March 28, 2013
Re "Worker dies in line of duty," Column, March 26 Thanks to Gale Holland and The Times for bringing attention to the plight of workers who lose their lives doing work that many of us take for granted. Backhoe operator Gilbert Vargas' job was a dangerous one, and his death highlights the need for us to pay tribute to those who make our lives easier, including farm workers who enable us to put food on our tables. The Food Empowerment Project, where I am a board member, has focused on the unnecessary deaths in California of workers picking fruits and vegetables in 100-degree heat.
August 21, 2013 |
Last week, the U.S. government declassified a report about a secret facility in Nevada. Such declassifications are nothing new but, from the report's 400 pages, two words immediately jumped out: Area 51. The government had finally acknowledged the name of a controversial base in the desert north of Las Vegas where it conducted top-secret research. The document's release will do little to quash the glut of Area 51 conspiracy theories about recovered alien spaceships and government cover-ups.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2013 |
San Francisco dodged a bullet with Gov. Jerry Brown's deadline maneuver to block a strike by BART employees that would have left hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters and tourists stranded and scrambling. But the temporary delay won't resolve an issue that goes deeper than benefits and wages: This high-stakes standoff has fed the perception that public sector employees are oblivious to other workers' economic pain. Last month's five-day strike by Bay Area Rapid Transit workers brought that notion into stark relief, in a region where economy and geography make public transportation a lifeline, not just a convenience.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - The decision to furlough state employees during the financial crises of recent years may have saved money in the short term but will leave a big bill down the road, the Legislature's budget advisors said Thursday. The state will owe $1 billion extra to many workers when they retire or quit, for vacation time that went unused while they were being forced to take unpaid days off. The furloughs were intended to save $5 billion from February 2009 to July 2013, effectively cutting workers' pay 5% to 14%. The $1 billion for unused vacation - some in excess of state accrual limits - will eat into those savings, according to a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
May 17, 2013 |
Another tragedy at a Bangladesh clothing factory, another announcement by Wal-Mart about additional steps it will take to beef up worker safety, this time by inspecting all of its suppliers' facilities itself. Not that the retailing giant hasn't made real efforts already to improve employee safety in notoriously bad factories overseas, but the deaths of more than 1,100 people at the Rana Plaza factory last month should signal that a piecemeal, go-it-alone approach is insufficient, even for the biggest retailer in the world.
February 22, 2013 |
Ang Lee's acclaimed 3-D movie "Life of Pi" is a front-runner to win a top visual effects award at the Oscars. But some of the people who worked on the film's dazzling visual effects aren't celebrating. In fact, they're planning to stage a protest to call attention to their own plight -- and that of California visual effects workers in general. A group of visual effects workers has arranged to have a plane fly a banner over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during the red carpet Academy Awards pre-show to protest their circumstances.