Walmart is hosting a manufacturing summit in Denver this week as part of its new program to supposedly invest in products made in America for its stores across the country. The retailer is claiming its new plan will invest $250 billion over the next decade and create 1 million jobs. We’re not buying it.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addressed Walmart’s summit and announcement:
But workers will not benefit from a Walmart-ification of our manufacturing sector. Jobs in the Walmart model won’t restore America’s middle class or build shared prosperity given the company’s obsession with low labor costs and undermining American labor standards. And the company’s ‘commitment’ to American manufacturing is meaningless unless it actually increases the proportion of its products that are American-made.
Here are five reasons why Walmart’s plan is nonsense: Continue reading
A bill authored by Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno) seeks to stop our progress in cleaning up our air and creating family-sustaining jobs. We need to prevent this. Delaying the implementation of AB 32—California’s landmark clean energy jobs and climate change legislation—will hurt working families and the environment.
Every day, working families and disadvantaged communities bear the brunt of pollution and climate change. AB 32 will save $8.3 billion in pollution-related health costs from avoided hospital visits and sick days.
AB 32 will also deliver cleaner fuels and more fuel-efficient vehicles—that means more miles to the gallon, less money spent at the pump, and less pollution.
At the same time, it will create family-sustaining jobs while helping working families by funding better transit, building more affordable housing, and constructing projects for high-speed rail, water and energy efficiency projects, and increased recycling.
California doesn’t have to choose between clean air and good jobs; with AB 32 we can and will have both.
President Obama continues his Year of Action today signing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order. This order will require that prospective federal contractors with contracts over $1 million disclose past labor law violations and will create a framework for how federal agencies should consider such violations. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are roughly 24,000 businesses with federal contracts, employing about 28 million workers. Most significantly, the order bans federal contractors from forcing employees to give up their ability to seek justice in court through mandatory arbitration clauses workers are forced to sign as a condition of employment. The executive order also requires contractors to provide employees with a stub containing detailed info about their pay, taxes, withholdings, and other payment information.
Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League made the following statement:
“Time and again, President Obama has demonstrated that if Congress is unable or unwilling to act to protect American workers, he will. Today marks another important step for increasing workplace protections. In order to know if they’re being paid properly, employees need to have access to the hours worked, including overtime hours, taxes, fees, and any paycheck deductions. This order will end the practice of employees being forced to sign mandatory arbitration agreements with employers. We commend the President and DOL for compelling contractors to treat workers fairly as a condition of getting access to federal contracts and being paid with taxpayer dollars under these contracts.”
It 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
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.
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.
As 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
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.