Labor

Dick Meister: Labor's David vs. GOP's Goliath

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By Dick Meister

 Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister,com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Organized labor is doing exactly what it must do to combat the onslaught against unions being waged by Republican politicians nationwide, throwing lots of money and lots of ground troops into the election campaigns of Democrats – most especially President Obama's campaign for re-election.

The AFL-CIO made it official with a ringing endorsement of Obama. Federation President Rich Trumka declared that "as president, Barack Obama has placed his faith in America's working men and women to lead our country to economic recovery and our full potential. So we're putting our faith in him." Read more »

Sisters unite: Hyatt workers picket on International Women's Day

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About 80 protesters from a coalition of women workers yesterday staged a peaceful protest demanding that Hyatt reinstate two workers, Martha and Lorena Reyes, who were fired in October. Read more »

Hyatt bikini pictures and hotel workers rights

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“When I got to work that day, I heard a lot of laughter and jokes, including a manager that was around. When I got up close to look at what they were laughing at, what I saw were a bunch of pictures that were extremely humiliating and shameful. And I just felt so ashamed and humiliated as a woman that I got extremely upset and took down my picture and that of my sister.” Read more »

Occupy and Castlewood Workers to join up for “perhaps the biggest and most vibrant march Pleasanton has ever seen”

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Organizers hope for a big turnout Feb. 25 for the latest protest in a two-year saga to demand a better contract.

Food service workers at Castlewood Country Club were put on lockout on Feb. 25, 2010 when they refused the terms of a contract with the club. The contract stipulated that workers pay $849 per month for health care, a change from the free health care the contract had previously provided. Read more »

Protesters "occupy" vacant building

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After a long day of protest that began at 6 a.m., 1200 joined a march affiliatiated with Occupy SF  last night. The march aimed to “liberate the commons”; organizers said they succeeded when they were able to enter a vacant building, the former Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1101 Van Ness. Read more »

"Occupy Wall Street West" hopes to see massive protest

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A coalition from across San Francisco is hoping to make tomorrow – Friday, Jan. 20 – a monumental day in the history of Bay Area activism, the Occupy movement, and the fight against home foreclosures and other manifestations of corporate greed.Organizers call the day of protests, marches, street theater, pickets, and more “Occupy Wall Street West.”

Those that urged Occupy protesters to focus in on a list of demands should be pleased, as the day includes a list of demands on banks, including a moratorium on foreclosures and an end to predatory and speculative loans.

Read more »

Dick Meister: Walter Johnson did what needed to be done

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BY Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century, Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns,

Walter Johnson was everything a labor leader should be – a dedicated, unflinching, champion of working people and their unions. But more than that, Walter was also an unyielding advocate of all those  inside and outside the labor movement who wanted – and badly needed – a decent living , or who were in any way oppressed.

Johnson, who died in San Francisco of a heart attack on Jan. 12 at age 87, devoted his life to that noble – yes, noble – task as head of the Department Store and Retail Clerks unions in San Francisco. He also later headed the SF Labor Council for nearly 20 years, from 1985 until his retirement in 2004. Read more »

Daly is back in a progressive leadership role

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Chris Daly, a pivotal organizer of progressive politics during his decade on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has returned to a high-profile role in the movement. Last month, he went to work for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the city's largest public employee year. And today, he was named its interim political director.Read more »

Dick Meister: A decent living for all?

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Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsoom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Finally there's some good news for the millions of Americans who must to live on pay at or close to the legal minimum wage. Eight states are raising their minimum wage on January First, in line with state laws requiring the minimum to keep pace with inflation.

The raises to come are modest by any measurement. But any increase must be welcomed as desperately needed and hopefully as a major start toward increasing the minimum wage everywhere to a level that will provide a decent living to all working Americans, many of them living in poverty or near-poverty. Read more »

Dick Meister: Stamp out sexual harassment

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Thanks to the recent widely publicized reports of alleged sexual harassment by some highly prominent men, the serious problem of sexual harassment on the job has drawn lots of attention from unions and other advocates of working women. And for good reason.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated that nearly two-thirds of Americans now consider sexual harassment a problem. The poll also showed that about one-fourth of the country's working women report having been sexually harassed on the job.

The increasing concern about harassment may very well explain the withdrawal of Republican Herman Cain from the presidential race amid allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances while heading the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Read more »