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 »
Two housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Nov. 18, alleging they were fired in retaliation after removing “sexually suggestive images” of themselves posted in a hotel work area.
The charges come just weeks after the San Francisco Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf was issued serious citations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), coupled with proposed fines totaling more than $20,000, for health and safety violations. Read more »
At a rally of some 2,000 activists held in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza Oct. 26 -- the day after a brutal police crackdown left 24-year-old war veteran Scott Olsen in critical condition from a skull fracture inflicted by a police projectile -- Occupy Oakland's general assembly reached a 96 percent consensus agreement to call for a general strike to be held Nov. 2. Read more »
OPINION Like all of us, SEIU 1021 can take three dates to the prom when it comes to voting for mayor, but narrowing it down in a field of so many candidates was still challenging. After a month-long process, we arrived at a dual endorsement of Supervisor John Avalos and State Senator Leland Yee for first and second choice, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty for our third choice.
It's a diverse slate, and the choices are representative of the constituencies, perspectives and priorities in our membership.Read more »
The San Francisco Labor Council made a pair of dual endorsements last night that reflect the wide ideological range of local unions -- stretching from the progressive SEIU Local 1021 that represents city workers to the more conservative members of the trade unions -- as well as the power of behind-the-scenes politicking.Read more »
You know those public employees who are under seemingly constant attack? Who are being blamed for all sorts of governmental problems, financial and otherwise? Well, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is a good time to make clear how very important to the nation those unfairly maligned public employees have been for a long, long time.
I should think it would be very hard to argue against the pay and pensions negotiated by firefighters and police, for instance, given their often heroic and usually helpful acts in behalf of the people they serve.
Yes, they make demands for pay and benefit increases and better working conditions– and they should. Just as they should be able to bargain collectively through their unions to try to realize their demands. That's called workplace democracy, and it should be their absolute right.
But anti-labor political leaders are looking for someone else to blame for the poor state of the economy that's at least in part due to their own ineptness. And who do they blame? Public employees, who are characterized as greedy, overpaid and underworked members of much too economically and politically powerful unions. The employees are the cause of it all. Certainly it's not the failed leadership and poor bargaining skills of the political leaders that's at fault. Or their refusal to adequately tax the wealthy. Of course not. Read more »