Author Archive

March on the School Board

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Title: March on the School Board
Location: 555 Franklin Street
Description: The SF School District is threatening drastic cuts. Join United Educators SF for a rally on February 25th. Let’s raise our voices and say Educators need more, not less!
Our schools can’t survive $26 million in cuts. Our students deserve more, our families deserve more, and we deserve more: more counselors, more social workers, more crisis training, more nurses, more fully staffed wellness centers. Join UESF on February 25th from 4-7 pm to tell the Board of Education and District leadership that we want more for our kids, not less.
Schedule for 2/25 Rally
4 pm – Press Conference
4:30-5:30 pm – Rally
5:30 pm – March into board meeting

Start Time: 16:00
Date: 2020-02-25

Union Night at the Theater: Sting Stars in The Last Ship

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Title: Union Night at the Theater: Sting Stars in The Last Ship
Location: Golden Gate Theater
Link out: Click here
Description: Join the SF Labor Council and Labor 411 at a special Union Night performance of The Last Ship, a musical about workers, starring Sting as shipyard foreman Jackie White. Featuring original music and lyrics by Sting as well as a few of his best-loved songs—“Island of Souls,” “All This Time,” and “When We Dance.”

The Last Ship tells the story of Gideon, a prodigal son returning home after 17 years at sea to find that the local shipyard his town was built around is closing and Meg, the love he left behind, has moved on. Tensions flare and picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie White (played by Sting) rallies the workers to take over the shipyard and build one last ship in the face of the gathering storm.

Tickets are $75 and include access to our special Union Night reception.
We have a limited number of mezzanine level tickets. Normally priced at $139, these special Union Night tickets are available for $75 each. Buy tickets here:

The Union Night pre-show reception will take place in the Mezzanine Lounge at the Golden Gate Theatre starting at 6 pm. The performance begins at 8 pm.

For more information, please contact Evan Henerson at (818) 884-8966 x1102 or or Cherri Senders at (818) 884-8966 x1104 or
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2020-03-06

Labor Archives and Research Center Annual Program

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Title: Labor Archives and Research Center Annual Program
Location: ILWU Local 34~4 Berry Street, San Francisco (on the Embarcadero next to Giant’s Stadium, 2nd & King Streets)
Description: The Transcontinental, Chinese Workers, and the Making of Modern America in the Gilded Age

Stanford historian Gordon Chang will discuss the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad. Drawing on material from his recent book, “Ghosts of Gold Mountain,” Chang will explore the forgotten stories of the “Railroad Chinese” who were exploited during construction of the Transcontinental and then scapegoated in the economic depression that followed its completion. Chang’s work is a moving effort to honor their indispensable contribution to the building of modern America.

Musical performance by Francis Wong

When: February 28th | Refreshments by Knight’s Catering at 6:30pm, program begins at 7:00pm

Free and Open to Public | Wheelchair accessible

Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2020-02-28

Cesar E. Chavez Parade & Festival

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Title: Cesar E. Chavez Parade & Festival
Location: March: 19th & Dolores ~ Festival: 24th Street
Link out: Click here
Description: Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Parade & Festival 2020
Saturday, April 18
Celebrating Dolores Huerta Day, April 10
Commemorate & Celebrate the Life and Work of Labor & Civil Rights Leaders
Cesar E. Chavez, March 31, 1927-April 23, 1993; and Dolores Huerta Day April 10

10 a.m. – Assemble for Parade Dolores Park – 19th Street / Guerrero Street
11 a.m. – PARADE
12 p.m. – 6 pm 24th STREET FAIR – Between Folsom Street and Bryant Street

For more information: Call (415) 621-2665 Email:
Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2020-04-18

Cesar E. Chavez Day Breakfast

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Title: Cesar E. Chavez Day Breakfast
Location: ILWU 10 ~ 400 North Point, SF
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2020-03-31

2020 Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Breakfast
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – 9:00-11:00 am
400 North Point
Longshoremen’s Hall ILWU Local 10
San Francisco
Tickets: $75 Individual Table Sponsor: $750 = 10 Tickets
SPONSORSHIP LEVELS Gold Eagle, Silver Eagle, Bronze Eagle, Black Eagle
Special Seating & Program Acknowledgement for Sponsors
Please make checks payable to: “Cesar Chavez Holiday Breakfast”
Mail to: Cesar E. Chavez Breakfast 2929 19th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Sponsors will be listed in Event Program. Tickets will be held at the door.
Proceeds benefit the Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Parade & Festival.
To RSVP or for more information, please call (415) 621-2665. ¡Si, Se Puede!

