in nearly 20 years ago in South Central Los Angeles. The program we were organizing around — ironically, a Jack Kemp HUD program — would transfer ownership of publicly subsidized housing to tenant groups made up of Section 8 voucher recipients,
(As we begin Labor Day, 2012, organized labor in America is enduring a Valley Forge period with few signs of improvement on the horizon. Lest we forget, though, why Americans enjoy the employment perks they do – including this very holiday – we repost Stephen D. Foster Jr.’s inventory, via Addicting Info, of reasons to be grateful to unions, and why their existence is essential to our democracy.)
Labor unions are responsible for the many benefits of our jobs that we enjoy today. Even if you only work part time in the worst job possible, you still enjoy at least some of the fruits that labor has fought for. Here are 20 of them.
1. Minimum Wage: Without federally mandated minimum wage, we’d still be working for pennies.
2. Child Labor Laws: Without these laws, children would be hired as cheap labor.
I recently came across a men’s clothing store in Brentwood, a tony neighborhood of Los Angeles, with the provocative name Unionmade. I walked in and meandered around the shop, looking at the pricy shirts, pants, sweaters, jackets, shoes, and other articles of clothing. After examining the apparel, I couldn’t find any items with a union label. What gives?
I called Todd Barket, the store’s founder, to find out.
The 40-year old Barket told me that he’s spent his entire career in the men’s clothing business. After dropping out of Cal Arts, he went to work for Banana Republic, followed by 12 years at The Gap in merchandising, styling, advertising, and marketing, and then two years as Old Navy’s creative director for marketing and advertising. After he was laid off in June 2009, Barket began making plans to open his own retail clothing store, and by that December he’d realized his dream.
In a week dominated by the Republican National Convention, most silly quotes were related to the presidential campaign. Indeed, this entire page could have consisted of Clint Eastwood’s bizarre one-man sketch at the convention. (Best headline belonged to Wonkette: Fox News Suddenly Loves Hollywood Elitists After Clint Eastwood Yelled at a Chair.) Still, there was a bit of silliness for everyone.
Local government issues may not appear to be on the Presidential ballot this November. But the national elections, for President and Congress, will affect our local governments and our daily lives for years afterward.
Like all governments, local administrations are funded by tax revenues. A small number of municipalities and counties across the U.S. have their own income taxes, usually under one percent, but sometimes higher. Every county in Indiana, Kentucky and Maryland, 560 cities and villages in Ohio, and big cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Birmingham, and St. Louis receive funds from local income taxes. Most municipal and county governments, however, rely on property and sales taxes.
But a sizable chunk of local government spending comes from federal and state tax revenues that are then given to local governments as grants. Decisions about the federal budget thus have a major direct impact on our home towns.
Like any holiday, Labor Day comes with some inevitable scenarios. Number One is that most Americans will take a well-deserved day off, courtesy of the efforts of the labor movement. Next, many of us will barbecue on grills that were paid for by middle class jobs that only exist because of the success of that movement.
But this holiday comes with another inevitability: The Sunday morning newspaper or Web stories proclaiming that people don’t want to join unions anymore. However, despite what the editorial writers and columnists say, the real reason people don’t join unions is that U.S. labor laws are so weak that they are nearly worthless – and the right to join a union is a joke.
When I went to work for my first employer after high school I was part of an organizing drive and a strong majority of the workers – 43 out of 62 – signed cards asking for a union to represent us.
After a 4½ hour hearing, including strong testimony from members of the Don’t Waste LA coalition, the L.A. City Energy & Environment Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction & Recycling unanimously approved pushing a policy framework for an exclusive franchise system with strong standards. Yesterday, I posted the testimony I provided at the hearing.
This is a big moment for L.A. waste policy because at the conclusion of the hearing, these committee members determined that an exclusive franchise model has the best likelihood of success to achieve environmental objectives. Despite claims otherwise, after careful deliberation, the committees decided that they want to create a national model for sustainability in the waste collection for multi-family and commercial properties.
Overall, I was happy these council members were not duped by proposals of opponents of strong reform who promised benefits overnight.
For hundreds of warehouse workers like Daniel Lopez of Riverside, working in unsafe conditions for up to 16 hours a day, for months at a time, is not uncommon. Asking for safe and clean working conditions or a reasonable work schedule could mean losing his job. (Watch Daniel’s video, above, about his experience in the warehouse.)
Last week, Daniel and I, along with other workers, went to Sacramento to urge the California Senate to pass AB 1855. They did, and if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, AB 1855, sponsored by Assembly member Norma Torres and Senator Juan Vargas, will extend basic protections to tens of thousands of warehouse workers.
Fly-by-night contractors dominate the warehousing industry and provide a buffer between retailers like Walmart and the workers who move their goods. We have seen it many times; staffing agencies that supply workers in warehouses disappear overnight and leave workers without a job and without a paycheck.
An unlikely source – the Wall Street Journal – has profiled in disturbing detail California’s widening gap not “just between rich and poor but also between rich and middle class.” According to the paper, upper income families in California – defined as “the upper 10 percent” – now earn 12 times as much as lower income families. And the average California family’s income fell by 11 percent between 2007 and 2010.
As a result, only a minority of Californians now can now call themselves “middle class.”
The One Percent’s favorite daily newspaper has even explained how budget cuts threaten to sabotage California’s economic recovery by “saddl[ing] California with an undereducated, less competitive-workforce.”
Budget cuts, which will grow far worse “if voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increase in November,” have already:
Monday the Des Moines Register reported that Wells Fargo fired an employee who’d been arrested in 1963 for trying to use a cardboard dime on a coin-operated washing machine in a Carlisle, Iowa laundromat. Richard Eggers, a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran, had worked in the bank’s home mortgage department at a $29,795-a-year job, the Register said. According to the bank, federal regulations barred it from employing workers who’d been convicted of crimes involving dishonesty, even if their criminal records had been expunged. The 2011 rules were applied retroactively to Eggers, who’d been with Well Fargo seven years.
So far the story’s been getting attention on the Internet and radio as one of those What a Wacky World We Live In fillers. It remains to be seen if the level of public outrage reaches a point where someone blinks and Eggers gets his job back.