By Rev. Dick Gillett
Something is happening among our low-wage workers in America.
Is the ghost of the Occupy movement stirring?
Probably, but maybe more. In just one astonishing week recently, the Seattle Times—a newspaper not known for being pro-labor—featured worker protests either as the lead story or prominently in the paper:
- On July 23 in the City of SeaTac, in a meeting jammed with workers and faith leaders, the city council reluctantly qualified a Good Jobs Initiative for the November ballot. The initiative would establish the city’s minimum wage at $15 an hour for hotel, restaurant workers and others, including workers at SeaTac airport.
By Michele Siqueiros
The Campaign for College Opportunity
The key to meeting our economy’s demand for a skilled workforce lies within California’s Community Colleges. Serving over two million students annually, community colleges provide an affordable and valuable opportunity in every community across our state and serve a diverse student body. Whether a student is attending straight from high school, part time as they work a full time job and raise a family, or while searching for a new job and trying to upgrade his/her skills, community colleges are California’s gateway to higher education.
By Richard Eskow
Four years after Wall Street’s malfeasance dealt a telling blow the economy, and long after tens of billions of dollars have been paid out for banker fraud, reports say that we’re about to see the first arrests of Wall Street bank employees. What’s more, the suspects work at JPMorgan Chase – a banks which, ironically enough, politicians and pundits insisted was the “good bank” after the financial crisis hit in 2008.
In fact, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon spent years speaking out forcefully against additional bank regulation. (Lately, not so much …)
Financial cases can seem complicated. What should we think about these recent announcements in the “London Whale” case?
By Randy Shaw
As we described on July 10, the California State Legislature is moving toward passing AB 1407, an AT &T backed measure that would devastate the state’s LifeLine phone program. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee voted 6-1 in favor of the bill on July 8, and the Senate Appropriations Committee votes on August 19. AT&T is used to getting its way in Sacramento, but the 1.2 million low-income Californians whose phone rates will jump under AB 1407 are finding surprising support from influential forces.
By Dan Bacher
Some may consider California to be a "green" state and the "environmental leader" of the nation, but that delusion is quickly dispelled once one actually looks at who spends the most on lobbying in California - the oil industry.
The Western States Petroleum Association spent the most on lobbying in Sacramento in the first six months of 2013 of any interest group, according to quarterly documents released by the California Secretary of State.
The association spent $1,023,069.78 in the first quarter and $1,285,720.17 in the second quarter, a total of $2,308,789.95, to lobby legislators and other state officials.
By Lizzie Buchen
Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice
At the turn of the 20th Century, Lucy Flower, my grandmother’s great grandmother, established the world’s first juvenile court inside the Cook County courthouse in central Chicago.
Flower, who had been orphaned, was horrified by the misery and bleak futures of the city’s poorest children, and believed their criminal behaviors should be handled differently than that of adults. She and the other early “child-savers” viewed children and young teenagers as victims, neglected by their parents and by society, who still had the potential to get their lives on track. After finding success in Chicago, separate courts for young people, which focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment, were soon established nationwide.
By Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union
If 2012 was the year of the woman, 2013 is the year of the working mom. And that's why I'm headed to California.
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi along with Reps. DeLauro, Matsui and other women leaders announced a new Women's Economic Agenda, built on three key pillars for driving women's economic advancement: 1) equal pay for equal work, 2) work-family balance, including paid sick leave and a livable minimum wage, and 3) access to quality, affordable child care.
By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California
The California State Auditor’s has reported that the Public Utilities Commission’s Intervenor Compensation Program “has generally awarded compensation to intervenors – individuals and groups that represent the interests of utility ratepayers – in accordance with state law.”
The audit report - long awaited by consumer groups and utility corporations - surely dismays AT&T, Verizon and PG&E. The Intervenor Compensation Program provides consumers an effective voice before state regulators when for-profit gas, electric, telecommunications or water utilities seek unwarranted rate hikes, or rules that harm residential ratepayers.
By Claudia Viek
California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
This legislative session, California missed an opportunity to create a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program that would have created 5,200 new businesses and 15,000 new jobs - from the ranks of the unemployed. Furthermore, the State missed the opportunity to receive $5.3 million in federal funds committed to run the program.
AB 152, Self-Employment Assistance program (Yamada) would have allowed the unemployed to keep their benefits while starting their own businesses. However, the bill didn’t make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee because the Employment Development Division (EDD) estimated that the cost of the program would exceed the $5.3 million available from the federal government.
By Gary Cohn
For more than 30 years each, Cheryl Smith-Vincent and Cheryl Ortega have shared a passion for teaching public school in Southern California. Smith-Vincent teaches third grade at Miles Avenue Elementary School in Huntington Park; before retiring, Ortega taught kindergarten at Logan Street Elementary School in Echo Park. Both women have been jolted by experiences with a little-known statewide policy that requires traditional public schools to share their facilities with charter schools. Ortega says she has seen charter-school children warned against greeting non-charter students who attend the same campus. Smith-Vincent reports that she and her students were pushed out of their classroom prior to a round of important student tests – just to accommodate a charter school that needed the space.