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California

Frontier Strikes Get First Aid Kits Updated, Win Back Work

“Safety first” is a principle you’ll always hear on the job. And it’s true—safety can save your life, if it’s taken seriously. But if action isn’t taken, it’s just an empty phrase. When my co-workers and I took action over safety in our workplace, we were retaliated against. This triggered the most useful tool that we have as workers: a strike. A little background: 2,000 telecom workers from eight locals of the Communications Workers (CWA) at Frontier in California have been working without a contract since last September. We’re fighting for our first non-concessionary contract in 17 years! While bargaining goes on, we’re working under the terms of a contract that Verizon and CWA agreed to in 2016. (When Frontier acquired the areas of California, Texas, and Florida, it agreed to uphold the same contract.)

Labor, Groups Demand Transparency In Indo-Pacific Trade Negotiations

Los Angeles, California - As trade ministers from fourteen countries meet in Los Angeles today for behind-closed-door negotiations on the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade agreement, labor and other civil society organizations rallied outside urging that proposals for the pact be released for public scrutiny and that the deal not be rigged in favor of Big Tech monopolies and other corporate interests. “Our message today is very simple: the public deserves the right to know what IPEF negotiators are proposing in our names,” said Will Jamil Wiltschko, director of the California Trade Justice Coalition, which helped organize the demonstration.

Los Angeles Is Creating A Model For Fighting Mass Incarceration

Los Angeles, California - In the late spring and summer of 2020, protests for racial justice erupted in response to the police murder of George Floyd. Mobilizations spread throughout the country and continued for months, producing what scholars identified as arguably the largest wave of mass protest in U.S. history. However, as with other surges of popular uprising, the actions died down over time. At that point, critics claimed that protesters made a lot of noise and drew public attention but were unable to translate their discontent into concrete policy gains. When the moment of peak protest passed, these detractors held, the movement disappeared with little to show for its efforts.

How Oakland Tenants Forced Their Landlord To Turn Over The Keys

Oakland, California - When Maria Montes de Oca and her family moved into their apartment in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland fourteen years ago, there were already problems. The apartment clearly hadn’t been maintained; the carpet was stained and damaged, and neither the stove nor the fridge worked. Later on, there were cockroach infestation and mold issues. When Maria tried to get the landlord, Calvin Wong, to carry out repairs or fumigate, he would ignore her requests or tell her he’d use her security deposit to pay for it — a practice that’s illegal in California. Yet in spite of the mounting maintenance and habitability issues, the rent kept going up.

Activists To Rally Against Renewed Logging In State Forest

California - Community, environmental and tribal activists opposed to renewed logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest plan to rally in the forest Sunday and warn of potential civil disobedience in the future. The notice comes in response to a Cal Fire announcement that tree cutting would resume as early as this week on at least one of four incomplete timber harvest plans in the Mendocino County forest. Those plans were recently revised to halt removal of the largest trees. The return of logging crews ends an eight-month pause on tree removal that allowed state officials to start rethinking priorities for the nearly 50,000-acre forest and begin negotiations with local tribes that are seeking co-management rights.

Oakland, CA: Tenants Demand Repairs, Declare Rent Strike

Oakland, California - Tenants of 180-unit Oakland apartment building Merritt on 3rd are collectively refusing rent Sept. 1 until the landlord meets demands related to chronic habitability issues. The Merritt on 3rd Tenant Council and Tenant and Neighborhood Councils (TANC) present speakers and banners at a rally at the 1130 3rd Ave. building on Tues., Aug 30, 6pm. The Merritt on 3rd Tenant Council formed in June, 2022 to address building deterioration, mismanagement, and high rent imposed by landlord Kennedy Wilson and FPI Management. Habitability issues resulting from the landlord’s neglect include a rat infestation evident up to the 11th floor; hot water and elevator outages; code-deficient fire safety; mold and sewage leaks.

2,000 Frontier Communications Workers Just Won A Strike

For the past week, roughly 2,000 telecom workers at Frontier Communications in Southern California have been out on a unfair labor practice strike over a grievance stemming from the company’s continued reliance on subcontracting at the expense of union employees’ job security. The Frontier workers, affiliated with the Communication Workers of America District 9, walked out last Friday across eight locals representing technicians, call center employees, dispatchers, clerks, mechanics, and construction workers. On Wednesday night, Aug. 23, Thomas Ham, a fiber-optic technician with Local 9588, announced on Twitter that the grievance with Frontier had been settled and workers would be reporting to work Thursday morning.

REI Workers At Berkeley Store Vote To Unionize In Another Win For Labor

Berkeley, California - REI employees in Berkeley, California, have formed the outdoor retailer’s second union, extending a winning streak for organized labor at largely non-union companies. Workers at the Berkeley store voted 56 to 38 in favor of joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in a mail-in election this month, according to a vote count held Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board. Employees at REI’s store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City were the first to unionize earlier this year. “As we have said throughout this process, REI believes in the right of every employee to vote for or against union representation,” the company said in a statement following the vote count. “We fully supported the vote process in Berkeley and will continue to support our employees going forward.”