Unions an Integral Part of Dr. King’s Dream

Friday, January 31st, 2020

by Steve Smith
January 17, 2020193

“In the days to come, organized labor will increase its importance in the destinies of Negroes. Automation is imperceptibly but inexorably producing dislocations, skimming off unskilled labor from the industrial force. The displaced are flowing into proliferating service occupations. These enterprises are traditionally unorganized and provide low wage scales with longer hours. The Negroes pressed into these services need union protection, and the union movement needs their membership to maintain its relative strength in the whole society.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote those words 53 years ago. Talk about prophetic. He spoke about the dangers of machines replacing workers. He identified the peril in the expanse of low-wage service and gig jobs. King saw the future of racial and economic inequality that faced Black workers as a result of corporate greed.

He spoke out against it often. But he was never fatalistic about it. He always believed change would come. Equality would rise. If, and only if, workers generally, and Black workers specifically, held power to determine their own destiny.

From “Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Union Man” by Peter Cole, In These Times:

If Martin Luther King Jr. still lived, he’d probably tell people to join unions.

King understood racial equality was inextricably linked to economics. He asked, “What good does it do to be able to eat at a lunch counter if you can’t buy a hamburger?”

Those disadvantages have persisted. Today, for instance, the wealth of the average white family is more than 20 times that of a black one.

King’s solution was unionism.

In 1967, nearly 30% of workers in the US had a union on the job. Today that number has dipped to 11%. Unfortunately, King’s dream of Black workers sharing in the prosperity America has long offered those of privilege, has largely been unfulfilled.

Economic Policy Institute:

“Black workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers overall (6.4% vs. 3.1%). Even black workers with a college degree are more likely to be unemployed than similarly educated white workers (3.5% vs. 2.2%). When they are employed, black workers with a college or advanced degree are more likely than their white counterparts to be underemployed when it comes to their skill level—almost 40% are in a job that typically does not require a college degree, compared with 31% of white college grads. This relatively high black unemployment and skills-based underemployment suggests that racial discrimination remains a failure of an otherwise tight labor market.”

There are lots of reasons for these bleak numbers: Structural racism. Inequality in the criminal justice system. Disparity in educational opportunity. But a common theme in King’s writings and speeches was the need for Black workers to have a union on the job. He called unions the “first anti-poverty program,” one that “transforms misery and despair into hope and progress.”

Today, recognition is growing that racial equality is inextricably linked to people of color having power on the job. Power that only comes from the right to stand together in a union and negotiate fair pay and decent benefits with your boss.

Natalie Spievack writes for the Urban Institute:

“A 2012 study found that if unionization rates remained at their 1970s level—when African American workers were more likely than white workers to be union members—black-white weekly wage gaps would be nearly 30 percent lower among women and 3 to 4 percent lower among men. Research also consistently finds that racial wage gaps are smaller among union members than among nonunion members.”

History remembers King’s “Dream” of racial equality. It’s what we celebrate every year on his birthday. But it’s also important to reflect on just how integral King believed economic power and unions were to his “Dream” becoming reality.

King at the 1961 AFL-CIO Convention:

“I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. That is the dream…”

The Dream is still alive. It’s up to all of us to work tirelessly to make it come true by giving working people of all backgrounds the power to hold their economic destinies in their own hands with a union on the job.

AB 5 Lobby Day

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

Title: AB 5 Lobby Day
Location:  State Building Trades 1231 I Street, Suite 303, Sacramento 
Description: Join CA Labor for a Lobby Day in Support of AB 5.
RSVP to Shawna Manning:


Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2020-02-03
End Time: 16:00

COPE Convention

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Title: COPE Convention
Location: Plumbers Hall ~ 1621 Market Street
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2020-01-27

Overhaul US labor laws to boost workers’ power, new report urges

Friday, January 24th, 2020

More than 70 scholars, union leaders, economists and activists says unions are key to tackling the crisis of economic inequality

This article was originally published in The Guardian and was written by Steven Greenhouse.

Members of the United Autoworkers (UAW) picket outside the General Motors (GM) plant in Arlington, Texas, USA, on 17 September 2019. The 40-day strike won improved wages and benefits for the workers.
 Members of the United Autoworkers picket outside the General Motors (GM) plant in Arlington, Texas, on 17 September 2019. The 40-day strike won improved wages and benefits. Photograph: Larry W Smith/EPA

More than 70 scholars, union leaders, economists and activists called on Thursday for a far-reaching overhaul of American labor laws to vastly increase workers’ power on the job and in politics, recommending new laws to make unionizing easier and to elect worker representatives to corporate boards.

The report argues strengthening labor unions and worker power represents the most effective strategy to combat America’s economic inequality and corporations’ sway over the economy and politics.

