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McDonald’s Ruling Could Open Door for Unions

By Steve Greenhouse

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators — a decision that, if upheld, would disrupt longtime practices in the fast-food industry and ease the way for unionizing nationwide.

Business groups called the decision outrageous. Some legal experts described it as a far-reaching move that could signal the labor board’s willingness to hold many other companies to the same standard of “joint employer,” making businesses that use subcontractors or temp agencies at least partly liable in cases of overtime, wage or union-organizing violations.

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Doing Nothing is Not an Option

By Sarait Martinez-Ortega

Right about now, dozens of children and their families who made a risky and frightening journey across the Southern U.S. border are getting a small bit of comfort from people like you.  Your donations of clothes, blankets, diapers, women’s feminine care products and other necessities collected by San Jose’s Working Partnerships USA were sent to the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice in San Diego for distribution to Central American refugees.   As we wait for our leaders in the Federal Government to stop fighting long enough to do what is right about the refugee crisis, some of us are digging in and doing something.

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Policy Watch: Your Weekly Tip Sheet for What’s Going on in Your Community

By The Left Hook

 San Jose

Potential measures for November Ballot

San Jose City Council has a lot on its plate when Council Members come back from their July break.  Polling results show support for a City sales tax increase and for a 20% Marijuana Business Tax.  The Council may decide whether or not to put either or both items on the November ballot. A solid majority (65%) of voters would support a ballot measure increasing the Marijuana Business Tax from 10 to 20 percent. Additionally, support was strong for the City’s recently adopted medical marijuana distribution regulations.

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The Brazilian Pursuit for Justice and Equality

By Harry Adams

I’m remembering the morning after Brazil´s devastating loss to Germany in the World Cup.  It´s 7 a.m. and I’m taking my usual walk through the center of Caucaia.  The city of 200,000 is already bustling with people catching buses to work or opening their small shops.  Tears were shed last night but today it´s back to work.  It´s also back to debating and struggling for the present and future of Brazil.  As my cousin Nícolas posted, “It’s time for us to reconsider what are our priorities in this life.´´

I´ll let Brazilians debate whether the cost of the World Cup was worth it or not.  Most believe not.  Those of us from the United States can hardly judge since our government has spent $3 trillion dollars (or more) on war and interventions while many needs are unmet.  But I can give you a snapshot from one state in Brazil to see what I´ve observed here.

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Apple Employees are Pretty Smart, But Do They Know About This?

By Jane Martin

Apple, Google and other tech giants in the Silicon Valley are booming.  Those companies are filled with brilliant people, many getting rich from the fruits of their labor.  And they deserve it.  Engineers and designers and other professionals who bring us the devices that make so many lives easier and more productive, work hard at what they do.

But there is another segment of that high tech worker population that’s missing out.  The security officers who make sure the employees at the other end of the spectrum are safe and secure and that their work product is protected, are getting a raw deal. Read more »


Today’s Big Business Can Learn From the Past to Expand the Middle Class

By Ben Field

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country,” he expressed a view shared by many business leaders.  In today’s business climate it seems incredible, but through much of the 20th century business leaders supported workers’ rights.  Why did leading businessmen advocate laws like the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which created the right to collective bargaining, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which created the minimum wage? Read more »


Policy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By Dennis Raj

Readers: It’s another light agenda week. Please enjoy some summer reading inequality and the minimum wage.

Paul Mason writes in the Guardian that the best of capitalism is over for rich counties by painting a bleak picture of what a continuation of “more of the same” means by 2060. Read more »


Dealing with the Central American Refugee Crisis As People of Conscience

By Nichole Lamarche

My daughter, Eliza, has forever changed my view of what it means to feel vulnerable. As Elizabeth Stone says, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Since Jeremy and I welcomed her into our world three years ago this month, we have felt a new kind of tenderness, that is the most amazing joy and also a tremendous risk of the heart. Her presence in our lives has often made me think of how Jesus told his friends that children were onto something- they can teach us about the Kingdom, they are the Kingdom.

The events of the past few months, with the growing humanitarian crisis at the southern border with children fleeing violence from Central and South America has made my heart ache anew for children all over the globe. How would we come out as people of conscience if the measurement was how we have treated our children? Perhaps we avoid asking the deeper questions because it hits too close to home. Read more »


How to Get San Jose’s Groove back

By Michelle Hatfield

Neighborhood safety in San Jose has deteriorated. Potholes riddle our streets. Businesses struggle to have their applications and permits processed. Libraries are shuttered more hours than they’re open. In the video above, San Jose engineers, architects, supervisors and mid-managers detail the challenges that they and their coworkers face as residents question why city services have been cut. Check out the video and learn more. Read more »


Willow Glen’s 2016 Council Race Will Be One to Watch

By Steve Kline

When most politicos say “2016”, they are talking about the Presidential race to succeed Barack Obama.  But in the neighborhoods of San Jose Council District 6, the jockeying for position to replace Pierluigi Oliverio after his 10-year reign of error has begun in earnest.

District 6 is one of the most, if not the most politically active areas in San Jose.With involved citizens from Willow Glen, the Rose Garden, Shasta-Hanchett, College Park, Cory, Canoas Garden, North Willow Glen, Buena Vista, Pamlar and Sherman Oaks neighborhoods often appearing before commissions and the Council.  The number of people who may enter this race is staggering if the early rumors are even half true.

So who are these folks?

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Liccardo Would Add Insult to Injury in Mayor’s Office

By Ben Field

My friends in the Liccardo-for-Mayor camp keep telling me that Sam will not be like Chuck Reed.  It’s hard to believe.  Sam has voted with the Mayor on every major economic justice issue.  The two of them opposed the minimum wage increase, voted to undermine the City’s living wage policy, imposed work conditions on most of the City’s employees and supported illegal, draconian pension changes.

And it’s not just that Sam acts like a conservative Republican on economic justice issues.  Read more »

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Policy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By Dennis Raj

Santa Clara County

Human Relations Commission leads forum on Living Wage

The Resource Development and Outreach Committee of the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission will hold a special meeting regarding its role in the Living Wage proposal. Specifically the Committee wants to host a forum in August to gather input and feedback from the public on the proposed concept of developing a living wage policy for the county. Read more »


Leveling the Playing Field With the Likes of McDonald’s

By Kathryn Carter

Last Sunday at 7pm, the small business my family spent 30 years building was taken away from us. We lost our retirement security, dozens of our employees lost their jobs, and the government lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue when McDonald’s forced us to close our franchised restaurant.

McDonald’s says it did not renew our franchise agreement because we did not attend corporate meetings, even though I was at nearly every one. But I think our restaurant’s closing had something to do with my public support for reform to put fairness into the franchise system, which the company opposes. Read more »


San Jose By The Numbers

By The Left Hook

The Registrar of Voters recently reported numbers from the June 3 Primary and if you’re a political junky (and we know that you are) they’re pretty interesting. The big takeaway is that Mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo is in trouble. Read more »


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