Immigrant Detainees Strike Over $1 A Day Pay, Working Conditions

At two federal detention centers in California, more than 50 immigrant workers are on strike over unsafe working conditions and low wages. “We are being exploited for our labor and are being paid $1 per day to clean the dormitories,” said strikers at a central California detention center in a June statement received by public radio station KQED. Detained workers, known as “housing porters,” participate in a supposedly volunteer working program while locked up. They use their earnings to pay for the exorbitant cost of phone calls and commissary items like dental floss and tortillas. “They are compelled to do this,” says Alan Benjamin, a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council who heard directly from striking workers during a call with the labor council. “It's not voluntary; it's compulsory work, without proper sanitation and equipment.”

Black Angelenos Face ‘Whiplash After Whiplash’ Of Losing Safe Housing

This morning, the Los Angeles City Council got an earful from protestors opposing an expansion of LA Municipal Code ordinance 41.18, the city’s controversial “anti-camping” law that has been maligned by activists for unfairly targeting unhoused people. The law will now include a ban on sitting, laying, or sleeping within 500 feet of schools or daycares. The council voted 11-3 to approve the expansion after a raucous meeting, which was temporarily put into recess when a member of the public climbed over the podium and was handcuffed. Reporter Adam Mahoney spoke to unhoused residents about what they thought of the law. He says he received mixed responses for his recent Capital B news investigation. “There are some folks who didn't even know that 41.18 existed, right?

California Farmworkers Begin 335-Mile March For Voting Rights

California - On Wednesday, around 250 farmworkers and their supporters took their first steps of a 24-day Delano-to-Sacramento march to demand more voting options for farmworkers when casting a ballot on unionization. The march, organized by United Farm Workers, or UFW, has been billed as the “March for the Governor’s Signature,” a reference to demands that California Gov. Gavin Newsom sign a new bill meant to protect farmworkers from voter suppression by employers. “California is a very wealthy state and agriculture contributes to that wealth, but farmworkers continue to be poor and their families suffer — that’s what we need to change,” Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW, told a crowd of marchers gathered at Forty Acres, the site of UFW’s original headquarters in Delano.

Kaiser Permanente Therapists To Strike

California - Mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente announced plans Tuesday for an open-ended strike that could lead as many as 2,000 Northern California mental health workers to curtail appointments beginning on Aug. 15. The announcement came in response to frustration with the level of service provided to patients at the nation’s largest nonprofit HMO, which Capital & Main reported on in a recent story. As a result of understaffing, patients who should receive weekly therapy are waiting months to start treatment and as long as two months between appointments in violation of clinical guidelines, according to a statement released by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which represents the workers. (Disclosure: NUHW is a financial supporter of this website.)

Court Rejects Google’s Attempt to Dismiss Rumble’s Antitrust Lawsuit

California - A federal district court in California on Friday denied Google's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Silicon Valley giant is violating federal antitrust laws by preventing fair competition against its YouTube video platform. The lawsuit against Google, which has owned YouTube since its 2006 purchase for $1.65 billion, was brought in early 2021 by Rumble, the free speech competitor to YouTube. Its central claim is that Google's abuse of its monopolistic stranglehold on search engines to destroy all competitors to its various other platforms is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it unlawful to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize…any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.”

COVID Ignites Long Fight For Health Care In California Prisons

California - The COVID pandemic has thrown a harsh light on long-running medical neglect of incarcerated people and exposed the hold that the prison-industrial complex has on California politics. But even as it has done so, it has made openings for activism by and on behalf of the nearly 100,000 people in the state’s prisons, among whom people of color are dramatically overrepresented. California’s state prisons are once again in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis. In Winter 2020, cumulative infections among the incarcerated population topped 45,000, and cases reached over 10,000 in a single day. One year later, the highly contagious omicron variant swept through all the institutions, with cases topping 6,000 in a single day. No sooner had that outbreak subsided than a new wave of cases hit.

Congresswoman Karen Bass And The Will To Intervene

Los Angeles, California - What will it mean if the Vice Chair of the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) becomes the Mayor of Los Angeles? Meaning, of course, Karen Bass, the current Vice Chair of that soft power tool, who is also Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa. Come November, the Black Congresswoman representing parts of Los Angeles will most likely become its mayor, having pulled well ahead of Rick Caruso, the billionaire real estate developer who spent more than $41 million on his primary campaign. Bass spent a mere $3.28 million but still finished ahead of Caruso, with 43% of the vote compared to his 36%. Bass and Caruso were the two candidates left standing after LA’s top-two primary in June.
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