Sunnyvale Joins MV in Boosting Minimum Wage


By Daniel DeBolt / Mountain View Voice

Last week Mountain View City Council members said they hoped Sunnyvale and other nearby cities would join them in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018, and now Sunnyvale appears to be doing its part.

On Tuesday evening the Sunnyvale City Council voted to approve a $10.30 minimum wage that will go into effect on Jan. 1, six month’s before the same wage takes effect in Mountain View, and joined Mountain View’s council in setting a goal of raising it to $15 by 2018.

Advocates of raising the wage in Mountain View attended the Sunnyvale meeting to encourage the council to follow Mountain View’s lead and were enthusiastic about the outcome.

“Several members of the council emphasized the importance of consistency among cities in the region for minimum wage,” said Sunnyvale communications officer Jennifer Garnett in an email, adding that the vote was 6-1 for both the boost to $10.30 next year and to set a goal of $15 by 2018, with council member Dave Whittum opposed.

The state’s minimum wage is $9 an hour and will go to $10 in 2016.

Related story: Mountain View OKs $10.30 minimum wage.

After Google and Facebook Labor wins, Silicon Valley Government Contractors Under Fire


By Lauren Hepler
Silicon Valley Business Journal

Drivers of Facebook’s Inc.’s famous shuttle buses are strategizing with Teamsters.Google Inc. is abandoning an often-maligned security contractor to hire 200 of its own guards.

Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, chalks those two recent high-profile actions up to effective organization of workers who personify Silicon Valley’s growing income gap.

“We’ve been working to up the pressure on high tech and get high-tech companies to use responsible contractors,” Field told me. “The recent attention about occupational segregation at high-tech companies has hit those companies hard.”

But Field and allied labor advocates are by no means content with rankling the reputations of multibillion-dollar tech companies. Up next for labor advocates bent on making a dent in their priority list while the economy is hot: Raising wages and improving benefits for the roughly 16,000 workers who are contracted, directly or indirectly, by Santa Clara County each year. Continue reading

5 Ways Silicon Valley’s Middle Class Could Be Saved

A new 18-month study of declining economic mobility in Silicon Valley points to several potential strategies to reverse the decline of the region's middle class, from more targeted job training to better land use.

A new 18-month study of declining economic mobility in Silicon Valley points to several potential strategies to reverse the decline of the region’s middle class, from more targeted job training to better land use.

By Lauren Hepler
Silicon Valley Business Journal

It’s not a great time to be in Silicon Valley’s middle class.

Though the region’s $94,572 median income is about 43 percent higher than the typical U.S. household, that eye-popping figure is skewed by a widening gap between high and low earners.

In fact, about 1.1 million workers in the Bay Area now make less than $18 an hour, according to a major new 18-month study of declining economic mobility in the region prepared by the nonprofit Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, urban planning group SPUR, labor think tank Working Partnerships USA and business advocacy organization the Bay Area Council.

Perhaps more concerning: Opportunities to move up are increasingly few and far between, even in meritocracy-obsessed Silicon Valley.

“A career pathway used to mean you could start at the bottom,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “We have all these Horatio Alger stories of people who started in the mail room and became president.”

But the hitch in that progression that has grown more obvious in Silicon Valley during the region’s current tech boom is the middle class, which contracted 3 percent from 2012 to 2013 alone, according to think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

The new report delves deeper into the causes of that trend and how it might be reversed. As it stands, middle-income jobs paying $18-$30 per hour are expected to grow only 22 percent by 2020, compared to 34 percent for low-wage work and 44 percent for high-paying jobs.

“Growing middle-wage jobs is sort of the core goal of a lot of this work,” Egon Terplan, senior regional planner at SPUR, told me. “We have to be somewhat proactive to make that happen. There are not obvious middle-wage industries that there may have once been.”

Read the full story HERE.

Google to Hire Its Own Security Guards After Contractor Relationship Winds Down


Jessica Guynn
USA Today

SAN FRANCISCO — Google plans to put security guards for all of its Northern California offices on its payroll and part ways with the company that used to supply them.

Google will hire about 200 security guards at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, San Francisco office and at YouTube in San Bruno, Calif., the company said. The jobs come with the same benefits as other Google employees.

Google already brought its security operations personnel, who perform a different function than the guards, onto its staff.

“Building an in-house security team is something we are excited to do,” Google spokeswoman Meghan Casserly said in a statement. “A year ago we insourced the Google security operations center and we are looking forward to making these valued positions both full- and part-time Google employees.”

Security Industry Specialists, or SIS, is the outside contractor that employees Google security guards. Tom Seltz, co-president of SIS, declined to comment.

SJPOA Releases TV/Web Commercial In Mayor’s Race “A San Jose Crime Quiz”

Today, the San Jose Police Officers Association is releasing “A San Jose Crime Quiz” in response to the evasive and inaccurate information coming from the Sam Liccardo for Mayor campaign. This is a quiz we know voters will not flunk.

“There were three mayoral debates this week and not once did Sam Liccardo take responsibility for his dismal voting record on public safety, and this commercial accurately tells the voters the facts,” said Jim Unland, President of the SJPOA.

• Sam Liccardo voted against reinstating the Burglary Investigation Unit,[1]
• Sam Liccardo has overseen 911 emergency response times soar to over 20-mimutes for priority 2 calls such as gang assaults, in-progress burglaries and domestic violence,[2]
• Sam Liccardo’s policies have driven over 400 police officers to leave the police force.[3]

[1]City Council Item 3.5- JUNE 12, 2012
[2]City Auditor Sharon Erickson; “Service Efforts and Accomplishments Report 2012-2013, Annual Report on City Government Performance, December 2013, pg. 87.
[3] City Council Item 9.1 JUNE 14, 2011; City Council Item 3.5 -JUNE 6, 2012; City Council Item 3.6 AUGUST 7, 2012

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.