Author Archive

Nation of the Philippines Counter Demonstration

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Title: Nation of the Philippines Counter Demonstration
Location: Philippine Consulate ~ 447 Sutter Street, SF
Start Time: 12:00
Date: 2019-07-22

Why Young Workers Are Embracing Labor Unions

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Millennials are more pro-union than generations before

In March 2019, the editorial staff at Gimlet Media became the first podcasting company to unionize when they joined the Writers Guild of America. The announcement came just a month after Gimlet was acquired by Spotify in a $230 million dollar deal.

Unionizing has been notoriously difficult for tech companies, according to Fast Company, but it could be the beginning of an industry-wide shift.

And the Gimlet workers’ move is evidence that labor organizing isn’t a thing of the past. The Center for Economic Policy and Research reported that 75 percent of new union members are under the age of 35.

Will younger generations of workers lead a resurgence of organized labor?

Fresh energy

Whitney Yax has been working for the labor movement for more than six years. In her role as an organizer for Communications Workers of America District 1, which represents 150,000 members in the Northeast, she helps new members get involved in their unions.

She has noticed an increase in younger members, and in younger members’ desire to be active participants. They’re phone banking or knocking on doors to garner support for a political candidate, organizing meetings with industry leaders, or gathering signatures on a petition. This is on-brand for millennials, who typically value experiences over stuff.

Illustration of construction workers hand in hand in the city. Labor Unions pbs rewireCredit: Adobe
Whether or not unions can adapt quickly enough will determine if they grow in the next generation.

“I always think of unions as offering a voice, a role in decision-making at work,” Yax said.

Millennials are more supportive of labor unions than generations before them. A 2018 Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of people ages 18 to 34 approve of labor unions, compared to 60 percent of people ages 35 to 54 and 62 percent of people ages 55 and older.

But unions have a long way to go when it comes to finding the right set of benefits that will encourage membership among millennials, said Zane Dalal, executive vice president of the union benefits administrator BPA.

“Millennials are incredibly adaptable, and people think of them as this sort of vague group, yet they are activists, and they’re incredibly sure of what they want,” he said.

Unions’ influence often extend beyond their membership, Yax said. The opportunity to effect change is attractive to young workers.

“I believe very strongly that unions, individually and collectively, just by their existence, improve the situation for workers that are non-union,” she said.

For example, unions were instrumental in raising the minimum wage in New York, which benefited all minimum wage workers, not just the unionized ones, Yax said.

“The action that union members take can have a great effect on other people,” she said.

A ‘match made in heaven’?

Knowing that our work and financial lives will be much different than what our parents experienced, millennials have been forced to adapt. In many cases, adapting has meant piecing together side gigs and extra jobs. It’s easy to feel alone in the gig economy, or even feel in competition with your fellow workers.

“The human element is diminishing,  and it shows in the way that people want to pay their workers,” Dalal said.

He believes “unions might bring back that personal side” to employment.

We millennials can be both disdainful of being forced to go it alone, and oddly proud of our hustle. Joining a union means embracing solidarity and leaving that pride behind, which can be especially hard when you’re raised on a strict diet of American individualism.

Yet, as we try to find a path to retirement, millennials and unions have been called a “match made in heaven” by the California Labor Federation.

“Some may think that unions are a thing of the past, but as reports pile up on how young workers are going to need to work themselves into exhaustion just to put food on the table, joining a union remains the best way  for millennials to reap the kind of economic security their parents and grandparents had,” Alexandra Catsoulis wrote for the California Labor Federation.

‘A barrier for younger people’

Union membership peaked in 1970 and has been declining ever since. Whether or not unions can adapt quickly enough will determine if they grow in the next generation, Dalal said.

“There was a heyday of the labor movement, and many of the people who were part of it are still involved, in roles of leadership now,” Yax said.

Millennials have a unique opportunity to contribute to labor unions and, in turn, contribute to change in many sectors. There are issues specific to this age group and this cultural moment that unions could address if young folks pushed for it, Dalal said.

