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After two and a half years of protests at La Playa Carmel, former workers who lost their jobs in 2011 continue to return to the hotel to walk the picket line and protest. At a rally held at the expensive, Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel on June 20, two of those in attendance were former workers who had each been employed at La Playa for over 20 years before losing their jobs. "We continue to fight La Playa to make sure that employers around this area don't try to hurt us," union organizer Hector Azpilcueta said.
"When La Playa decided to let go 113 workers, they never thought about us staying here after two years. They thought we were just going to pick up and leave," said Azpilcueta, who is with Unite Here Local 483
, the labor union that represents hotel, restaurant, and other hospitality workers in the Monterey and Santa Cruz areas.
Demonstrations continue to be held as a vehicle for obtaining justice for the former workers, but the union primarily measures the success of the actions at La Playa in terms of the contract victories gained at other establishments in the Monterey Bay area. In 2012 and 2013 Unite Here won contract victories with Monterey Beach Resort, Old Capital Club, and Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. Later in 2013, the union negotiated the first ever labor contract for restaurant workers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Currently, the union is in negotiations in Santa Cruz with an unnamed business that has agreed to health care for workers in a recent bargaining session.
Read More with Photos and Video | La Playa Hotel Unfair | See Also: La Playa Carmel Demonstrations Continue in 2014
Previous Coverage: La Playa Carmel Holiday Rally Becomes Annual Tradition at Hotel
, "The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. We want to create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. The goal of the day is to bring together youth, farmworkers, community leaders, local organizations, businesses, and public officials to celebrate farmworkers, while creating a platform for the Central Coast community to raise their voices around issues that support the environmental, economic, and physical health of the Central Coast region, the farmworkers, and their community.
"There will be live music, free food, healthy cooking demonstrations, education and speakers from community based organizations, and lots of love, goods, and support for farmworkers!
The event will be held on Sunday, June 15
, Father’s Day, at Closter Park in Salinas, from 11-3pm.
Following the SPD killing of Carlos Mejia on May 20, residents have struggled against the powers that be in Salinas. On May 25, local politicians and non-profit groups worked to quiet anti-police sentiment at the large march and statewide mobilization against police brutality held in East Salinas. On May 27, the family of Mejia filed a wrongful death legal claim against the City of Salinas, and a May 31 counter-protest was held at a pro-police rally organized by retired SPD officers and law enforcement families.
President Obama was in Mountain View on May 9 to promote initiatives that expand solar energy use. He had special praise for Walmart because it uses some forms of alternative energy. Labor advocates protested outside the megastore where the president spoke, saying that Walmart is anti-union, keeps workers' wages low, and provides few benefits.
Demonstrators said the president's visit sends a terrible message to workers. They accused Walmart of using spin to promote the perception that it is a socially conscious company, when the exact opposite is the case. Walmart has been called the poster child for despicable behavior as thousands of civil lawsuits are filed every year against the retail giant.
National civil rights leaders have signed a letter calling on the Walton Family Foundation to follow in Walmart’s footsteps and end their ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and specifically voice their opposition to “Stand Your Ground” and voter suppression laws. The leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Jeremiah Wright and Danny Glover, write that they are appalled that despite Walmart’s and the Walton Family’s attempts to create an image of supporting civil rights and community and civic participation, both the retail giant and the foundation have given more than $1 million to politicians with close ties to ALEC and its agenda.
On May 5, sign language interpreters who work at Purple Communications in Oakland went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike in Oakland. They were joined in the strike by workers in San Diego; Denver, Colorado; and Tempe, Arizona. The strike focused on the unfair manner in which the company changed the terms of employee health coverage. “This is about safety and health care,” said Carol Day, a veteran ASL interpreter who was picketing and handing out leaflets in downtown Oakland.
Members of ASL Interpreters United, an affiliate of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, carried picket signs outside unionized Purple work sites, declaring the interpreters were “stronger together.” Only a handful of union-covered workers showed up intending to work at the four sites. In some locations, strike participation was close to 100 percent.
Read More |
FCC to fine Purple Communications $11.9 million, company sought fraudulent reimbursements
Jonathan Nack reports from Havana:
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans demonstrated unmistakeable enthusiasm while marching in the Cuban capitol on May Day – International Workers Day. Marchers chanted, danced, sang songs, and blew horns throughout the festive march. It was a clear statement of support for the Cuban government. CBS News reported an estimated 600,000 participated. Trade unionists, community groups, members of cooperatives, and even unions of small businesses demonstrated their support for the Cuban Revolution.
The main slogan for this year's May Day mobilization was, “the unity of the workers is the guarantee of the revolution.” Another prominent slogan urged the building of a more efficient and prosperous socialism. The march was organized by the government, but had a largely informal character. Most of the signs, banners, and numerous giant puppets appeared to be homemade. The march began in the early morning, no doubt to avoid the midday heat. It was basically completed by noon. Cuban President Raul Castro presided over the event, waiving to the marchers from the reviewing stand.
