February 25, 2013 |
Workers in California's beleaguered visual effects industry were left fuming Monday after a speech by Oscar-winning supervisor Bill Westenhofer was cut short -- by the ominous music of "Jaws. " Westenhofer, who led the team at Rhythm & Hues that won a visual effects award for their work on Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," had intended to talk about the plight of his industry, which has hit close to home. The El Segundo visual effects company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors and laid off about 250 workers from its Los Angeles operation amid mounting losses.
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.
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.
March 12, 2012 |
March Madness starts this week and there's a lot of money at stake, including more than $1 billion in wages paid to distracted workers and $2.5 billion in illegal bets. The NCAA basketball tournament will suck 90 minutes out of each workday for 2.5 million workers, according to a report from employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas . If last year is any indication, employers will pay out $175 million in wages to workers who are sneaking peeks at games online, checking scores or managing office pool brackets during the first two days of the tournament, according to Challenger.
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.