Unions could advocate for student loan repayment policies, as our collective debt continues climbing. They could also become involved in the opioid crisis, he said, pushing for recovery support.

But there’s a sentiment that younger generations don’t want to get involved.

“The language of people who are driving the conversation, they’re in their 70s and they’ll never ‘get’ millennial culture,” Dalal said.

It’s hard to sit in meetings as a young person and hear about how millennials don’t care, Yax said. In fact, it’s “a barrier for younger people to get involved.”

Even so, “I really think we could have another heyday very soon,” she said.

Rally in Support of Airline Workers

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Title: Rally in Support of Airline Workers
Location: SFO United Terminal 3 Departures Level
Description: Join SEIU USWW and UNITE HERE Local 2 airport workers on July 3rd to protest inadequate healthcare, unsafe & unhealthy working conditions, and wages that don’t keep up with the cost of living. Rally: Noon to 1:00 PM @ SFO United Airlines (Terminal 3), Departure Level. #SFLabor
Start Time: 12:00
Date: 2019-07-03

A Powerful 1st Person Account of the Issues at the Border from USF Law Professor Bill Ong Hing and ILRC

Friday, June 28th, 2019

You may have read any number of stories recently about the conditions at Border Patrol immigrant youth detention centers. I was there and you need to know what I saw. I don’t often reach out to you directly, but I felt that it was important for you to understand what is happening in the name of border protection.

As a part of a recent Flores* inspection team, I was allowed to interview immigrant youth detained at a border patrol processing facility in Clint, Texas. After three days of detailed conversations with many detainees, I left feeling disgusted and appalled.

I had conversations with several teen mothers with infants as young as five months old. I also had individual conversations with five- and eight-year-old boys and three sets of siblings—a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother; brothers, ages 12 and four; and another sister and brother, ages 15 and 13. Several cried as they talked about the conditions and missing their parents. They cried, I teared up. However, I cried hard two times while observing children across the room being interviewed by other team members. Once when a six-year-old girl, who was in the detention center alone, began crying. I learned that she had been separated from an aunt at the border by CBP officials days earlier. As she cried in the middle of the interview, the attorney working with her took the girl by the hand and walked over to a teenaged detainee who was holding a two-year-old. It turned out that the teen girl—who was not a mother or a relative—had been comforting the toddler and the six-year old for days out of a sense of sympathy.

Minors are not supposed to be held by border patrol officials for more than 72 hours, but we met many children who had been detained for two to three weeks. Over 350 children were detained at the Clint facility when we visited. I can tell you that I witnessed that many of the children were unbathed and dirty. Their clothes reeked; their hair unwashed. Children as young as three- and four-years old had been separated from a parent, aunt, or uncle at the border. They were housed in cramped rooms with older children—some of whom cared for the younger children out of kindness. Many of the children had the flu. Two infants were so sick (vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea) that they were rushed to the hospital for emergency care. Everyone received the same meals day after day that contained no vegetables or fruits. The meals were no different for nursing mothers. Some children reported that they were allowed to go outside and play daily for about 30 minutes; others said they were allowed to go outside only every two or three days.

The declarations of minors collected by myself and others on the inspection team are being used in a motion for a temporary restraining order to close down the facility. The ILRC believes that all immigrants deserve to keep their dignity, humanity, physical and mental wellbeing, and families throughout the immigration process. As supporters and advocates of our work, it is our responsibility to shine a light on the reality of immigration detention. These children are more than statistics. They are fragile humans seeking a better life. The ILRC will continue to educate practitioners on how to best defend their clients, provide resources for communities to know their rights, and advocate for just policies that protect all immigrants.

