events

El Super Workers Escalate Protests

The grocery chain was recently ordered to pay over $180,000 for wage theft violations by the California Labor Commissioner.

 

PARAMOUNT, CA—Workers of the El Super chain of grocery stores descended on their corporate headquarters in Paramount today, demanding that the company return to the bargaining table and put an end to its unfair labor practices. Protestors rallied just one week after Bodega Latina Corporation, El Super’s parent company, was cited for multiple wage theft violations. The Division of Labor Enforcement Standards has issued citations levying a total of $180,668 in penalties for a variety of illegal, off-the-clock work.

 

Early in the morning, El Super workers and their allies rallied in front of a store in the San Fernando Valley community of Arleta, delivering a letter addressed to El Super President and CEO, Carlos A. Smith. The demand was clear – that the company resume contract negotiations with UFCW and address workers’ concerns.

 

After that, the workers went to the El Super market in Panorama City, followed by stores in North Hollywood, East Los Angeles, and 11 other locations. The protestors, who were transported in five buses, converged around 4:00 pm at El Super store in Paramount, in southeast Los Angeles County. These actions were replicated in 40 out of 49 stores throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.

 

“These stores are all understaffed, and supervisors would assign us more work than we could cover during our regular shifts. El Super didn’t give me enough hours, and I would feel pressure to work off-the-clock to finish all I was told to do,” said Antonio Jimenez, who worked for nearly two years as a baker at the El Super store in Highland Park.

 

The protestors were joined by faith-based and elected leaders from across the state of California, along with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770, which represents a portion of El Super’s workforce. “Workers shouldn’t have to fight to receive what they have rightfully earned, and these citations should ensure that El Super finally honors this basic legal, moral obligation to its own employees,” said Rick Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770. “It’s time for El Super to do the right thing, and end its irresponsible, unlawful behavior.”

 

UFCW local unions represent 600 El Super employees, who have been without a union contract since September 2013. In addition, the U.S. Government has filed suit against El Super in federal court in both California and Arizona to seek injunctive relief against it for violating federal labor law.

UCB Labor Center Invitation: Latino Leadership Institute Study

The UC Berkeley Labor Center is excited to announce the return of the Latino Leadership School. In the past, the Latino Leadership School was a yearly tradition for labor and community organizations in the Central Valley to fill a leadership-training gap and deepen relationships in the Central Valley.

Now, the goal of the UC Berkeley Labor Center is to create an ongoing Latino Leadership Institute in California’s Central Coast & Valley that not only provides leadership development trainings but also creates opportunities for leaders to take a step back from the daily activities of activism and action, share experiences, learn from each other, and emerge with plans to affect change in California.

To see this goal through the UC Berkeley Labor Center has partnered with Cesar Lara, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Labor Council and other collaborating unions and organizations.

Guadalupe Palma, former Director of the LA Fight for $15 Campaign has come on board to lead the program. Latinos in California became the largest ethnic group in 2014 making up 39% of the state’s population.

In counties throughout the Central Valley and the Coast, Latinos make up over 50% of the population (Merced 56.8%, Monterey 56.8%, Fresno 51.6%, Kern 50.9%).  Although Latinos’ strength has grown in numbers, it has not translated to economic prosperity and political strength.  Latino workers are still overrepresented in low wage jobs, the immigration system remains broken and Latino youth remain overrepresented in prisons.  Yet, despite the challenges, Latinos are pivotal to create positive change throughout the state. Given the critical moment for Latinos in California, now is the time to further develop emerging leaders through the Latino Leadership institute.

The Institute is hosting a three-day intensive program that recognizes labor and community partnerships as a key building block to effectuate change throughout California’s Central Coast and Valley.  Leading community, labor and political organizers will facilitate trainings that provide first-hand experience on such issues as immigrants’ rights, civic participation, health and safety and environmental justice.

The workshops will be bilingual and in Spanish (possibly in indigenous languages or translation). We hope you support the return of the Latino Leadership Institute by sending members, leaders and staff.  The cost for this educational program is $480, which includes food and lodging for all the days of the Institute. Please complete the linked application before the deadline of August 14, 2015.

Participants will be informed by August 31, 2015 if you are accepted to attend the Institute. The Institute will take place on September 22 – 25, 2015 in San Juan Bautista in Monterey County at the St. Francis Retreat Center.  Participants should arrive in the afternoon on September 22 for registration and welcome. Space for this program is limited.

We gladly to extend the opportunity to register participants before we publish the registration and scholarship application on our website, please review links provided here: Workshop Selections Registration Application

A limited number of scholarships will be available for community-based organizations. Participants are required to complete the scholarship application before August 14. Scholarship Application

For more information visit the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s website in the coming weeks at: www.laborcenter.berkeley.edu.

In Solidarity, Guadalupe Palma Program Lead 213-448-7139 guadalupe.palma8@gmail.com

And Clementina Jara Program Coordinador 510-643-7048 zenaida@berkeley.edu

Gang of Eight announces plan for Immigration Reform

 

The Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight formally announced their plan for immigration reform in a press conference on Thursday. 04/18/2013