New Law Protects Temp Workers’ Rights

CA Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, author of AB 1897

CA Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, author of AB 1897

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1897 into law yesterday, Sunday September 29th. This new law, authored by Assemblyman Roger Hernández , which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, will hold companies accountable for serious violations of workers’ rights on their premises that are committed by their own labor suppliers.

No longer can employers hide behind unscrupulous contractors.  Workers, no matter if they are temporary or permanent can now hold companies accountable when subcontractors violate wage, workplace safety or workers’ compensation rules.

“This bill will help to make sure I have someone to go to when I need help at work,” said Jose Gonzalez, a temp worker who has worked at Taylor Farms for ten years.  ”The company receiving my labor can no longer say they’re not responsible for my injuries.” Read more about the conditions at Taylor Farms here.

A big thank you to the workers, particularly from Taylor Farms, who bravely stood and told their stories of being temp workers time and time again, who allowed Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay Labor Council to support them and who fought so hard to get to this moment.  And another big thank you to the allies who joined us for townhalls, met with legislators and who wrote letters to Governor Brown.  Without you all, we would not have gotten to this point.

This victory would not have been possible without the work and commitment of the incredible team at the California Labor Federation and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The labor movement in California is truly leading the nation on corporate accountability and worker protections for the most vulnerable in our state. Our team is proud to support this campaign and the on-going efforts to organize California’s immigrant food chain workers.

As one of the Taylor Farms workers in Tracy said…”si se pudo! (yes we did!)”

November 4th is Coming. Vote!

Today is National Voter Registration Day and while volunteers around the country will be on street corners, outside of groceries stores, at bus and subway stops and elsewhere to help people register, you can get started right now, right here with just one click.

If we’re going to beat back the attack on working families by the likes of Mitch McConnell, Scott Walker, the Koch brothers and other extremists, all of us—you and your family and friends—must be registered to vote.

The AFL-CIO has teamed up with TurboVote to make voting easy for you and for your friends and family. Not only can you register or update your registration, but TurboVote will help you with absentee ballots, vote-by-mail information, finding your polling place and even sending reminders by email and text so you won’t forget to vote.

In the past few years, 22 states have passed new laws restricting the right to vote and changing voter registration rules. So even if you’re already registered, you should double check that you and the people most important to you are prepared to vote this year. Have you moved since last Election Day? Make sure you’re registered to vote at your new address. Maybe your friends have moved recently and need to update their voting information.

It’s easy. Click here to get started.

Obama Hits At Companies Moving Overseas to Avoid Taxes

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By Lori Montgomery 
The Washington Post
The Obama administration took action Monday to discourage corporations from moving their headquarters abroad to avoid U.S. taxes, announcing new rules designed to make such transactions significantly less profitable.

The rules, which take effect immediately, will make it harder for U.S. firms to bring cash earned abroad back to the United States tax-free and to take advantage of other benefits of foreign relocation.

But the rules would not block the practice, known as tax “inversion,” and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew again called on Congress to enact more far-reaching reforms.

“These first, targeted steps make substantial progress in constraining the creative techniques used to avoid U.S. taxes, both in terms of meaningfully reducing the economic benefits of inversions after the fact, and when possible, stopping them altogether,” Lew said in a written statement.

No Labor Peace for Hotel on City Land: Candidates Differ With Council Members Over Labor Policy

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by Daniel DeBolt

In a closed-door meeting last week about a hotel and office development proposed for city land at 750 Moffett Blvd., Mountain View’s City Council decided against a “labor peace” requirement that would have allowed union organizing to go on at the hotel without interference.

 All seven City Council members refused to comment about the decision for the city’s lease of the “Moffett Gateway” site this week, citing Brown Act provisions allowing real estate negotiations to happen behind closed doors. “Council has directed staff to not pursue a labor peace agreement requirement as a part of the project,” announced City Attorney Jannie Quinn at the end of the Sept. 9 council meeting, adding that her announcement was not required by law, either.

