Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Worker power wins in California

Teamstesrs and Taylor Farms workers in Sacramento
Workers won important new laws in California over the past legislative session by telling lawmakers the truth about employers' abuse, the struggle to balance work and family and illegal but unenforced anti-union activities.

The California Federation of Labor describes how important laws for workers were passed because of the work of Teamsters, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, LIUNA, Taylor Farms workers, OUR Walmart and more.

In the Labor's Edge blog, we learn how entertainment workers helped to keep television and film jobs in California with a tax incentive for the industry. We learn how Taylor Farms workers helped protect temporary workers by winning passage of a law that holds employers liable for temporary workers. And we learn how OUR Walmart workers got three paid sick days for nearly every employee in California.

Here's Labor's Edge:
Throughout the year, workers and union members gathered, worked, petitioned, called, rallied, lobbied, testified, protested at the Capitol for pro-worker legislation.  They engaged their coworkers in their fight for better jobs and a brighter future.  They took days off work and risked their jobs to tell their stories and to push for greater worker protections.
The loss of good film and television jobs to other states and countries is devastating families. Union members spent all year fighting for a solution in AB 1839, which invests in the industry.
Their activities culminated in a Mobilization Day in Sacramento where hundreds of union workers demonstrated their crafts through a make-up transformation, erection of a blue screen from the set of the TV hit Scandal and presentation of the crew, cast and talent of hit shows.  Every dollar of a film tax incentive investment goes to support a union job – with the Teamsters, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, IBEW, LIUNA, AFM, DGA. Their collective efforts produced success – the Governor signed AB 1839 (Gatto/Bocangera), creating a $330 million film tax incentive for five years, on September 18. 
Two-thirds of Taylor Farms workers have little or no protection from wage theft or dangerous working conditions because they work for staffing agencies.
All this will change because Governor Brown signed AB 1897 into law on September 28. This landmark bill will hold employers responsible for the wages, health and safety, and workers compensation for contracted employees doing their work while on their premises. This bill was enacted because of the courage, the power, the voice of workers at Taylor Farms. Over and over again, Taylor Farms workers and the Teamsters would descend on the Capitol, speak their truth, testify in committee, bird dog corporate lobbyists, claim valuable real estate at “The Gate” where lobbyists can meet with legislators off the floor. Taylor Farms workers and Teamsters would line up in the hallway and flush out the corporate lobbyists. And it all worked!   
And here's how OUR Walmart won three sick days for nearly all California workers:
Members of the OUR Walmart campaign worked the stores, talking to associates about what it would take to make their jobs at Walmart better jobs. Resoundingly, the lack of paid sick days, being forced to work when they or their family member is sick…or else face discipline and the threat of losing their jobs is what they heard as a top priority for Walmart associates. OUR Walmart members from throughout the state gathered at the state Capitol in the final weeks of the legislative session to fight for paid sick days. They spent time on the doors lobbying for three paid sick days and gathered at the Senators entrance to the Senate floor to engage in valuable face time with legislators. Their efforts produced success – Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1522, creating three paid sick days for nearly all California workers on September 10. 
Great work everybody!