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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


Environmental Health Coalition and San Diego Labor: 30 years of building power together

By Diane Takvorian,  Environmental Health Coalition

“Why do you care about jobs, you’re an environmental group?”  I wish we had a dollar for every time someone said that to us.

EHC improves the health of children, families, neighborhoods and the natural environment in the San Diego/Tijuana region by confronting the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use, and unsustainable energy policies. EHC’s efforts focus on low-income communities of color in urbanized areas where economic and environmental justice go hand-in-hand.

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Super-Sized CEO Pay Fuels Income Inequality That Hollows Out Middle Class

By Steve Smith

The next time you order a burger at the drive-thru, think about this: The CEO of the fast-food joint makes more than 543 times the worker serving your food. Put another way, for an eight-hour shift, the single mom who is working the fryer is bringing home about $72. The CEO of that company, profiting off her back, gets about $14,000 for sitting in his cushy corner office barking orders at an unfortunate assistant.

The total compensation ratio, including benefits, is even more obscene. Fast-food CEOs receive on average more than 1,000 times the compensation of their workers.
This disparity isn’t the exception in the fast-food world; it’s the rule according to a new report by Demos.

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PayWatch: CEO Pay Hits ‘Insane Level’


It’s good to be a CEO, at least paywise. According to the 2014 AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, released today, it’s 331 times better to be a CEO than an average worker. PayWatch finds that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company pocketed $11.7 million in 2013, while the average worker earned $35,293. The gap between CEOs and minimum wage workers is more than twice as wide—774 times.

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More posts by Mike Hall


California Labor Federation Releases Primary Endorsements, Launches Grassroots Mobilization

By Krista Collard

In Oakland today, the
California Labor Federation concluded its 2014 biennial pre-primary convention--a one-of-a-kind endorsement process that allows 2.1 million union workers to democratically elect delegates to debate and ultimately endorse in statewide constitutional races, Assembly, Senate, and congressional seats as well as ballot measures in advance of California’s June primary.

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Workers Demand Congressman Denham Stops Blocking Job Creation in High-Speed Rail

This April Fool’s Day, workers from around the Central Valley mobilized in front of the district office of Congressman Jeff Denham, calling on him to stop foolishly blocking strides to create badly needed jobs for his constituents.

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More posts by Tim Robertson


Honoring Cesar Means Keeping up the Fight

By Caitlin Vega

Every year at this time, Californians celebrates the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez, whose birthday falls on March 31. This year is special, because his story is now being told to a whole new generation with the release of a new movie about his life.

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More posts by Caitlin Vega


In Praise of Unsung Women and Their Work

By Rachele Huennekens, Capital and Main

As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, we honor many iconic women workers from past to present, from Rosie the Riveter to Dolores Huerta. But we often forget about the unsung “sheroes,” the women whose toil and dedication help move America, today.

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More posts by Rachele Huennekens


Gov. Brown Touts Pro-Worker Accomplishments in Lively Legislative Conference Keynote

By Krista Collard

California Governor Jerry Brown was in good spirits when he took the stage at the Labor Federation-State Building and Construction Trades Council Joint Legislative Conference on St. Patrick’s Day, and why shouldn’t he be? Acknowledging that there’s still a lot to do, Governor Brown, the keynote speaker for the annual conference’s dinner, embraced the opportunity to celebrate all that’s been accomplished for working families in California since he took office less than four years ago. The list is a long one. Since 2011, the Governor has signed into law an astounding 38 pro-worker bills while turning around California’s economy.

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Solidarity Rocks the Capital this St. Patrick’s Day

By Krista Collard

This St. Patrick’s Day, over 500 working men and women representing unions from around the state packed the ballroom at the Sacramento Sheraton Hotel for the annual California Labor Federation-State Building and Construction Trades Council Joint Legislative Conference. In the festive spirit of the holiday, the event kicked off with exciting speakers demonstrating that like the Irish, working people are fired up to keep fighting and will stand together to take back the American dream.

California Labor Federation leader, Art Pulaksi, welcomed the crowd and introduced Federation officer and UFCW Local 1428 president Connie Leyva, officially announcing her bid to run for California's 20th Senate District.

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Paid Sick Days a Win-Win for California

By Krista Collard, California Labor Federation

Every time I start to feel under the weather, I’m reminded of the wise words of a former supervisor. During cold and flu season she would always remind us that if we’re not feeling well or even just a little “off,” we should stay home. She’d sweetly say, “We don’t need a hero, guys. If you’re sick, please don’t come into the office. Stay home. Rest up.”

She had been around long enough to know that it took just one person trying to work with a cold to pass it around, and before long the whole staff would be down for the count. While she genuinely cared about our health and wellbeing, any smart supervisor understands that if the entire staff is ill, productivity goes down the tubes.


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Labor’s Annual Legislative Conference Kicks Off Monday in Sacramento

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation 

The California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council will kick off the annual joint legislative conference on Monday at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento, with hundreds of union activists coming to the Capital city to make their voices heard on important issues for working people.

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More posts by Steve Smith


CFT launches one-stop-shop website for “Vergara” trial

By Fred Glass
This week, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) – one of the union interveners in “Vergara et. al. vs. The State of California et. al.”– launched a new website:

The Vergara suit seeks to challenge five important California statutes that relate to teacher protections from unfair layoffs and dismissal.

The new website is a one-stop shop for information on the court case. It features updates from the stand, information on the trial's backers, pertinent research debunking the plaintiffs’ claims, videos and press clips. It will be updated daily as the state and teacher advocates proceed with their witnesses.


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More posts by Fred Glass


The Education of Ted Mitchell

by Gary Cohn

The nomination of Californian Ted Mitchell to the number two position at the U.S. Department of Education is the latest indication that proponents of school privatization are continuing to gain influence over the Obama administration’s education policy.

“He represents the quintessence of the privatization movement,” Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, tells Capital & Main. “This is a signal the Obama administration is committed to moving forward aggressively with transferring public funds to private hands.”

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More posts by Gary Cohn


Organizing Stewards vault IBEW 1245 into forefront of member organizing

Rebecca Band

IBEW 1245’s new organizing stewards reveal strong emotions when you ask them about their experiences in the field. These 28 member-organizers – some of whom have been organizing for years, and some of whom just started – are ready to build a brighter future for the middle class and keep their union strong and growing.


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More posts by Rebecca Band

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