SEIU

Twelve years after BART train kills mechanic, lighting and electrical safety not improved

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When BART maintenance workers train under safety instructor Saul Almanza, the most important thing they learn is this: your objective when you go to work is to come home. Read more »

The Lusty Lady's last night, and a eulogy

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Here’s a toast to you, Lusty Lady. You were daring, you were seductive, you glittered. Your halls were dingy, but your women were badass, punky, and purple-haired. You were consummately San Francisco. Read more »

The right to transgender health care

Labor takes the lead

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OPINION When I first came out as a transgender man in the mid 1990s, I quickly realized that I would have to pay out-of-pocket for the health care I needed.

Nearly every insurance plan has outdated exclusions that bar transgender people from receiving medically necessary health care. Everything from cancer screenings to the care related to gender transition is commonly excluded, despite being provided without exclusion to non-transgender health insurance customers.Read more »

Union divisions

SEIU Local 1021 fights with employers — and its own employees — over salary and benefit cuts

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steve@sfbg.com

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 strenuously resists the wage and benefit givebacks regularly demanded in recent years by employers, including the city of San Francisco, which is now trying to slash the salaries for more than 40 city job classifications.

At the same time, Local 1021 is asking its own employees for benefit givebacks during new contract negotiations, a move that their own union is blasting as hypocritical.Read more »

Dick Meister: Michigan is just the beginning

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By Dick Meister
Bay Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Be alert, American workers: The passage of right-to-work legislation in Michigan means serious trouble for unions and their supporters everywhere. Yet there's legitimate hope that it also could lead to a revitalized labor movement.

You can be sure the action by Michigan, long one of the country's most heavily unionized states, home of the pioneering and pace-setting United Auto Workers and iconic labor leader Walter Reuther, will inspire anti-labor forces in other states to try to enact right-to-work laws. Read more »

Dick Meister: Home care workers need presidential help

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By Dick Meister

Bay Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The country's 2½ million home care workers have been waiting a whole year now for President Obama to make good on his promise to grant them the federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections they so badly need.

The need for immediate presidential action was made abundantly clear in a letter to the White House on Dec. 13 that was released by the National Employment Law Project – NELP, as it's called. The signers include people who are receiving home care, those who employ them and those who provide the care.

NELP's figures show that the average national wage of home care workers, including those working at for-profit home care agencies, is $9.40 an hour. Which means that one in five caregivers live at or below the poverty level, even in the 21 states with minimum wage and overtime laws that cover them. Read more »

Dick Meister: A free choice for U.S. workers

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom,  has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Now that the electioneering and political posturing is done with, it's time for President Obama and congressional Democrats to finally deliver on their promises to enact the long delayed Employee Free Choice Act that's at the very top of organized labor's political agenda.

EFCA, as it's sometimes called, has been stalled in Congress for three years. It would give U.S. workers the unfettered right to unionization that would raise their economic and political status considerably.  But that would come at the expense of employers, who have been able to block a large majority of workers from exercising the union rights that labor law has long promised workers.

EFCA would in essence strengthen the 78-year-old National Labor Relations Act – the NLRA – to make it easier for workers to form and join unions.  Which is the clearly stated purpose of the NLRA. Read more »

Dick Meister: Labor's big day

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED/TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Now that the election dust has settled, it's clear that organized labor was a big winner locally, statewide and nationally.

In San Francisco, more than half the winning candidates for local office had labor backing, as did all local candidates for state office and all but two of the winning city propositions.

Labor did as well statewide, with voters soundly rejecting State Prop 32 that would have greatly diminished unions' political strength.  Defeating the proposition was by far labor's most important election goal. Read more »

Janitors continue pressure as negotiations' close draws near

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As contract negotiations with several employers come to an end August 1, the SEIU Local 87 janitors union has been coming out in force. More than 1,000 rallied in Union Square and marched over the weekend. Today, 500 janitors marched through the financial district.

“If we don’t get no contract, you don’t get no peace,” the crowd chanted as it marched down Market, before turning on First towards Mission. The group periodically stopped to picket intersections. Read more »

Corporations are people, but I guess unions aren't

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So seven of the Supreme Court Justices, including all of the ones who voted for corporate free speech in Citizens United, have decided that unions aren't the same as corporations and don't have the same political rights.Read more »