“Today, the struggle to preserve democracy in the face of extreme wealth concentration is acute because we live in an historical moment when vast disparities of economic power have been translated into equally shocking disparities in political power,” says the report, Clean Slate for Worker Power: Building a Just Economy and Democracy.Advertisement

“A large part of the explanation for our current crisis of economic inequality is the decline of the labor movement. Unions redistribute wealth – from capital to labor, from rich to poor – and without unions we have lacked for a check on economic concentration.”

The report calls for having workers elect “workplace monitors” at every workplace in the nation to educate workers about their rights. With many union leaders and presidential candidates calling for sectoral bargaining, the report recommends enacting a law that would require such industry-wide bargaining once 5,000 workers or 10% of the workers in an industry, whichever is less, request such bargaining.

Such a radical recommendation would greatly increase workers’ bargaining leverage at a time when unions represent just 6.2% of private-sector workers, down from a peak of 35% in the 1950s.

The Clean Slate report, nearly two years in the making, aims to rethink American labor law from scratch. “We firmly believe that we’re past the point of tinkering around the edges, that to really fix the problems in our economy and political system we need a fundamental rethinking of labor law,” said Sharon Block, one of the report’s main authors and executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

The report says unionizing and gaining a voice at work far too often mean a huge battle with companies and their anti-union consultants. “Democracy at work should be a right, not a fight,” the report states. “For too long, securing power and voice at work has required workers to fight herculean battles against nearly impossible odds.”

Among the Clean Slate report’s recommendations:

• Require the creation of employee committees, similar to German-style works councils, at any workplace once three workers at a worksite petition for one. These committees could have a voice on work scheduling, safety, new technologies and managerial decisions that affect workers.

 Allow minority unionism. Once 25% of the workers at any workplace sign cards saying they want a union, the employer would be required to recognize that union and bargain with it. This would be a sharp departure from the current system in which companies have to bargain with a union only after they demonstrate majority support, usually through a vote, with that union becoming the exclusive representative of all workers.

• Require corporations to let employees elect 40% of the members of corporate boards, and require a supermajority board vote on decisions that have the greatest impact on workers.

• Adopt a national system of “just cause employment. Under this system workers can be fired only for just cause, ending America’s longtime system of at-will employment.

• Give domestic workers, farmworkers, incarcerated workers and disabled workers collective bargaining rights. “Labor law reform must start with inclusion to ensure that all workers can build power and to address systemic racial and gender oppression,” the report states. “Our nation’s labor laws have long excluded too many workers,” most notably farmworkers and domestic workers, who are disproportionately workers of color.

• Allow unions to bargain over a far broader array of issues, and not just wages and working conditions. Allow unions to bargain over, for instance, a company’s dumping toxic chemicals or contributing to climate change or the need for affordable housing.

• Give independent contractors a right to bargain collectively and make it far harder for employers to misclassify workers as contractors.

• Make it easier to unionize by prohibiting employers from requiring workers to attend meetings where managers or consultants give anti-union speeches. Greatly increase penalties against employers that break the law in fighting unions.

• Prohibit employers from using permanent replacement workers to take the jobs of striking workers.

“This is an attempt to lay out a comprehensive vision of what labor law reform ought to look like,” said Ben Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School and one of the report’s main authors. “We need this as a kind of North Star to know where we’re going when we have a chance to do reform of any kind.”

One of the report’s main themes is that when unions were at their peak they were a vital countervailing force to corporate power – at the workplace, in political campaigns and in policymaking.

To increase the voice of workers in politics, the report calls for a “public campaign finance system to limit corporate influence and allow greater participation by workers and their organizations”. The report also recommends mandating same-day voter registration, early voting and voting by mail. It also calls for mandating paid-time off for workers to engage in civic activities, including voting.

Harvard’s Block, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, said it’s vital to have a series of legislative proposals ready if and when progressive candidates come to power.

She noted that the Democratic presidential candidates “are talking about big picture progressive change they want to take. Our pitch is labor law is a way to do these things. We see it as the key that will unlock the door to a fairer economy and democracy.”

Women’s March ~ Labor Contingent

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Title: Women’s March ~ Labor Contingent
Location: SF City Hall Plaza
Link out: Click here
Description: We are pleased to report that the SF Labor Council has once again endorsed the Women’s March and invite you to join us — with your family, friends and colleagues — on Saturday, January 18th and march in our Labor Contingent.

We will rally at SF City Hall Plaza beginning at 11 AM. To march with #SFLabor, begin lining up at 12:30 PM at Grove Street, between Larkin and Polk. Look for the SF Labor Council banner — and bring your union banners and wear your union swag!

This year’s theme is Together We Rise! March to show our votes matter, our voices matter, and our presence matters. March to call out injustice and to fight for equality and dignity for all. We look forward to having a robust Labor showing.
Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2020-01-18

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