Posts tagged Gavin Newsom

    California lawmakers to let legislative staffers unionize

    September 22, 2023 // “Unionizing staffers in legislative offices makes no sense because it creates more problems than it solves,” says Brigette Herbst, senior organizing director for AFFT and a former state legislative staffer. “How does unionization work with the long and unpredictable hours during a legislative session? How will elected officials handle untrustworthy staffers? Union organizers haven’t answered these important questions.” Herbst also raised concerns about unions’ connection to lobbying. Legislative staff often meet with lobbyists (including union lobbyists) on behalf of the lawmakers they work for, and Herbst believes that could result in an unfair allocation of state resources.

    Commentary: Few California workers belong to unions, but they scored big in Legislature this year

    September 20, 2023 // Previously, the Legislature had helped unions gain members by declaring home care and child care workers to be public employees and thus capable of being unionized. In fact, as the Legislature’s session was winding down, it approved a new contract for the latter that included hefty raises. Extending similar status to other service sectors is one possibility. Meanwhile, the bills setting new minimum wages for fast food and health care workers would seem to open the door for similar efforts in other segments of the economy that have large numbers of employees with relatively low salaries.

    Newsom in the hot seat after California passes bill to give striking workers unemployment benefits

    September 15, 2023 // At an event hosted by Politico on Tuesday, the governor expressed concerns about the unemployment insurance fund's debt but didn't say whether he would veto the bill. California's unemployment fund is more than $18 billion in debt after it borrowed money from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits. "I think one has to be cautious about that before you enter the conversation about expanding its utilization," Newsom said. Democrats, on the other hand, have been voicing their support for the unions.

    California fast food workers to get $20 minimum wage under new deal between labor and the industry

    September 12, 2023 // Before the law could take effect, the fast food industry gathered enough signatures to qualify a referendum on the law in the November 2024 election. That meant the law would be on hold until voters could decide whether to overturn it. Furious, labor unions sponsored legislation this year that would have made fast food companies like McDonald’s liable for any misdeeds of their mostly independent franchise operators in the state. Democratic lawmakers also restored funding to the Industrial Welfare Commission, a long-dormant state agency that has the power to set wage and workplace standards for multiple industries.

    Commentary: Dem Governors Buy Union Backing — Just Like Biden

    August 30, 2023 // In the backrooms where such deals are cut, buying a politician’s favor is called “influence peddling,” and President Biden, for all his seeming cognitive lapses, has been playing the game with ruthless aplomb for decades. Now he may be handing the baton to a younger, faster competitor. Recent history has shown the presidency itself can be bought if you control a big enough infusion of someone else’s dues dollars — and the promise to pay it all back with interest from the public treasury.

    California proposes paying unemployment benefits to striking workers

    August 24, 2023 // One of the main sponsors of the bill, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, said, “I think there’s more of a recognition that hardworking men and women need to have a seat at the table to discuss economic expansion.” He added, “It is embarrassing for California that we don’t have unemployment insurance for striking workers.” The deadline for California lawmakers to introduce new bills was in February, but state legislators can still rework unrelated bills, in a move called “gut-and-amend,” to circumvent the missed deadline and include the new language. The last-minute legislative push is backed by the California Labor Federation, which is led by former state Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. When Gonzalez tried to pass a similar bill in 2019, it eventually passed both chambers but was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    California’s on the cusp of transforming America’s fast food industry — again

    August 16, 2023 // “Because it’s so many stores, and going store to store would be difficult, the path to unionization here is basically through legislation,” said Brandon Dawkins, SEIU 1021 vice president of organizing. “After we get the council together and force the employer to the table, then the unions — we can come in and really sit down and negotiate with the corporations to, number one, create a union and, number two, address issues like safety and wage theft.” A labor council’s purview extends to workplace conditions like predictable scheduling — a longstanding goal for labor — noted California Labor Federation Executive Officer Lorena Gonzalez, a former state lawmaker who carried an earlier version of the bill when she served in the state Assembly. “If you get joint employer liability, it’s more likely McDonald’s would want to talk about a national agreement or strategy because now they’re on the hook for every labor violation,” Gonzalez said. That tactic has angered restaurant operators who have rallied against the legislation. Marisol Sanchez, a second-generation McDonald’s franchise owner, has appeared in advertising opposing the 2023 bill. Sanchez said she believed SEIU was acting on its own political agenda rather than in response to worker demands.

    OPINION: Pritzker risks bankrupting Illinois to curry favor with Big Labor

    August 14, 2023 // Members of AFSCME Council 31 eagerly voted in local union meetings over the past two weeks to ratify the contract, which negotiators had tentatively agreed to on July 1. And who could blame them? The contract also includes a $1,200 “stipend” paid to every worker merely for ratifying the contract. Pritzker, a Democrat, included these bonuses in his last contract negotiation in 2019, ostensibly to compensate workers for the financial “hardship” of being state employees under his Republican predecessor, Bruce Rauner. Predictably, such payoffs have now become standard operating procedure. The governor celebrated his and AFSCME’s windfall by tweeting out, “Illinois is a pro-worker state through and through.” The pronouncement was eerily reminiscent of Biden’s one-time campaign promise to become the “most pro-union president you ever saw.”

    Some of California’s best-paid public employees say they’re ready to strike. Here’s why

    August 7, 2023 // Some of California’s highest-paid public employees are in an intensifying labor battle with the Newsom administration over staffing shortages at state prisons and hospitals that workers say endanger patients and staff. The union representing doctors and psychiatrists working in California correctional facilities said that 91% of voting members authorized a strike Monday. Non-competitive salaries, strenuous working conditions and an overreliance on higher-paid contracted doctors, make it difficult to hire staff physicians, said Dr. Stuart Bussey, president of the umbrella Union of American Physicians and Dentists.