“It appears that the council majority chose added city revenue over the right to bargain for fair pay and decent working conditions,” said City Council candidate Lenny Siegel. “Since the city is in effect the indirect employer, the city is driving down pay.” Continue reading

Former SJ Top Cops Condemn City Leadership for Exodus

Six former San Jose Police Chiefs have endorsed Dave Cortese for mayor and four of them sat down with the media to deliver an unprecedented warning and criticism of current city leadership. They called for a new direction and an end to the war being waged on public safety officers that has driven 911 response times to 20 minutes and caused 400 officers to leave SJ. Special thanks to Chief Lansdowne, Wheatley, Davis and Moore for their honesty and courage to speak out today. Click on the links below to see the coverage.

Former San Jose Police chiefs (l-r) Chris Moore, Tom Wheatley, Bill Lansdowne, Rob Davis

Former San Jose Police chiefs (l-r) Chris Moore, Tom Wheatley, Bill Lansdowne, Rob Davis

ABC 7 News 

Department in turmoil and current city leaders to blame say former San Jose top cops

NBC Bay Area

Former chiefs blame Reed and Measure B for Exodus

KNTV Channel 2

Former SJPD Chiefs call out city in crisis

Gov. Brown Signs Landmark Paid Sick Days Measure

CA Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez comments after Gov. Brown signed Paid Sick Day legislation she authored

CA Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez comments after Gov. Brown signed Paid Sick Day legislation she authored

Today, California made history. By signing AB 1522 ,the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, to allow California workers the ability to earn three paid sick days per year, Gov. Brown reaffirmed our state’s role as a national leader in advancing the fundamental rights of working people. California is now just the second state in the country to require that workers are able to earn a few paid sick days per year. This law should spur national discussion on paid sick days, creating a path for the United States to join more than 130 other countries around the globe in providing this basic right to workers.

By signing this important bill into law, the Governor put an end to the cruel Hobson’s choice that more than 6.5 million workers face when deciding whether to go to work sick or lose wages that keep food on the table for their families. This law protects workers and consumers, and is vital to public health.

San Jose saw strong support for the paid sick leave legislation in August during an Assembly Select Hearing conducted via Skype by the bill’s author, Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez. Testimony on the need for such a law came from a variety of workers in low wage jobs throughout Silicon Valley. The bill also drew strong support from the California Labor Federation, which worked to guide it through the CA Legislature.

While this law is a historic step forward, California’s unions won’t rest until every single worker in our state receives equal access to paid sick days. Home care workers, like all workers, deserve the opportunity to earn paid sick days on the job. We’ll continue to fight for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers to ensure that California treats all workers with fairness and dignity.

The new law will ensure workers are able to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and employers will have the option of capping an employee’s paid sick leave at three days.  The law goes into effect in July 2015.

Parts of  this post first appeared on CaLaborFed.org

AFL-CIO Endorses Staples Boycott

When some labor disputes with businesses cannot be resolved, the AFL-CIO supports its affiliates by endorsing their boycotts. A boycott is an act of solidarity by voluntarily abstaining from the purchase or use of a product or service.

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Last year, the U.S. Postal Service entered into a short-sighted and ill-conceived agreement with Staples to place postal retail units at select Staples stores across the country.

This “pilot program” is the first step in an attempt to privatize the Postal Service, a proud American institution that has been free of corporate influence since its founding, when Benjamin Franklin became the nation’s first postmaster general.

DON’T PUT YOUR MAIL IN THE HANDS OF CORPORATE AMERICA. SIGN THE PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT STAPLES.

These knock-off postal units are not staffed by professional, well-trained, uniformed U.S. Postal Service employees sworn to safeguard your mail, but with Staples employees whose primary job responsibility is to sell you Staples merchandise.

Stand in solidarity with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and its highly trained and professional U.S. Postal Service employees and boycott Staples, Staples Advantage and its branded proprietary products.

Members Pack Annual Labor Day Celebration

Affiliated members of the South Bay Labor Council and their families enjoyed a day of great food, sunshine and good company in the beautiful environs of San Jose's Alum Rock Park

Affiliated members of the South Bay Labor Council and their families enjoyed a day of great food, sunshine and good company in the beautiful environs of San Jose’s Alum Rock Park

Great turnout for our 2nd Annual Labor Day Picnic.  We’d like to thank our dedicated and hard working union locals for their support and help to make this fun event a success:

Carpenters Local 405, Plumbers Local 393, Ironworkers Local 377, IFPTE Local 21, Laborers Local 270, Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, UFCW Local 5, Unite Here Local 19, SEIU-USWW

Click here to see a slideshow of the picnic.