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Campaign Kick-Off on Sept. 10th!

The South Bay Labor Council will be kicking off its official general election campaign on Saturday, September 10th at 9 ...

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Candidate and Town Hall Forums on Senior Issues

Join the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) for a Candidate and Town Hall Forum on Senior Issues. The event ...

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Opportunity to Work Initiative Headed to November Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       SAN JOSE, CA – Today, the San Jose ...

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South Bay Labor Movement Reacts to Supreme Court DACA/DAPA Ruling

SAN JOSE – After hearing the ruling on the United States v. Texas, Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay ...

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Working People United Against Hate

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre released the following statement today in response to the ...

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Featured post

Campaign Kick-Off on Sept. 10th!

The South Bay Labor Council will be kicking off its official general election campaign on Saturday, September 10th at 9 AM at the Labor Temple! Breakfast will provided by the Carpenters Local 405.

Join us to make sure that our message gets out!


Opportunity to Work Initiative Headed to November Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

SAN JOSE, CA – Today, the San Jose City Council voted to place the Opportunity to Work Initiative on the November 2016 ballot.  Dozens of hourly San Jose workers were joined by business, community, religious and labor leaders, and public policy experts at City Hall to testify as to how the passage of this measure would impact their lives. This is the first initiative of its kind, aimed at providing part-time employees across all industries access to the work hours needed for a reliable, livable paycheck.

“Surviving as a part-time fast food worker in Silicon Valley is virtually impossible.  In the past year, my work hours have been cut by one third, with those hours going to new part-time employees that are being hired. My schedule is unpredictable, making it impossible to get another job and support my family,” said Maria Najera, a 66 year old grandmother who has worked in the fast food industry for 20 years. “My daughter, a mother of two, has multiple jobs and is going to school to better herself.  We all live together and have to work so that we can make ends meet, yet we still struggle. Having access to more work hours would change our lives. We would be able to meet our basic needs, provide for the children and not have to worry about where our next meal is coming from.”

A report released in April of this year exposed the widespread crisis of underemployment in San Jose. To help combat the problem locally, Opportunity to Work would require large employers with additional work hours available to offer those hours to current, qualified part-time workers before hiring new staff. It is estimated that this measure would impact 64,000 hourly employees in the City of San Jose.

“The Opportunity to Work initiative is commonsense public policy that is good for both the economy and the working families of San Jose,” said Reginald Swilley, Partner at the Minority Business Consortium. “Fair business practices that give employees the chance to earn enough to support their families, pay for their basic necessities and invest in our local economy are key to ensuring that San Jose’s businesses flourish. Opportunity to Work is vital in providing our part-time workforce with access to the hours they need to improve their living conditions and stay in our community.”

“As employers continue to shift to a part-time workforce, women and people of color, who make up the majority of the hourly workforce, are being disproportionately hurt by the lack of access to work hours. These individuals struggle because they receive lower pay, have lower rates of health insurance, and less access to promotions and career advancement,” said Angelica Ramos, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Silicon Valley. Opportunity to Work will give those workers the chance to work additional hours so that they can better support their families, pay their rent and put food on the table.”

Support for Opportunity to Work is strong among likely San Jose voters, as evidenced by a memo released by EMC Research last month. The memo found that more than three-quarters of San Jose voters support the provisions of the initiative, a level of support well above the majority needed for passage.



South Bay Labor Movement Reacts to Supreme Court DACA/DAPA Ruling

SAN JOSE – After hearing the ruling on the United States v. Texas, Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, made the following remarks:

“The Supreme Court decision is a setback for all who have fought to fix our nation’s chaotic and broken immigration system. This ruling puts millions of hard-working families at risk, subjecting them to possible exploitation and family separation. As the Labor movement, we remain committed to protecting the rights and well-being of our immigrant communities and will continue to push for commonsense policies that will enable individuals to come out of the shadows and make positive contributions to our society and economy.

We stand in opposition to anti-immigrant politicians, their allies, and their attacks on our families and communities and urge the administration to protect those immigrant workers who are exercising their workplace and civil rights.”


Working People United Against Hate

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre released the following statement today in response to the murder of 49 people at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida:

Bayard Rustin said to be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. We in the labor movement are not afraid. We are resolved to do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. The truth as we know it is both devastating and infuriating. Forty-nine souls were lost in a cowardly act of violence. These are our brothers, sisters and friends. At least one was our member.

