Labor

Rise of the machines

CAREERS AND ED: From flipping burgers to making sexy, robots are catching up

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joe@sfbg.com

CAREERS AND ED As digital gizmos invade our pockets and our lives, the fear of machines replacing human work is as pervasive as ever. But of course that fear isn't unique to the computer age.

As far back as the 1800s folk legend John Henry competed against a great railroad-building machine, hammering holes for railroad tracks in dirt and rock with the power of his arms.Read more »

BART approves contract as tensions with its workers continue UPDATED

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The BART Board of Directors today approved a modified contract with its two biggest labor unions, an action that received faint praise and was followed up with implied threats from both sides, continuing one of the ugliest and most impactful Bay Area labor disputes in recent memory.Read more »

Fieldwork

New book 'Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies' looks at the sorry state of migrant farmworker health care -- and its larger implications in the global economy

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marke@sfbg.com

After two more hours of hiking, we stop in a dry creek. One of the younger men enlists help pulling large cactus spines from one of his legs. We sit in a circle sharing food. The tastes link us to loved ones and Oaxaca...Read more »

Media misses connection between BART tragedy and settlement

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BART continues to stonewall important questions about whether it was training scab drivers to break the recent strike by its unions when its trainee-driven train killed two workers on Oct. 19 — a stance made possible by the failure of the mainstream media to connect the dots or correct the anti-union bias that characterized its coverage of this long labor impasse.Read more »

Lessons of the BART standoff

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EDITORIAL BART and its unions reached a tentative deal on new contracts late Monday (10/21) night, the next day restoring service that had been disrupted by the second four-day strike this year. Now, it's time for everyone to move on from this impasse — and the ugly demonization of workers that accompanied it — and try to heal the damage that was done.Read more »

BART negotiations continue as unions withhold strike threat UPDATED

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With the 60-day cooling off period ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown coming to an end on Thursday, raising the specter of another Bay Area Rapid Transit shutdown, BART’s two main unions announced yesterday that they were holding off on calling a strike for now. [UPDATE 10/11: BART unions today issued a 72-hour strike notice, meaning they could strike on Monday].Read more »

Lawsuit alleges Uber unfairly withholds tips from drivers

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A class action lawsuit filed against Uber, a tech-based service that connects riders to drivers and has filled San Francisco streets with sleek black town cars, alleges that the company is cheating its drivers out of tips.

The suit also charges that drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors under California law.Read more »

Activists urge Gov. Brown not to veto the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights again

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Supporters of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights are gathering outside the State Capitol Building this afternoon (Tues/13), culminating caravans that began with rallies in a half-dozen cities (including San Francisco this morning), hoping to extend basic labor protections to the people who care for our children and grandparents and clean our homes.Read more »

Bay Area Walmart employees say they were fired in retaliation for striking

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After working for nearly two years at Walmart in San Leandro, Dominic Ware said he’d witnessed too many co-workers struggle to make ends meet, and had felt disrespected for long enough. A co-worker recruited him to join Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OURWalmart, a national group of Walmart associates organizing for better workplace conditions and pay.

“She couldn’t even pass the pen fast enough,” said Ware. Last October, he participated in the first mass-strike of American workers in Walmart’s history.Read more »

Last tango: Investigators sort through BART's labor impasse

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Much of BART's dirty laundry was aired at the first hearing on the negotiations in Oakland today, part of a seven-day investigation called by Gov. Jerry Brown after Sunday night's talks between unions and management threatened the Bay Area with another strike.Read more »