September 2012 will mark the first time an estimated 160,000 employees in Seattle will enjoy paid sick leave benefits. Only Washington, DC and San Francisco have similar laws protecting workers when they are sick. In September 2011, The Seattle City Council in an almost unanimous vote passed a policy mandating tiered Paid Sick Leave benefits.
Councilman Introduces Retail Ordinance That Some Believe Could Thwart Controversial Project
by Richard Guzman
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Wal-Mart’s effort to open a 33,000-square-foot grocery store on Cesar Chavez Avenue near Chinatown has hit a speed bump, with a City Councilman surprising many with a recent introduction of a retail-related motion.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Laws passed by California cities to protect labor when businesses change hands received a boost Monday from the California Supreme Court, which revived a Los Angeles ordinance aimed at protecting grocery workers.
The state high court ruled 6 to 1 that the 2005 city measure, which lower courts had rejected, did not usurp state or federal law or violate constitutional guarantees by requiring new grocery store owners to keep existing employees for months after taking over ownership.
Landmark legislation passed by Pittsburgh City Council ensures taxpayer supported development will have to drastically reduce diesel emissions. The bill requires a portion of the public subsidy be spent on diesel retrofits that can reduce the soot from heavy equipment by 85% or more.
Center on Policy Intiatives' Clare Crawford writes on the risks and uncertainties accompanying San Diego's contracting out of the Miramar Landfill. Contract negotiations remain ongoing as worries about proper oversight of the contract abound. These worries range from adequate oversight staffing resources to safety and environmental impacts in the change of operations continue. Turning over of Miramar Landfill to a private operator fails to protect the public interest.
In Seattle, roughly 190,000 employees – 4 in 10 workers – have no paid sick leave. That's 78% of restaurant workers, 55% of retail workers, and even 29% in health care who have to choose between going to work sick or staying home and losing pay or worse. Sage has taken a lead role as part of the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce, a partnership between businesses, faith-based, labor, family, and community groups, in a campaign to help pass minimum standards for paid sick days.
The Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE) has been helping tenants in New Haven organize for better living conditions. They were recently featured in this article in the New Haven Independent:
"In New Haven, CT Carbon monoxide from faulty furnaces drove Esther Martinez and Charleen Ortiz from their homes this winter. They have since returned home as leaders of a door-to-door organizing effort to give the 300 low-income families there a voice-and place to return to-when the Church Street South housing complex is rebuilt as a mixed-income development.
The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy's Don't Waste LA campaign will create more middle class, green economy jobs, boost recycling rates, and clean up trash truck pollution by transforming the trash and recycling industry in the City. The campaign passed a critical milestone on May 20th when the Los Angeles Board of Public Works voted unanimously in favor of issuing a five-year notice to permitted waste haulers who service L.A.'s business and apartment buildings.
Elected officials need to do a better job of asking the right questions before they make a decision that we'll live with for decades.
Too often, a mayor, governor or other public official proposes to sell off a public facility, privatize a public good or contract out a vital service, but fails to answer basic questions that decision makers and voters need to decide whether it's a good idea.