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International Women's Day rally for Hyatt workers in San Francisco/Santa Clara
Labor is alive and relatively well in California
Union membership dropped nationally in 2012, but it wasn't a uniform decrease. Membership dropped substantially in some states (Wisconsin, Indiana ... ), and increased slightly in a few. One of the few to see an increase, albeit a small one: California. And some are suggesting that Latino workers are a big reason for the relative health of the union movement in California, and a way forward:
After working hard to get here, many Latino immigrants demand respect in the workplace and are more willing to join unions in a tough economic environment, organizers say. [...]

"This has a lot to do with the changing demographics of the workforce in these states," said Ruben Garcia, a labor law professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. "The big campaigns in the carwash industry in L.A., the janitors in Houston and the people who work on the Strip here tend to be an immigrant Latino workforce that's willing to stand up at the workplace, sometimes with great risks."

I guess if you fought to get here, and fought to stay, there'd be no reason to stop fighting for the better life you were looking for all along.

Policy also has a lot to do with how possible it is for workers to join unions, and while Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed several bills that would have made it easier for some of the most vulnerable workers to organize or offered greater workplace protections, he has also signed a law cracking down on misclassification of workers and a compromise measure on farm worker organizing. When you give workers more rights and more places to turn in case of abuse, you rein in the unfettered power of the boss in the workplace, and that makes it easier to unionize, if only a little easier.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 01:59 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's hoping (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, Mary Mike

    that California leads the way to bigger and better unions.

    IUOE Local 501 ret.

  •  Now if we could get EFCA nationally ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:20:25 PM PST

  •  Anybody see the Vandenberg missile launch, today? (0+ / 0-)

    It was at 2 pm. I couldn't see it.

  •  I hope that "as California goes, so goes the (2+ / 0-)

    nation" is more than just a cliche.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:21:43 PM PST

  •  I was in Salinas and Monterey with... (3+ / 0-)

    Cesar Chevas in the early 70s a few times...  He would almost always make the Jazz Festival...  had some nice groupies...

    I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

    by meknow on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:45:08 PM PST

  •  Woo! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    Vamonos Latinos! Andele! To equitable pay!

    by DAISHI on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:02:08 PM PST

  •  latinos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    our latino brothers and sisters are the best thing to happen to america .
    They will help strenghten unions and this country.
    hurrry up

    In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

    by lippythelion69 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:07:02 PM PST

  •  Seth Harris named acting Sec. of Labor... (0+ / 0-)

    Who wants to bet he'll be acting Secretary of Labor for the next four years because the GOP would block any attempt to get a new Secretary through into the Labor Department.  

    Seems to be more a technocrat type, a labor lawyer who has Department of Labor experience in both Clinton and Obama Administrations.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:14:11 PM PST

  •  With respect to unions (0+ / 0-)

    I know the corporate dominated right hates them and they spew every sort of excuse imaginable about how they kill jobs, profit, and even cause hair loss but they fail to realize that strong, united, labor is a healthy part of the dynamic business that they (claim to) want.

    At the height of the jobs debate, I frequently wound up on several arguments against things like labor unions.  I would remind those on the right that jobs are not something that are magically create by giving corporations more money to work with through tax or any other sort of economic stimulus.  Jobs are not created because a business has excess supply capacity.  Jobs are a feedback mechanism and a necessary part of the balance between supply and demand.  Jobs are created in response to an increase in demand that can't be met with current supply capacity.  A sustainable, healthy economy includes a physically and economically healthy labor force.  

    The recent economic downturn, which for all practical purposes and for most Americans, is currently in it's 5th or so year, has seen a perpetuation of supply side economics as solutions to a demand side problem.  This is the wrong approach.  A strengthening of organized labor is definitely a step in the right direction towards correcting the imbalance that is dragging down the entire system.

    •  Agree whole heartedly (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with you about union's part in the business environment. One of the things that I believe that is also important, is we stop exporting jobs overseas to the lowest bidder. We must as a people realize that all of us must make a fair living wage. An, do this in a save work environment. For this will make a strong and prosperous community for us all to live in.

      •  I have often wondered where the thinking that (0+ / 0-)

        gave us the present situation came from.  It seems to me as though most companies chase what I call 30 day dollars.  When i was in school, back in the first half of the 1990s as part of my engineering degree I was required to take several economic and business courses.  In each of the courses they hammered the idea of the necessity of a win-win between management and labor stating that high wages and high quality equals high profit.  They also emphasized that labor force changes (reductions) were a very poor response to short term issues.  Instead, we seem to have the opposite.  Take Walmart as an example, which championed the idea of using bulk buying power and process efficiency to increase marginal revenues.  It effectively became the Chinese embassy and a mecca of low wage labor with a department whose function was to help the employee get on govt assistance.  Yeah, their retail prices may be a little lower, but they are being subsidized by the entire system.

        The off-shoring needs to stop, or at least be greatly reduced.  It will happen when forces make it less profitable which can either be low USA wages from people being desperate or govt imposed tariffs.   In fact, this is one area that even the strict constitutionalists say that the Federal govt really does have a valid role to play.  

  •  Yeah, anecdotal evidence but about 1 month ago (0+ / 0-)

    in the Northern Virginia area

    while at the bank, a Latino gentleman in front of me had on a jacket with embroidery on the back that said something about restaurant worker unions

    thought then and there that Latinos will be the salvation of the unions in the long run with fresh blood and fresh spirits to fight the fight for labor

    It was sort of like an epiphany moment

  •  Support Them (0+ / 0-)

    We should support all those that fight for worker rights, because we are workers as well. Unions are not bad, they help protect the work place from work environments that are not save. An, they set standards that can be put in place throughout an industry. That will work for all union and nonunion shops. Unions basically request save work environments and fair compensation for their work, which in the long run benefits everyone including the business owner.

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