Orange County’s history of laissez-faire, anti-immigrant extremism dates back to the 1960s, when groups like the John Birch Society and the Orange County School for Anti-Communism used what we would call community organizing techniques to build a grassroots conservative movement in our region. They held house meetings, gathered in church fellowship halls, and went door to door for Barry Goldwater in 1964. In the process, they launched the pro-business, conservative movement that eventually took over our county.
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Beginning January 1st, 2010, California state environmental regulations went into effect requiring all truck drivers to meet new truck engine standards. There was an intervention at the Port of Oakland by Mayor Dellums, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Port to provide independent truck drivers with a little more time and funding to comply with the state regulations to clean up port trucks. These well-intentioned efforts demonstrate compassion for port truck drivers, as hundreds (if not a thousand) are likely to be out of work if they cannot afford to upgrade their trucks.
In the last several months, CASE has kicked off a pair of jobs campaigns in the city of Phoenix. The more advanced of those campaigns surrounds the job security of between 700 and 1,000 workers in food service, parking, and ground transportation at Sky Harbor Airport. Represented by our partner unions UNITE HERE! Local 631 and UFCW Local 99, those workers have struggled for years to raise the quality of their jobs—winning improvements in wages and health insurance, along with health and safety measures like floor mats for workers who stand on concrete for eight hours a day, forty hours a week. In doing so, those workers have raised the floor for all of the approximately 4,000 terminal service workers at the airport.
Difficult economic times are providing unique challenges—and even greater demand—for the work of the Partnership for Working Families. Our Partners are seizing opportunities in communities across the country to make sure that available funding and new legislation helps to create family-sustaining jobs with career pathways. In other communities, we’re rallying allies to fight against reactionary, mean-spirited efforts to minimize or even reverse workers’ hard-won gains. Together, we are organizing our cities to look ahead and plan for a future of shared prosperity.
What a year it has been! Across our network, Partners are bringing communities together to fight for real change, and scaling up to effect major policy changes to improve the lives of thousands of workers and their families. Time and again we are realigning our regions around a shared, big picture vision: that by lifting up workers, communities and the environment together we can achieve shared prosperity and sustainability for our cities and country.
Imagine 500 acres in the middle of your neighborhood that could become anything you want it to be. That’s the scenario Georgia STAND-UP posed to over 150 community members at Fiske Elementary School in southwest Atlanta last August.
by Ben Boyce, New Economy Working Solutions
For years, the planning process in Anaheim has excluded the voices of low income, immigrant communities. As a result, Anaheim’s working families find themselves trapped in a perpetual cycle of poverty, as elected officials fail to address their concerns.
The emerging green energy economy offers great promise for rebuilding America’s middle class. Across the Partnership, we are working to ensure that federal, state, and city funds support a new green economy that grows the next generation of construction trades workers with access to family-supporting jobs, and opens career opportunities for low-income communities and communities of color.
Across the country, our Partners are fighting for this goal in ways that support their unique communities:
With the immediate economic crisis exacerbating the long-term decline of the American middle class, the green economy has emerged as a potential savior. In this messianic view, a new wave of green-collar jobs is ready to sweep in to replace the millions of vanished manufacturing jobs, restore the shrinking middle class, and lift up the foundering boats of millions more working poor trying desperately to keep afloat.