Labor

Dick Meister: Stamp out sexual harassment

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Thanks to the recent widely publicized reports of alleged sexual harassment by some highly prominent men, the serious problem of sexual harassment on the job has drawn lots of attention from unions and other advocates of working women. And for good reason.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated that nearly two-thirds of Americans now consider sexual harassment a problem. The poll also showed that about one-fourth of the country's working women report having been sexually harassed on the job.

The increasing concern about harassment may very well explain the withdrawal of Republican Herman Cain from the presidential race amid allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances while heading the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Read more »

Editor's notes

Our biggest employer is not in the private sector

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tredmond@sfbg.com

The private sector that Republicans see as our economic savior has been creating jobs. Not a lot, a few hundred thousand a month, but some. And yet the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.

There's a reason for that, one politicians from San Francisco to Washington D.C. don't want to talk about. But the New York Times put it nicely in a Dec. 5 editorial:

"While the private sector has been adding jobs since the end of 2009, more than half a million government positions have been lost since the recession..."Read more »

Hyatt in the hot seat

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Two housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Nov. 18, alleging they were fired in retaliation after removing “sexually suggestive images” of themselves posted in a hotel work area.
 
The charges come just weeks after the San Francisco Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf was issued serious citations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), coupled with proposed fines totaling more than $20,000, for health and safety violations.
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Lee benefits from vetoing health care reform

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Downtown groups that pressured Mayor Ed Lee to veto legislation that would have prevented businesses from raiding their employees' health savings accounts have been funneling big bucks into independent expenditure campaigns formed to keep Lee in the Mayor's Office.Read more »

As OccupySF attracts support, Oakland gets ready for a general strike

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At a rally of some 2,000 activists held in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza Oct. 26 -- the day after a brutal police crackdown left 24-year-old war veteran Scott Olsen in critical condition from a skull fracture inflicted by a police projectile -- Occupy Oakland's general assembly reached a 96 percent consensus agreement to call for a general strike to be held Nov. 2. Read more »

Superviors and labor leaders challenge Lee's OccupySF stance

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Mayor Ed Lee has put the city and its police force on a collision course with not only OccupySF, but also several members of the Board of Supervisors and top labor leaders who support the movement and want the city to allow its encampment to continue.Read more »

The case against C and D

Public employee union members want to halt the assault on their jobs and benefits

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By Brenda Barros, Riva Enteen, Joe Jacskon, Renee Saucedo, Dave Welsh, David H. Williams and Claire Zvanski

OPINION The Guardian started out right on Proposition C and D:Read more »

A case for Avalos, Yee and Dufty

An SEIU 1021 political organizer explains his union's ranked choices

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OPINION Like all of us, SEIU 1021 can take three dates to the prom when it comes to voting for mayor, but narrowing it down in a field of so many candidates was still challenging. After a month-long process, we arrived at a dual endorsement of Supervisor John Avalos and State Senator Leland Yee for first and second choice, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty for our third choice.

It's a diverse slate, and the choices are representative of the constituencies, perspectives and priorities in our membership.Read more »

SF Labor Council makes surprising dual endorsements

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The San Francisco Labor Council made a pair of dual endorsements last night that reflect the wide ideological range of local unions -- stretching from the progressive SEIU Local 1021 that represents city workers to the more conservative members of the trade unions -- as well as the power of behind-the-scenes politicking.Read more »

Heroes who did their jobs on 9/11

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By Dick Meister

You know those public employees who are under seemingly constant attack? Who are being blamed for all sorts of governmental problems, financial and otherwise? Well, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is a good time to make clear how very important to the nation those unfairly maligned public employees have been for a long, long time.

I should think it would be very hard to argue against the pay and pensions negotiated by firefighters and police, for instance, given their often heroic and usually helpful acts in behalf of the people they serve.

Yes, they make demands for pay and benefit increases and better working conditions– and they should.  Just as they should be able to bargain collectively through their unions to try to realize their demands. That's called workplace democracy, and it should be their absolute right.

But anti-labor political leaders are looking for someone else to blame for the poor state of the economy that's at least in part due to their own ineptness. And who do they blame? Public employees, who are characterized as greedy, overpaid and underworked members of much too economically and politically powerful unions.   The employees are the cause of it all.  Certainly it's not the failed leadership and poor bargaining skills of the political leaders that's at fault. Or their refusal to adequately tax the wealthy. Of course not. Read more »