Bill Ong Hing
Founder and General Counsel, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Professor of Law and Migration Studies, USF

FORUM Bread & Roses Labor History & Storytelling

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Title: FORUM Bread & Roses Labor History & Storytelling
Location: SF Labor Council ~ 1188 Franklin Street, #203
Description: Please join SFLC union retirees and people interested in linking history with our present struggles at FORUM’s (Federation of Retired Union Members) annual Bread and Roses Labor History Story Telling event and open house. Refreshments served.

Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2019-07-02

Union Lobby Day for AB 5

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Title: Union Lobby Day for AB 5
Location: Buses Leaving from Various Bay Area Locations to Sacramento
Description: UNION LOBBY DAY at the State Capitol
North Steps (L Street)

Please join Bay Area Labor for a Union Lobby Day in Sacramento as we fight to protect workers against misclassification, the underground economy, and the low road business model that places profits above workers’ rights.

Sign Up to join us from one of the bus stop locations below:

West Oakland BART:

El Cerrito Plaza BART:

Civic Center BART:

Start Time: 06:00
Date: 2019-07-10
End Time: 15:00

Affiliate in the Spotlight: IATSE 16

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Meet the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists & Allied Crafts Local 16

MISSION: To represent workers in the entertainment business, including film, television, theatre, concerts, and conventions.

CURRENT LEADERSHIP OF UNION: Steve Lutge – Business Agent

MEMBERS WORK AS: Our members work as stage electricians, carpenters and riggers; audio and video technicians, camera operator, video engineers; film and television technicians; special effects technicians.

INDUSTRIES REPRESENTED: Theatre, conventions, concerts, film, television, commercials.

HISTORY: Local 16 received its charter in 1894, 125 years ago. Since the birth of our organization over 125 years ago, IATSE stagehands and movie operators have been joined by a great variety of other crafts. Technicians and artists in motion picture and television production, product demonstration and industrial shows, conventions, facility maintenance, audio visual presentation, and motion picture computer graphics, to name a few, have all banded together to achieve the maximum unified strength possible.

CURRENT CAMPAIGNS: Chase Arena in Mission Bay, Film Production in Northern California

COMMUNITY EFFORTS: Participating in several Labor Councils in the Bay Area, Rebuild Together, Laguna Honda Holiday Party, outreach to local schools in San Francisco, ARIA Opera program at local schools in San Francisco.


SOMETHING COOL ABOUT YOUR  UNION THAT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT: Our members are extremely talented; many have received Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards.


Filmmaker Screening and Conversation: DETROIT 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Title: Filmmaker Screening and Conversation: DETROIT 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route
Location: Red Bay Coffee, 3098 East 10th Street, Oakland
Description: On Thursday, June 20 at Red Bay Coffee, 3098 East 10th Street in Oakland CA, 7-10 pm, MATATU’s Oakland Reconstructed series continues with a filmmaker screening and conversation. DETROIT 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route examines the rise, demise, and contested resurgence of the City of Detroit through the lens of African American mail carrier, Wendell Watkins, and the committed community he faithfully served for thirty years.

Filmmaker Pamela Sporn, and Victoria Sawicki and Walter Riley of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute speak after the screening which benefits the work of MCLI. Often called a “Civil Liberties Church,” the institute is a center for peace law, an organizer for the right to education, an information clearinghouse on social change, an advocate of government accountability, a training center, and repository of history. Get tickets HERE.

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2019-06-20

Trans March 2019

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Title: Trans March 2019
Location: Dolores Park, SF
Link out: Click here
Description: Join the SFLC at the 2019 Trans March in Dolores Park!
Date: 2019-06-28

Join UESF for a Fundraiser for Commissioner Faauuga Moliga

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Title: Join UESF for a Fundraiser for Commissioner Faauuga Moliga
Location: Tonic ~ 895 Post Street, SF
Link out: Click here
Description: Please join the Honorable Mayor London N. Breed, United Educators of San Francisco and the SF Democratic Party Chair, David Campos, to help Commissioner Faauuga Moliga retire his campaign debt.
Start Time: 16:00
Date: 2019-06-10

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