Worker Rights


Wage Theft Confidential: Do Laws Work?

By Seth Sandronsky

California has roughly a dozen labor codes governing wage-theft on the books, with more proposed each year in the state legislature. Are these laws proving effective? Fausto Hernandez is one worker who doesn't think they are. The 55-year-old native of Oaxaca, Mexico, has labored in the carwash business for a decade.

Ebola: Support Nurses, Urge President and Congress to Protect Workers

By Chuck Idelson

National Nurses Union

We are in the midst of the worst Ebola epidemic in history-- over 4,500 deaths globally and now two U.S. nurses are infected. RNs from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Duncan died describe a chaotic and unprepared environment where workers and patients were not adequately protected. "There was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol. There was no system."

Trucking Companies to California: Your Laws Don't Apply to Us

By Jon Zerolnick

LAANE

Several leading port trucking companies have taken a bold new position in the ongoing battle over whether or not they are misclassifying drivers as independent contractors. In recent filings with the U.S. District Court, they have attempted to position themselves as beyond the reach of California’s employee protection laws. In effect, they are saying that whether or not they are misclassifying drivers there is nothing the State of California can do about it.

Want to Cut Food Stamp Spending? Raise the Minimum Wage

By Dave Johnson

Today, President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. On Thursday, fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here’s something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.

The Minimum Wage

It's Not Safe Out There

By Leo Gerard

United Steelworkers

Anthony Tenny told Clearwater Paper several times that he was concerned about working in excessive red cedar dust at its Lewiston, Idaho, sawmill. But nothing changed. So he reported his fears to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Within a month of OSHA inspecting the plant, Clearwater fired Mr. Tenny ­– despite his six-year tenure, supervisors’ praise and promotions. Five days after Clearwater sacked Mr. Tenny, another worker, John Bergen III, a 10-year Clearwater veteran, died after inadvertently stepping into a gaping opening in the floor of the adjacent paper products plant.

Fast Food With A Side Of Poverty, And What It Costs Us

By Derek Pugh

A new report from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley estimates that low-wage jobs in the fast-food sector are costing American taxpayers nearly $7 billion every year.

The report—Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast Food Industry—highlights the negative effects low-wage jobs have on the American economy and public. Workers in the fast-food industry are subjected to low pay with no benefits, forcing them to rely on public assistance programs to survive. The median worker is paid a mere $8.69 an hour, with many making at or near the minimum wage, and 87 percent do not receive health insurance through their employer.

Finishing the March for Livable Wages

By Terrance Heath

Fast food workers in 60 cities walked off the job on Friday, in the biggest strike ever to hit the $200 billion dollar fast food industry. The strike affected over 1,000 restaurants, and in some cities fast food workers were joined by retail workers from stores like Macy’s, Sears, Walgreen’s, and Victoria’s Secret.

For Any Working Mom, Child Care Is Essential

Mary Kay HenryBy 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.

Don't Fire California Teachers for Private Marijuana Use

Amanda ReimanBy Amanda Reiman
Drug Policy Alliance

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Behind a veiled claim of protecting the public, collateral sanctions continue to be heaped upon those arrested for using drugs. While these policies may be well intentioned, they are creating an inter-generational chain reaction that unjustly impacts entire communities for decades to come.

AB 10: Time is Ripe for California to Raise the Minimum Wage

By Martin J. Bennett

The New York Times recently characterized the economic recovery that officially began in 2009 as a "golden era for corporate profits." Indeed, corporate profits doubled between 2008 and 2011 and reached a record high.

However, these increased profits have fueled inequality and come at the expense of worker compensation. Profits are now a larger share of total national income, and wages and benefits are a smaller share than at any time since the 1960s.

Over the last four decades productivity gains have overwhelmingly accrued to business and not labor. The Economic Policy Institute calculates that between 1973-2011 productivity increased by 80 percent, but median hourly compensation by only 11 percent.