For the LGBTQ community, clubs like Pulse are a space where people can feel safe and be their true selves. Sunday’s horrific act is a reminder of how fragile that safety can be. While we have made undeniable progress toward equality, too many in our country still face derision, discrimination and violence. These flames of hatred have been fanned by those in public life who want to marginalize an entire group of people for political gain. It’s despicable and it must stop.

But this was more than just an attack on the LGBTQ community. The victims were overwhelmingly young and Latino. Sunday’s massacre was an assault on everything our movement stands for: equality, justice, solidarity and inclusion.

It was also an extraordinarily difficult situation for our first responders, who had the traumatic job of sorting the dead from the living, effectively working in a war zone. We thank the police, firefighters and health care providers who saved lives and continue to care for the injured. We will stand with them in the trying days ahead.

Labor is one big family, made up of people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities. As a family, we will work to provide comfort to our brothers and sisters in Orlando and across the United States. And we will make it our daily mission to ensure America’s workplaces and union halls are safe and free from bigotry.

There will be some who try to use this tragedy to further divide us, to pit communities against each other and scapegoat entire faith traditions. Let us be perfectly clear: giving in to division and fear will only add insult to injury. This is a moment for us to come together, embrace our common humanity and take the necessary steps to make our country safer, stronger and more united.

The statement, originally posted on the AFL-CIO website can be found here.




Contact: Jamie Way, (303) 960-8272, Jamie@ForWorkingFamilies.org

Dianna Zamora Marroquin, (408) 606-2060, Dianna@SouthBayLabor.org

Nationwide – Yesterday, Uber and drivers came to a settlement regarding a class-action lawsuit in California and Massachusetts. While the $100M settlement left a number of issues unresolved, among the changes outlined the agreement commits Uber to recognize a drivers’ association. Today, Teamsters Joint Council 7 announced plans to support drivers, who want to launch and organize the association. Silicon Valley Rising will partner in the effort.

“This is a watershed moment for Uber drivers,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, which cofounded Silicon Valley Rising. “Through a drivers’ association, they will have a means of coming together to address issues they have at work. That will fundamentally transform drivers’ experience.”

The settlement, if approved, provides for Uber to support drivers’ associations in California and Massachusetts. Teamsters, in partnership with Silicon Valley Rising, will launch an effort to back drivers in light of this framework.

“Uber’s recognition of a drivers’ association is a step toward creating a fair and safe work environment for the company’s drivers,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council. “Because of the work done by Teamsters and Silicon Valley Rising, Uber drivers who have long fought for better workplace protections but have often been ignored, will now have access to the resources and support they need to address issues of concern at work.”

Despite being classified as independent contractors by the company, Uber drivers around the country are self-organizing. The Teamsters hope to throw their institutional resources and power behind those driver efforts. The drivers’ association will give drivers a path toward disputing issues, hours and safety requirements, benefits, legal assistance, and training normally afforded to traditional union members.

“As a transportation union, the Teamsters have a long history of dealing with drivers who are classified as independent contractors,” said Rome Aloise, Vice-President of the Teamsters and President of Joint Council 7. “Whether it’s a voice at work, better benefits, or advocacy, this association will raise standards for Uber drivers.”

Silicon Valley Rising has successfully engaged the tech industry around the issue of precarious work and won substantive gains for working people. As a result of the coalition’s efforts, Apple and Google ended their contracts with a low-road security firm and raised job standards for the security officers, while shuttle bus drivers serving companies including Apple, Google, eBay, PayPal and Yahoo have gained union representation. Extending those gains to the on-demand economy is the next step in addressing precarious work in tech.

Silicon Valley Rising and the Teamsters will be releasing more details regarding the association in the coming week.


Silicon Valley Rising is a coordinated campaign driven by an unprecedented coalition of labor, faith leaders, community based organizations and workers aiming to inspire the tech industry to build an inclusive middle class in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley Rising was cofounded by the South Bay AFL-CIO and Working Partnerships USA. 

The South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council represents ninety-seven unions and 100,000 union members in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. The Labor Council’s primary goal is to advance candidates, causes, and policies that benefit working families. 

Working Partnerships USA, a national Partnership for Working Families affiliate, is a community organization that drives the movement for a just economy by bringing together public policy innovation and the power of grassroots organizing.


