South Bay Labor Council Reports!

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Living Wage campaign @ SJ International

Better airport service and security will come from extending San Jose’s Living Wage policy to cover all San Jose International workers. The South Bay Labor Council, Working Partnerships USA, faith and community leaders launched a campaign to do so last week, supported by Vice Mayor Dave Cortese and City Councilmember Forrest Williams.

Speakers at the April 30 San Jose City Council Rules Committee meeting expressed the urgent need for action by the Council, relating tales of severe economic hardship – exacerbated by continually increasing housing and food prices. A recent survey indicated that workers who don’t receive wages at the standard of a living wage are far more likely to seek other employment, resulting in continuous turn-over and new, untrained employees at the airport.

Visit for more information and to get involved in the campaign.

Sunnyvale Council supports Service Workers

The local Labor movement and UNITE HERE won big in Sunnyvale last week when the City Council, led by Mayor Tony Spitaleri and Councilmember Otto Lee, adopted a resolution encouraging companies to hire food service, janitorial and security contractors that meet Code of Conduct standards. The 5-2 vote asks employers to ensure that workers receive good pay, benefits and working conditions, be allowed to remain in their jobs when contractors change, and be allowed to unionize.

Leading up to the vote, Silicon Valley religious and community leaders, organized by the Interfaith Council, gathered at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church in a community forum on Human Dignity for Silicon Valley Service Workers.

Food service, janitorial and security workers shared their testimonies of struggle for dignity and respect at the April 7 forum, held almost 40 years to the day after King’s assassination. Dr. Clayborne Carson, founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford, and a panel of faith leaders called on local elected officials to pressure business leaders to adopt a Code of Conduct for companies that contract out their support services.

Justice for Janitors @ Applied Materials

More than 400 workers and supporters marched on Applied Materials’ Santa Clara offices April 10 calling for improvements in janitors’ wages and benefits. The march, called by the Interfaith Council, called on Applied Materials will publicly display its support for Justice for Janitors and send a clear message to contractors that the rights and dignity of janitors must be recognized.

More than 20,000 California janitors San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento are bargaining for new contracts this spring leading in the largest-ever statewide mobilization effort. They are demanding good jobs including wages you can raise a family on, access to quality heath care and respect.

Breakfast with candidates primary campaign

Have breakfast with City Council candidate Ash Kalra and Board of Supervisors candidate Dave Cortese on Saturday morning, then spend some time phone banking to kick off the June 3 primary campaign.

Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 3 at the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council offices at 2102 Almaden Road, Suite 107 followed by a few hours on the phones. Regular phone banking will run 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the Labor Council. Please RSVP to

With the campaign underway, be sure to contact the Labor Council to signup for a night of phone banking! Everyone’s small contribution leads to success on Election Day. And with more than two-thirds of votes expected to come from absentee voters who begin voting next week, the time we need volunteers is now!

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins @ Cornell University

“Our movement is about justice and human rights,” not just wages and benefits, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins told Cornell University’s annual Union Days event last week.

The executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council was one of four speakers invited to participate in a panel discussion on “Worker Power in the 2008 Election: Is Change for Real,” sponsored by the Ithaca, N.Y., university’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Also on the panel were Jane McDonald-Pines, executive assistant to the executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute; and Barbara Lifton, New York State Assemblywoman.

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