Stand with Security Officers for Good Jobs at Levi’s Stadium

levis-stadiumIt wasn’t all cheers of joy from the crowd at the opening ceremony of Levi’s Stadium last Thursday.  A group of SEIU United Service Workers West activists also gathered outside the ceremony to urge the San Francisco 49ers to support good jobs for security officers that provide a voice at work and dignified wages and benefits.

Security workers at every major sports venue in California except Levi’s Stadium have the protection of a union contract. These contracts help secure a better way of life for working families in our community. They provide recourse against unfair treatment; ensure basic on-the-job rights; and guarantee wage rates, wage increases and some level of benefits.

However, no security officer at Levi’s Stadium will have these protections.  And the stadium’s two security contractors—Elite Show Services and Landmark Event Staffing Services—have refused to discuss the issue with labor leaders in our community.

Security is one of the most important functions at a stadium to ensure a safe and enjoyable fan experience.  But without a union contract, there will be no incentive for security workers to stay on the job and help improve the customer experience over time.  As such, operating with a non-union security company is also bad for the San Francisco 49ers organization.

That is why we ware calling upon the San Francisco 49ers, the City of Santa Clara, as well as Elite and Landmark to do the right thing and work cooperatively to secure a better way of life for security workers at the stadium.

By Denise Solis, Vice President of SEIU United Service Workers West

Trumka: Humanitarian Crisis Has Brought Out the Best and Worst in Us


In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing violence in Central America and coming into the United States and surrendering to Border Patrol agents, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement saying that the crisis has brought about the best and worst among us. Trumka continues:

Alarmingly, in places like Murrieta, California and Vassar, Michigan, we have seen ugly reminders of racism and hatred directed toward children. The spewing of nativist venom, the taking up of arms and the fear-mongering about crime and disease harken back to dark periods in our history and have no business taking place under the banner of our flag.

On the other hand, around the country we have also seen a tremendous outpouring of compassion and concern for the plight of these women and children. We are proud to say that local unions have joined with faith and community groups to collect needed supplies, provide shelter and support and call for humane treatment.



Protesters Descend on Apple Campus

Union members Tom Linebarger and Bob Sigala talk with Apple employees about the company's

Union members Tom Linebarger and Bob Sigala talk with Apple employees about the company’s anti-union security contractor, SIS, Inc.


Members of SEIU-USWW and other community supporters, protested in front of Apple Headquarters in Cupertino last week.  Calling for the computer giant to dump its security contractor SIS, Inc., which refuses to allow its employees to unionize, fails to provide enough working hours for employees to earn benefits and intimidates employees who make efforts to organize.

Protesters also called on Apple to bring back the more than $100 Billion in revenues it invests in offshore accounts to avoid paying American taxes.  Demonstrators handed out informational leaflets to Apple employees and customers at the campus retail store.

In the continuing effort to not let Apple forget its transgressions, demonstrators will be back at the campus for another protest July 23 at 11:30 a.m.  Anyone interested in joining should contact the South Bay Labor Council at 408-606-2061.

The Washington Post: Apple and Other Tech Giants Are “Bad Neighbors” to Security Workers, Bay Area Community

appleprotestSFAs Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the company’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, activists from SEIU United Service Workers West and the community rallied outside the event to call on the tech giant to do their part in improving the Bay Area so that all families can thrive and succeed.

Demonstrators highlighted the ways Apple skirts its responsibility to local communities, including its notorious gimmicks to avoid paying a fair share in taxes. As The Washington Post reported, “Apple has denied claims that it’s using loopholes to pay less than its fair share…But local activists such as those who protested Monday say that if that were the case, the Bay Area would have flourished along with those companies.” Continue reading

Supreme Court Sides with Radical Right in Illinois Home Care Worker Case

In a 5-to-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Illinois home care workers who benefit from higher wages and better working conditions that their union negotiated for—but who choose not to join—do not have to pay their fair share of the cost of the union’s bargaining for and representation of all workers.

The suit was filed in 2010 by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an extreme anti-worker group whose funders include billionaires like the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation and the Walton Family [of Walmart] Foundation. But the suit was dismissed first by a federal district court and then again on appeal by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court agreed to hear it in October. Said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

The extreme views of today’s Supreme Court aimed at home care workers aren’t just bad for unions—they’re bad for all workers and the middle class. But the attacks on the freedom of workers to come together are nothing new. They are part of an onslaught from anti-worker organizations hostile to raising wages or improving benefits for millions of people. These attacks are a direct cause of an economy in which middle-class families can’t get a break because their wages have stagnated and their incomes have declined.

Governor Brown to Induct Organizer Fred Ross into CA Hall of Fame

Fred-Ross-headshotGovernor Jerry Brown has announced a new class of inductees into the California Hall of Fame, and it includes the legendary community organizer Fred Ross. Among his many achievements, Ross trained both Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in community organizing. He also pioneered a Latino electoral outreach strategy still widely used across the nation today. Long content to stay out of the limelight, Ross remains a revered figure for generations of community and labor organizers. Continue reading

Booming Business, But Falling Wages, in California Grocery Stores

UFCW_Grocery_Workers_Southern_CaliforniaA new report on California’s grocery industry confirms what supermarket employees and labor union officials have known for years: Namely, that while the state’s retail food business has grown and prospered over the last 20 years, real wages for the sector’s estimated 383,900  workers have actually fallen, forcing a growing number of those workers into poverty.

The report, commissioned by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), comes from the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and is co-authored by the center’s director, Saru Jayaraman (best known as a co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United), and by UC Davis Professor Chris Benner. Titled “Shelved: How Wages and Working Conditions for California’s Food Retail Workers Have Declined as the Industry Has Thrived,” the report is said to be the largest of its kind, relying on surveys of nearly 1,000 California grocery workers and a thorough analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The retail food industry includes grocery stores, specialty food stores and variety stores such as Walmart and Target that stock significant amounts of food.

One startling statistic is that the median hourly wage (measured in 2010 dollars) of grocery store workers fell from $12.97 in 1999 to $11.33 in 2010, a decline of 12.6 percent. Continue reading