Blog & News
Partnership Blog & News
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.
Less than three years ago, Pittsburgh UNITED was a small coalition of union, environmental, faith-based and community organizations committed to making change in low-income communities. Today we’re a formidable—and still growing—coalition responsible for winning the first-ever community benefits agreement (CBA) in the City of Pittsburgh, and passage of a law that requires developers who receive City subsidies to create decent, family-sustaining jobs.
The Syracuse Alliance for a New Economy (SANE) is in the process of seeking a Community Benefits Agreement with the Board of Directors of the Near Westside Iniative, a major economic development project located in Syracuse, New York. The Near Westside Initiative (NSWI) is a $56 million project that will transform one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States (according to the last Census) into a community filled with market-rate condominiums, office buildings and an extension of the development currently taking place in downtown Syracuse. The project has already been jump-started using public dollars, and the NWSI will continue to seek an infusion of public monies to complete this massive project. SANE firmly believes that community residents should have a voice in the planning and development of the project.
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.
While the national health reform debate rages on, a local program to cover the uninsured is now underway in Santa Clara County, California. On March 1, Working Partnerships USA, in partnership with the Santa Clara Family Health Plan and the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System launched a new health care program for low-wage workers in small businesses called Healthy Workers. The program was developed by the same coalition that created the nation’s first universal health care program for children—the Children’s Health Initiative.
A recently released LAANE study found that the Century Corridor hotel living wage ordinance, combined with the successful negotiation of collective bargaining agreements at four LAX-adjacent hotels, will produce $23.9 million in economic benefits. In 2006, a coalition of community members, workers and clergy leaders joined together as the Coalition for a New Century in an effort to transform thousands of low-wage hotel jobs into family-sustaining jobs and to upgrade a lackluster L.A. tourism district that is often the first glimpse visitors have of the region.
The national spotlight is on the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports' efforts to transform the broken port trucking system. On both coasts our partners have been key players in the fight to end the environmental degradation, health hazards and worker exploitation created by the port trucking industry.
While the recession in Colorado seems to be on the mend, the state still faces job loss: Colorado's job shortfall was estimated by the Economic Policy Institute to be 195,191 jobs in November 2009. As promoting the creation of good jobs has long been central to FRESC's mission, the current recession and recovery efforts provide unique challenges and opportunities for our work.
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.
by Ben Boyce, New Economy Working Solutions