Groundbreaking Opportunity to Work Initiative Filed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Contact: dianna@southbaylabor.org
January 25, 2016                                                                                      408.606.2060

 Silicon Valley Rising Committee files measure to provide part-time employees access to more work hours

SAN JOSE, CA – Today, key Silicon Valley Rising members, along with community, religious and labor leaders submitted a groundbreaking measure, the Opportunity to Work Initiative. This initiative will require employers to offer qualified part- time employees the opportunity to work additional hours before hiring new part-time or temporary employees.

The Opportunity to Work Initiative is the first measure of its kind in the country.  Although San Francisco and SeaTac have adopted similar ordinances, no previous initiative has aimed to provide part-time employees across industries access to more work hours.

“Despite the fact that I work three part-time jobs, I struggle to make ends meet. Every week the number of hours I get changes, so I am never sure what my paycheck will be,” said Sara Delete, a fast food employee. “Not having access to more work hours means that I am constantly worried about being able to provide for my son, cover my rent and pay the bills.”

“Every day I see how my parishioners struggle to make ends meet because they do not have access to sufficient work hours. This initiative would help these workers support their families by getting enough hours so that their paychecks cover their bills and they can put food on the table,” stated Fr. Jon Pedigo.

“A number of employers avoid providing healthcare and other benefits by hiring new part-time workers instead of giving more hours to current part-time employees. It’s unfair,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. The Opportunity to Work Initiative will ensure that employers offer additional work hours to current, qualified workers before hiring extra people.

“This measure will not only help low-wage workers keep up with the ever-rising cost of living in Silicon Valley, but will also help bring equity to the workplace for female hourly workers who receive fewer hours than men,” said Angelica Ramos, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus Silicon Valley.

“We are seeing so many parents working hard, willing to do whatever they can to support their families, but most part-time workers are unable to cover their most basic needs, such as food and rent, said Poncho Guevara, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Service. “When part-time workers are denied hours, they are pushed further into poverty, making it impossible for them to support their families without the safety net we provide. They want to work. The Opportunity to Work Initiative would help many of the families that we serve by giving them the chance to work more hours and hopefully achieve economic stability.”

“Far too many working families are struggling to get enough work hours to pay bills and put food on the table in Silicon Valley. The Opportunity to Work Initiative is about working people in this community having the opportunity to thrive and achieve a measure of stability and economic security,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA.

“The majority of individuals working part-time jobs are people of color. As such, they are disproportionately impacted by the lack of hours, low wages and non-existent benefits, said Chava Bustamante, Executive Director of Latinos United for a New America. Every day that workers are denied hours and benefits, the well-being of their families is at risk. The Opportunity to Work Initiative is an important step in raising up our hard-working minority families and providing access to work they desperately need to survive. 



Memorial for Don Edwards

Please join us for a memorial celebrating the life of Don Edwards. With more than thirty years of public service, Don was a champion for civil and constitutional rights. The memorial will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 1 PM at the IBEW Hall, located at 2125 Canoas Garden Avenue in San Jose, CA.  Please RSVP to info@southbaylabor.org



AFL-CIO Sets On-Demand Economy Principles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Contact: Dianna Zamora Marroquin
December 10, 2015                                                                                       408-506-5875

SAN JOSE- Earlier this week, the AFL-CIO presented a Statement of Principles on the On-Demand economy.  The principals highlighted a range of issues such as using technology to empower, not weaken workers, securing a set of ground rules for corporate responsibility, ensuring workers’ job protections and increasing access to quality, good paying jobs.

“The On-Demand economy is making access to benefits, fair pay, and quality labor standards increasingly difficult for workers,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. “The AFL-CIO’s On-Demand economy principles echo the work of Silicon Valley Rising and show how tech companies can be an integral part of building an economy that supports the rights of working families in the Bay Area.”

Silicon Valley Rising and its coalition of community, faith and labor leaders have been actively engaged in creating a tech company that workers for everyone, with a focus on affordable housing, good-paying jobs and corporate responsibility.

“The on-demand economy business model is like old wine in a new bottle. Though it’s packaged to be ‘innovative’ and ‘the future of work’ it’s really another way for employers to shirk responsibility for the working people whose labor contributes to their profits,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA. “The set of principles announced by the AFL-CIO parallels the work being done by Silicon Valley Rising to support the contract workers in the tech industry organizing for a voice on the job and a better life.”

“As someone who worked for Google Express for nearly two years, I saw how the tech companies avoided any responsibility for our health, safety, and quality of life,” said Gabriel Cardenas, a leader in Silicon Valley Rising. “The ALF-CIO’s principles are common sense ideas that would help ensure workers and their families share in the wealth being generated from their hard work.”