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Showing blog posts by Steve Smith

California Leaders Announce Historic Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

California Leaders Announce Historic Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

History was made this week. California Gov. Jerry Brown joined legislative leaders, workers and unions to announce a deal on legislation to make California the first state in America to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. This day was a long time in the making. Worker-led movements like Fight for 15, labor unions and community groups have been gathering momentum for several years on this issue.

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California’s Unions Step Up for Veterans

California’s Unions Step Up for Veterans

My grandfather, a member of what Tom Brokaw coined the “greatest generation,” was a chief petty officer in the US Navy during World War II, fighting along so many others for nothing less than freedom itself. He made it back. Many of those he served with did not.

Upon returning home, he needed a job. While looking for work is never easy, he found meaningful employment first as a police officer in Washington state and then later at Caltrans in the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, putting veterans to work was a priority. Government partnered with labor unions and employers to create a pathway to careers for veterans who bravely served our country, defending the freedoms many take for granted today.

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FPPC Levies Record Fines Against Dark Money Group

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission today sent a strong message to shadowy out-of-state special-interest groups and donors trying to influence our state’s elections by levying record fines for contributions to committees that supported Prop. 32 and opposed Prop. 30.

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15 Big Victories for California's Working Families

Photo by David Bacon

With House Republicans in Congress holding lifelines for working families hostage and irresponsibly shutting down the country, it's hard not to be pessimistic about the state of the country. But in California, working families, Democrats and allies have set an example of how not only we can win some of these battles, but how we make progress. 

Read more from the California Labor Federation: Close of Legislative Session Brings Real Gains to California Workers

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California Legislature Passes Historic Minimum Wage Increase

California made history last night. With the support of California’s unions, the legislature voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10, the highest minimum wage in the country. The wage will be implemented in two steps: an increase to $9 per hour in July of next year, followed by another $1 increase to $10 in January of 2016. Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to sign the bill, A.B. 10, authored by Assembly member Luis Alejo.

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Action Session Explores Models for Alternative Membership to Broaden Labor Movement

A central theme of this year’s convention is building a broader, more inclusive labor movement to better support all workers, both union and nonunion. As attendees of the action session “Anyone Can Join and Everyone Should: Models for Alternative Membership” learned this afternoon, associate membership can be a powerful tool to achieve that goal.

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SF Chronicle Op-ed Scapegoats BART Workers, Ignores Real Problem

ATU photo

I’ve seen some pretty outrageous anti-worker opinion pieces written about the contract negotiations at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) over the last two months. But nothing I’ve read is as infuriating as Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle op-ed from Chuck and Barbara McFadden.

In short, the McFaddens assert that workers like those at BART are not deserving of the middle-class wage their unions negotiate.

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Effort to Stop Koch Brothers’ Takeover of L.A. Times Gains Momentum

LA County Federation of Labor photo, via Facebook

Don’t sell out to the Koch brothers / Don’t let the brothers in the door / We don’t want them taking over / That is what we’re marching for!

That  was the message, as sung by acclaimed musician Ry Cooder, carried by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who marched and rallied Tuesday to urge Oaktree Capital Management not to sell the respected Los Angeles Times to right-wing extremists David and Charles Koch. The “No Koch Hate in L.A.” rally was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and community allies.

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Time to End California’s Corporate ‘Gravy Train’

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski/CLF photo

Hundreds of workers descended on the California state Capitol yesterday as part of the California Labor Federation’s legislative conference lobby day with a simple message for both Democrats and Republicans in office: “End the Corporate Gravy Train.” They were referring to the state’s wasteful enterprise zone program, which takes money away from schools, infrastructure and other valuable services to line the pockets of corporate CEOs at Walmart and other large, profitable corporations.

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