International supporters of the revolution who came from many countries were quite visible. Latin American international contingents were the most prominent, particularly from Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras. Images of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and, of course, that of Ché Guevara, were emblazoned on the t-shirts of many of the marchers.
Over one hundred San Francisco public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and education staff, members of United Educators of San Francisco (UESF), rallied on April 22 at the San Francisco Unified School District school board building. UESF workers are demanding a living wage after an 8-year wage freeze. They want a 21% wage increase and are asking for increased services and support staff. The massive speculative housing bubble is driving workers out of San Francisco and forcing them to commute long distances. After the rally UESF members spoke out at the board meeting.
Many teachers and school staff members are unable to afford healthcare for their families. Meanwhile, the school district spends tens of millions of dollars on consultants and privatization schemes. Protesters said that the district is starving the schools in the poorer areas of San Francisco and forcing education workers to live on poverty wages. This, they added, is happening in a city with twenty-seven billionaires.
At a rally on April 15, Tax Day, hundreds of SEIU 1021 city workers rallied at San Francisco City Hall and then marched to the headquarters of Twitter on Market Street. The demonstration was organized to protest the tax subsidies the company receives that are worth tens of millions of dollars a year while city workers have taken pay cuts. Members of SEIU 1021 rallied and marched against the continuing attack on San Francisco SEIU 1021 city workers while Democratic Mayor Ed Lee and the Supervisors give tax subsidies to Twitter and other tech titans. They reported on the dangerous understaffing which is threatening workers' health and safety, and the protection of the public, as well as bullying in the workplace.
Photos | Rise Up, Shut It Down, San Francisco Is a Union Town!
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
SEIU Rally to Stop Twitter Tax Subsidies & Attacks On Health Care Benefits
20 graduate and undergraduate students were arrested at UC Santa Cruz on April 2, and two more were arrested on April 3. UAW 2865, the union representing Teaching Assistants throughout the University of California system, called for a peaceful, legal strike in protest of management’s unlawful intimidation of student-workers, but were met with more of the same intimidation.
On March 4, one hundred and forty-nine public speaker's cards were turned in prior to the Oakland City Council meeting. Public comment was unanimous against a city-wide Domain Awareness Center. Nevertheless, council members passed a resolution at about 1am on March 5 to proceed with a scaled-down Port-only version of the DAC. From the public galleries in council chambers, calls of "shame, shame, shame" rang out after the vote to continue development of the DAC.
On March 5, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Hahn building in an ongoing resistance to the appointment of Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. The occupation follows a march to Kerr Hall on February 26, when students attempted to enter the offices of UCSC's Chancellor. Support for UC workers is central to the demands of student demonstrators, and over the course of the recent protests, labor victories have been gained as the university has given into demands by Graduate Student Workers and AFSCME Workers in separate negotiations.
On February 26 in East Palo Alto, about 250 people marched through the intersection in front of IKEA. Seven activists risked arrest, locking arms and standing (sometimes sitting) in the middle of a major intersection. Union and immigrant rights activists called out Juvenal Chavez, owner of nearby Mi Pueblo, for betraying his own undocumented immigrant roots by participating in the Department of Homeland Security program E-Verify that screens the immigration status of new hires.
Latinos Unidos Por Una Nueva America (Latinos United for a New America) joined other immigrant rights groups and unions including SEIU and UFCW to bring about the action. Labor organizers have been trying to unionize Latino and Asian ethnic markets across the state and the Mi Pueblo grocery chain has been at the center of their attention due to particularly poor working conditions.
On February 12, SEIU 1021 city workers marched and protested at Twitter corporate headquarters in San Francisco. The theme was “End Twitter Tax Breaks; Improve Healthcare, Housing, Transportation and Education”. One picket sign read, “Affordable Health Care Or Sweetheart Deals for Twitter?” The Service Employees International Union rally started at the corner of Van Ness and Market, and then proceeded down Market Street to continue in front of Twitter headquarters. San Francisco Supervisors Campos and Avalos were main speakers along with several union workers and representatives.
SEIU 1021 workers demanded an end to tax subsidies and the defense of their healthcare benefits. Under previous ballot propositions supported by San Francisco labor leaders, city workers are paying substantially more for their healthcare and pension benefits, cutting their real wages. If Twitter had paid fair taxes, the cuts could have been avoided. Many of SEIU 1021 workers are angry about their declining income while Mayor Ed Lee is giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies to billionaires and their tech corporations and $11.5 million to Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison's Americas Cup.
SEIU Marches on Twitter |
SEIU Protest for Healthcare at Twitter's Headquarters
According to an article published on Indybay's newswire, at 7am on January 21, a group went to the home of Anthony Levandowski, a Google X developer. After ringing his doorbell to alert him of the protest, a banner was held in front of his house that read "Google's Future Stops Here" and fliers about him were distributed around the neighborhood. The fliers detail his work with the defense industry and his plans to develop luxury condos in Berkeley. After blocking his driveway for approximately 45 minutes, the group blocked a Google bus at Ashby BART.