With so many companies following the Walmart model of pursuing policies that put profits for the 1% above the needs of working families, it's a challenge to use your own spending decisions to protect and expand the middle class. But Labor 411 is on the job and they keep making your job easier. Today marks the release of the seventh edition of Labor 411 Los Angeles!
It’s not surprising that actors in small theaters (99 seats or fewer) in Los Angeles earn far less than the movie and TV mega-salaries we’re so familiar with. But it is shocking that these hardworking actors are paid as little as $7 to $15 a performance—and nothing for rehearsal—for shows that can run as long as 80 performances with as many as 36 hours a week of rehearsal.
With more than a dozen local carwashes now unionized, Los Angeles workers are leading the way for union carwashes. The 133 new unionized carwasheros are represented by the United Steelworkers Local 675. The carwash owners where these employees work also have agreed by contract to comply with all labor, health and safety regulations and give their workers a 2% raise. Workers are now able to enforce these working standards by themselves through a grievance procedure.
This Friday, the Los Angeles Black Worker Center (BWC) is holding its first-ever Black Workers Congress to bring workers and the Los Angeles community together to build support and share knowledge to transform the jobs crisis in communities of color.
Union leaders and activists from around the country in Los Angeles on Sept. 8 for the AFL-CIO Convention will get a close look at a regional labor movement with membership numbers holding steady or even slightly increasing.
Compare this with much of the United States where the percentage of workers represented by unions is dropping rapidly and persistently.
It's not every day a former manufacturing hub for middle-class jobs gets to reinvent itself after the factories and plants shut down and ship off. But that's exactly what's happening in Long Beach, Calif., in Los Angeles County.
While, according to official government statistics, union density declined last year, there were a handful of states that actually saw an increase in membership. California placed at the top of this list.
To explain the contrast between the trend in California and the United States as a whole—where union membership dropped last year by 400,000—Semuels turned to some credible sources, including Steve Smith of the state labor federation who cited “an appetite among these low-wage workers to try to get a collective voice to give themselves opportunity and a middle-class lifestyle.”
Christian Torres worked as a cook in the Pomona College dining hall for more than six years. Torres and 16 of his co-workers were fired from Pomona College for not re-verifying their work eligibility after the college asked for documents, which were requested while he was leading an effort to organize to form a union. Torres and his brother came to the United States while still teenagers to join their mother and father who were already in the U.S. He supports the movement to create a common-sense immigration process. Although Torres was fired from Pomona, he continues to support his co-workers in their struggle for better working conditions at the college.