Joseph Plaster

Port tack

New members of the Oakland Port Commission represent fresh perspectives on environmental concerns
|
()

news@sfbg.com

The Oakland City Council made an unprecedented move toward environmental justice Oct. 2 by appointing Margaret Gordon to the Oakland Port Commission. It is the first time that a community activist, rather than a businessperson or a political insider, has been named to that powerful body.

The action was roughly equivalent to naming Michael Moore to the board of the National Rifle Association. Read more »

Letters as leverage

Bay Area activists are leading the fight against a new Bush administration crackdown on undocumented workers
|
()

news@sfbg.com

It's a thin, seemingly innocuous letter. The Social Security Administration mails it when names and Social Security numbers don't match on an employee's I-9 form. The intent is to make sure workers receive their benefits.

But unions and immigrants have long charged that unscrupulous employers use SSA "no match" letters to harass undocumented workers and squelch union organizing efforts. Now, after a failed immigration debate in Congress, the George W. Read more »

The death of Polk Street

The death of Polk Street: Gentrification is destroying the home of a vibrant, if marginalized, queer community
|
()

news@sfbg.com

Click here to read about the Polk's long, queer history

Kelly Michaels was following the San Francisco dream when she escaped her small Alabama hometown at 17 and hitchhiked westward. It was 1989.

"I had stars in my eyes," Michaels told the Guardian, sitting on the floor of her friend's small single-room occupancy Tenderloin apartment, hints of a Southern drawl now paired with Tammy Faye mascara and bleached-blonde hair. Read more »

Importing injustice

How deregulation and Wal-Mart poison the Port of Oakland's neighbors and force poverty wages on its truckers
|
()

news@sfbg.com

More than 100 tractor trailers were lined up at 6:30 a.m., inching toward the Port of Oakland's Terminal 7, waiting for their next load. Against the backdrop of the San Francisco skyline, a mammoth freight ship emblazoned with the name Hyundai glided toward the port, pregnant with multicolor shipping containers.

A driver told the Guardian that he expected to be in line for at least two hours waiting to drop off the empty container attached to his big rig. Read more »

Fighting back

Guardian scoop and city ruling bolster workers' contention that the Woodfin retaliated against them
|
()

news@sfbg.com

It was a week of triumph for workers and union activists opposing the conservative agenda of the owner and operators of the Emeryville Woodfin Suites hotel.

The Guardian last week ("Calling in the Feds," 6/13/07) revealed that the hotel called on its owner's political connections to blow the immigration whistle on housekeepers involved in a campaign to enforce a living-wage law at the Woodfin. Read more »

Calling in the feds

Hotel sought immigration audit of workers asserting their right to a living wage
|
()

news@sfbg.com

An upscale Emeryville hotel embroiled in a nasty, yearlong labor dispute appears to have called on the owner's conservative political connections to bring about an immigration audit of the hotel. Worker advocates say the move was an effort to intimidate immigrant workers involved in a campaign to enforce a living-wage law.

Kurt Bardella, a spokesperson for US Rep. Brian Bilbray (R–San Diego), told the Guardian that a representative of the Emeryville Woodfin Suites contacted Bilbray's office for assistance Feb. Read more »