By Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
Courtesy of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
Sisters and Brothers,
As a way to ensure better communication with all of you, we are starting the year with our monthly “5 Things You Need to Know” about California Labor.
Last year we launched what will become our largest initiative over the next two years. Unionize California is our effort to grow the labor movement by: meeting workers where they are and providing them the information to join a union, training the next generation of union organizers, and passing laws that help us organize and build stronger unions. The California Labor Federation is committed to putting organizing first on our agenda. We even launched a webpage to help workers who want a voice on the job connect with the appropriate union. By popular demand, we will also be opening up a Unionize California shop on our website to order signage, buttons, cards, shirts, and other swag. Stay tuned!
Organize California Institute
We are excited to announce that we will be launching the Organize California Institute to provide organizing training to union members across the state and build our capacity to bring more workers into the labor movement. The Organize CA Institute (OCI) will be an interactive 3-day training with a mixture of presentations given by experienced union organizers and role-plays based on workplace scenarios. Following the training, participants will have the opportunity to join an organizing drive where they can sharpen their skills with on-the-ground experience in organizing, while helping to strengthen their local unions.
Our first OCI training and organizing drive will be held in partnership with the San Diego Central Labor Council on February 24 to February 26. Please note that spaces are limited and priority will be given to those who can participate in the organizing drive.
If you would like to register multiple members from your union, or if you have questions about the San Diego training, please email email@example.com. For inquiries about future Organize California Institute trainings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In November, you may have heard that nearly 48,000 academic workers at the University of California went on strike. In a showing of awe-inspiring solidarity, the unions of the Labor Fed unanimously sanctioned the strike and countless members and allies joined the UAW on the picket line. Unions like the State Building Trades affiliates and the Teamsters UPS drivers honored the picket line and refused to cross. Thanks to your strength and support, these four bargaining units won historic new contracts that were ratified just days before Christmas. The gains made by these workers, including significant increases in wages and paid family leave, are being viewed as a new standard in academia. It’s also inspiring other academic workers, like those at USC, to also unionize!
Labor Diaper Drive
Diaper need is an issue that too many working families face. The cost of diapers continues to rise, costing upwards of $120 a month to diaper a baby! Childcare has been identified as a major issue for workers, but childcare cannot be accessed if a family doesn’t have a daily supply of clean diapers. Inspired by the Ironworkers Local 229 in San Diego, the California Labor Fed is kicking off our first “Labor Gives Back” Statewide Diaper Drive to help workers in need. Our diaper drive is ongoing until February 14th! Show some love and host a diaper drive with your union or join the ongoing drives at the following locations. For more information, please contact Diamond Brandon at email@example.com.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.” – MLK
California celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in January. California union members joined others in community celebrations throughout the state. Many folks overlook Dr. King’s advocacy for workers and unions, but he often tied the fight for racial justice to the fight for economic justice and the need for increased unionization. In fact, when he was tragically assassinated in Memphis, he had been in town to support striking sanitation workers. The connection between the labor movement and this civil rights icon cannot be overstated.