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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


Longtime Labor Activist Launches New Book About Spirituality & Social Justice, “Living Peace”

Longtime labor and immigration rights activist Victor Narro believes it’s time to bring spirituality into social justice work. To that end, his book Living Peace provokes dialogue for the sharing and integration of spirituality among those working for
peace and justice.

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Fred Ross Sr Inducted Into California Hall of Fame

IBEW 1245

Renowned union organizer and activist Fred Ross Sr was posthumously inducted into the California Hall of Fame on October 1.  The Hall of Fame honors “legendary people who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history.” Ross was just one of the many notable Californians inducted that evening, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Charlotta Bass, Francis Ford Coppola, Joan Didion, Jimmy Iovine, Stephen Schneider, Mimi Silbert and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young.


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OCEA launches “Working People Standing Together” series to highlight public service

by Niyaz Pirani

Orange County’s public employees are the backbone of County government. They keep streets safe and clean, and provide vital services the community needs. Unfortunately, politicians and their corporate backers have not let up on their attacks on workers, eroding the middle class our grandparents’ generation built brick by brick. And they’re doing it for their own political gain.

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AFL-CIO President Touts Prop 47 in LA, Urges Californians to Lead Way on Sentencing Reform

By Steve Smith

Mass incarceration isn’t a topic most of us are comfortable discussing. But it’s a problem that affects every Californian on many levels. When non-violent, low-level offenses are treated as felonies resulting in extensive prison time, it wastes taxpayer money that could be going to schools and services. It fuels the cycle of poverty and imprisonment. It siphons resources from fighting dangerous crime. It’s an affront to justice.

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Worker Power in the Capitol Produces Important Legislative Wins

By Angie Wei

The annual season of governor’s signatures and vetoes has come to an end. And this year, as every year, worker power won legislative change. Many of the most significant bills that were signed by Governor Brown each engaged an active lobbying and advocacy effort by workers and their organizations.

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Taking Action for Safe, Just and Healthy Workplaces

By Valeria Velazquez

On November 8th, the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) and Worksafe are hosting a one-day conference at Berkeley City College entitled “Taking Action for Safe, Just and Healthy Workplaces.” (Online registration is available here.) This event will be an exciting opportunity for workers and advocates to come together to discuss efforts to improve health and safety on the job, successful worker empowerment strategies, and how to effectively use worker rights under Cal/OSHA.

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Gov. Brown Signs Landmark Bill to Protect Temp Workers

By Steve Smith

As Vice President Joe Biden might say, this is a BFD. Last night Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1897, a landmark bill to curb abuses against temporary workers.

The new law simply requires that companies securing workers through labor contractors or temp agencies must take responsibility to ensure that workers are getting paid, that they have a safe work environment, and that the contractor is paying state and federal taxes.  Given the recent explosion of temp work, this law provides a measure of protection to workers that often are vulnerable to exploitation.

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IBEW 1245 Launches Eight-State Election Campaign to Defend Workers’ Rights

by Eileen Purcell

This fall, 35 IBEW 1245 members, along with three 1245 staff members, are joining Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaigns at local Central Labor Councils and State Labor Federations in California, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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Gov. Brown Signs Expanded Film Tax Credit Measure, Protecting Hundreds of Thousands of CA Jobs

By Steve Smith

For generations, film and television production has been a driving force of California’s economy. This iconic industry not only entertains millions around the world every year, it provides hundreds of thousands of good middle-class jobs for California workers.

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Landmark Paid Sick Days Measure Signed Into Law

By Steve Smith

It’s a historic day for California workers. This morning in Los Angeles, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1522, a landmark bill to allow more than 6.5 million workers to earn paid sick days on the job.

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What does the history of Labor Day mean for its future?

By Art Pulaski

       Art for Social Justice by Ricardo Levins Morales

For many, the legacy of Labor Day has been forgotten. We forget about the struggle that so many fought and even died for to achieve decent working conditions. We take for granted that children no longer have to slave away in American factories for 17 hours a day, six days a week. We undervalue what it took to get the weekend. After all, that’s what makes Labor Day such a treat in the first place--we get a three-day weekend instead of the boring old two. And for those of us still lucky enough, the 40 hour work week is just the standard.



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CA Senate Approves Bill To Protect Temporary Workers

Legislation That Would Hold Companies Accountable For Labor Suppliers’ Violations Advances

By Elizabeth Brennan

The California Senate approved AB 1897 Wednesday evening. The bill will hold companies accountable for serious violations of the rights of workers on their premises that are committed by their own labor suppliers.

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Chemical Industry Scare Tactics: Toxic and Dangerous

By Lou Paulson

President, California Professional Firefighters

It’s the end of August and, like the rest of California, Sacramento is seeing temperatures rise. But over at the Capitol, legislators are sitting in the middle of a blizzard of alarmist rhetoric from the chemical industry about legislation to disclose the use of toxic flame retardants on furniture. From banner advertising to op-eds to a torrent of legislative attacks, the chemical lobby has unleashed a torrent of fear mongering about fire safety to take down SB 1019.





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IBEW 1245 Members Respond to Potential Gas Leaks Following Napa Earthquake

By Eric Wolfe

IBEW 1245 members swarmed across the Napa area in the hours after the 6.0 magnitude earthquake on Aug. 24, responding to over 400 PG&E customer calls of gas odors. In many cases, a visit by a gas serviceman was all it took to address the problem.

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