Labor Loses a Dedicated Activist

Mike Robert Quiroz, II Dec, 27, 1962 - Dec. 15, 2014

Mike Robert Quiroz, II
Dec, 27, 1962 – Dec. 15, 2014

The South Bay Labor community is mourning the loss of a dedicated activist, Mike Quiroz, II.  Mike died at his San Jose home Monday, December 15.

Mike was a beloved husband, a dedicated father, a caring son who took care of both of his parents while they were alive, a caring brother to both his sisters Rosy, Linda, and his older brother Tom.  Mike played sports during his childhood; his favorite of which was baseball. He was a role model to his nephews, nieces, and cousins, co-workers, and fellow SBLC delegates. He was a faithful man to God.

Mike was a beloved husband of 26 years to Gloria Vargas Quiroz, also a dedicated SBLC delegate. Mike and Gloria married on a special day,  Martin Luther King JR’s birthday. Mike was her soul mate, her friend, and her mentor. He dedicated his life to his family and to education.

Mike Quiroz, right with wife Gloria and son Mike,III

Mike Quiroz, right with wife Gloria and son Mike,III

The Quiroz’s have a beautiful, caring son, Mike Vargas Quiroz, III, who Mike adored so much. Mike was involved in his son’s entire life, coaching his son’s little league sports teams including baseball, football, and soccer. He also took time out of his schedule to take his son to his ice skating and karate practice. Continue reading

Labor Loses a Music Icon


David Winters, a proud member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 153, passed away on December 15, 2014 with his wife and family at his bedside.

David served many years as an officer of his Local. In addition he served as the Sec/Treasurer of the Santa Cruz Central Labor Council.  He performed for many Labor events from small union halls and rallies to the stage of national conventions. For nearly 29 years David served as the Festival Coordinator of the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival.

In addition to his dedication to the labor movement, he performed professionally for more than 30 years. He was an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and mandolinist. He has contributed instructional articles to Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Guitar Player Magazine’s prestigious ‘Masters Series’. He was National Guitar Workshop’s Complete Guitarist (David was finger style specialist for the California campus of the National Guitar Summer Workshop) and authored the acclaimed book ‘Natural & Artificial Harmonics for the Guitar’.

He has directed children’s musical theater, and until his death, he led the Cabrillo College Stroke Center Choir. David taught a variety of music workshops through the years. In addition he filled some of his time as an instructor at Cabrillo College.  Continue reading

Santa Clara County Supervisors Adopt Comprehensive Living Wage Ordinance

Supporters gather to celebrate after the Board of Supervisors passed the  comprehensive Living Wage law.

Supporters gather to celebrate after the Board of Supervisors passed the comprehensive Living Wage law.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Responding to a raging economic divide that has left one in three Santa Clara County residents struggling to get by, the Board of Supervisors today passed ground-breaking living wage legislation to help low-wage workers reach economic dignity in Silicon Valley.

“This is a monumental win for working families in our community,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council.  “This legislation should serve as an example of how all employers in Silicon Valley should treat their workers.”

With a provision emphasizing fair work week with flexible, predictable scheduling – the first of its kind in a living wage law – Santa Clara County’s ordinance, led by Supervisors Ken Yeager and Dave Cortese, also addresses health and retirement, paid sick leave; and a voice on the job without fear of retaliation.

A report titled Setting Job Standards for a New Economy: An Innovative Living Wage for Silicon Valley, lays out elements that are included in the local legislation.  The report was written by Working Partnerships USA. Continue reading

Rev. Jesse Jackson Stands with Workers in March for Good Jobs at Apple

Rev. Jesse Jackson joins a crowd of demonstrators calling on Apple to "think different" and lift up low wage workers

Rev. Jesse Jackson joins a crowd of demonstrators calling on Apple to “think different” and lift up low wage workers

By Alfredo Fletes

Cupertino, CA – Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. marched alongside hundreds of workers to demand that Apple Inc. (AAPL) “Think Different” as a key leader among Silicon Valley giants and “Act Responsibly” by fixing the rigged system where big tech corporations thrive while contracted service workers barely scrape by.

 “There’s another face of the tech industry—and you’re looking at it,” said Silicon Valley security officer Michael Johnson. “I have to watch every dollar I spend on food. It’s a constant struggle to stay above water. And on top of it all, I’m trying to put my son through college.”

Thursday’s march came on the heels of a meeting Jackson had with CEO Tim Cook last Monday to discuss the lack of diversity within tech companies. The private meeting followed months of demands from workers and Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition that Apple take leadership to address the economic inequities caused by low pay and irregular hours for service industries that support tech giants’ success.

Ben Field, Exec. officer of the South Bay Labor Council addresses demonstrators at Apple

Ben Field, Exec. officer of the South Bay Labor Council addresses demonstrators at Apple

Apple’s security contractor, Security Industry Specialist, is under federal and municipal investigation for allegedly denying security officers at Amazon a voice on the job and violating their right to earned sick days.

At the march, Jackson and workers demanded a commitment to responsible contracting from the tech giant as they expand their quest to make Apple’s promise of inclusion and acceptance for all a reality for the low-paid service workers who provide security, janitorial, and landscaping services in Silicon Valley. Continue reading

Urge Apple to Fix Silicon Valley’s REAL Diversity Problem

 Reverend Jesse Jackson will speak at a rally this Thursday in support of low wager workers in tech
Reverend Jesse Jackson will speak at a rally this Thursday in support of low wage workers in tech

By SEIU California

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is standing with working families to call for good quality jobs at Silicon Valley high tech companies.  Those companies have a diversity problem, alright. But it’s not what you think.

After months of watching high-tech companies disclose their employees’ demographics in response to public pressure from Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and other leaders, many of us had gotten the idea that the tech industry is driven primarily by white and Asian employees.

Most companies disclosed that their black and Hispanic employees made up only 3 to 4 percent of their workforce combined.

But it turns out that tech’s diversity problem isn’t a lack of workers of color. It’s a lack of economic balance.

As USA Today reported, for every tech job created, four service workers are needed to support it. But service workers are hired by outside contractors, in a segregated system which brings down wages and hurts our economy.

These service workers are primarily black and Latino

The Wall Street Journal called them Silicon Valley’s ‘Invisible Workforce.’

Silicon Valley security officers aren’t planning to stay in the shadows. They are uniting to improve the quality of their jobs, and strengthen the region’s economy.

And now Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and his organization, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is also standing with them. In November, Reverend Jackson wrote Apple a letter urging them to choose a responsible security that will help create a better future for security officers and their families. Will you also sign the letter?

Service workers are vital to big tech’s success. When we do right by them, our communities prosper. The tech industry can afford to ensure their service contractors contribute to a healthy Silicon Valley.

DoubleTree Engineers Strike for Fair Wages


The DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in San Jose wants to impose lower wages and retirement benefits on its maintenance engineers.  These are the workers who strive to make sure the infrastructure of the Airport hotel runs smoothly in the areas of heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and fire safety.

The engineers at the DoubleTree are on strike for a fair contract and they need your help.  The DoubleTree Hilton in San Jose wants to force lower wages and retirement benefits by pushing their engineers onto the street. Let’s show them that this local union will not give up on the wages and benefits structure that we’ve worked for decades to achieve.   Please support your brother engineers by walking the picket line with them in solidarity.

WHERE:         The DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in San Jose
                        2050 Gateway Place, San Jose

 WHEN:          Everyday beginning December 1, 2014
                        7:00 am – 7:00 pm


Labor Union Picks Food Fight Over Intel Cafeteria Contractors

intel-headquarters-santa-clara-600xx640-427-0-27By Jason McCormick
Silicon Valley Business Journal 

Only days after approval of unionization among Facebook Inc.’s contract bus drivers, the Unite Here union has called for Intel Corp. to protect the jobs of cafeteria workers who may be impacted by a change in catering companies running the facility.

Though the labor organizer claimed that Intel could require Guckenheimer Services LLC, its new corporate food manager, to retain the 70 employees of Bon Appetit Management Co. that currently serve in Intel’s cafeterias, the chipmaker said it cannot insert itself in a dispute between the union and employers.

Both sides of the disagreement said in separate statements to the Silicon Valley Business Journal Monday that new employment opportunities are available for existing workers.

Unite Here said that the Bon Appetit’s employees at Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara were informed that a new manager will take over food services for Intel Thursday. Seventy cafeteria workers could lose their jobs on Thanksgiving Day, according to the labor union.

“This is a story about the hardship that these workers will suffer because of Intel’s inaction,” said Enrique Fernandez, the president of Unite Here Local 19 and a member of Working Partnerships USA’s board of directors.

Derecka Mehrens, the executive director of Working Partnerships USA, also supports the cafeteria workers. “It’s incumbent upon Intel to make sure its employees, contract or otherwise, are treated fairly and responsibly,” she said in a statement to the Business Journal. “The company’s lack of action is a stark reminder of the realities faced by Silicon Valley’s invisible workforce, who serve, protect and clean at these companies.”

Read the full story HERE.

Facebook Bus Drivers to Unionize with Teamsters as Unions Pressure Tech Companies

Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Contract shuttle-bus drivers who serve Facebook Inc.’s employees voted 43-28 Wednesday to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, marking a victory in Silicon Valley for one of America’s largest labor unions.

Of the 87 shuttle-bus drivers who work for Loop Transportation, 43 voted in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853, the San Leandro-based offices of the international labor organization. The union’s organizing efforts come as a tech boom generates profits for shareholders, high salaries for local technology workers and elevates the cost of living in Silicon Valley.

The new arrangement, the latest step in an ongoing push by labor unions to engage with tech companies, could point to a model for organized labor among contractors of local tech firms, such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

“These companies need to step up and stop demanding the lowest bid contract,” said Rome Aloise, a vice president with the Teamsters union and the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, in a statement released Wednesday. “They need to all agree to pay their contractors an amount that allows the union to negotiate for decent wages and benefits. Of all the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those that help make them successful.”

In October, Aloise said in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that even though some of the drivers employed by the social network’s contractor work as many as 15 hours per day, they can’t afford to live in the area, one of the country’s most expensive.

Though Loop Transportation may object to the election’s result with the National Labor Relations Board during the seven-day cool-down period now in effect, the company recognized the outcome Wednesday in favor of collective bargaining.

“Loop Transportation respects the election results and the decision of our drivers who service Facebook,” said Jeff Leonoudakis, the CEO of Loop Transportation, in an emailed statement. “Even though we don’t feel that our drivers’ interests are best served by union representation, our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process.”

Leonoudakis said that the $17-$25 take-home hourly wage for drivers of Loop Transportation’s full-size motor coaches is among the best in the bus industry.

At the $25 per hour rate, a driver would gross $52,000 a year if he or she took no vacations and had no sick days. Silicon Valley’s median income is now $94,572, 43 percent higher than the typical U.S. household.

Ben Field, the executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal earlier this year that unions plan to campaign to improve the wages and benefits of security officers and other contractors who work on the local campuses of multinational technology corporations, such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc.