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San Jose Workers Rally Against High Rise Developers

Today, more than 1,000 local construction trade workers gathered to rally against developers and land speculators like KT Urban for failing to hire local skilled workers and pay them middle-class family sustainable wages. KT Urban is currently developing its latest high-rise, luxury condominium project, Silvery Towers, in downtown San Jose.

Workers also urged San Jose elected officials to create good public policy that holds developers accountable to hire local workers, pay a family sustainable wage and support apprenticeship and veteran’s job creation efforts.

While development is booming, companies like KT Urban are exploiting workers and making it increasing difficult for our local construction trade workers to support their families and meet their basic needs.


Policy Watch: Week of 9/26

Santa Clara County

Creating Oversight Committee for Measure A Housing Bond; Counsel advised to not include Assessor or a housing advocate

On August 16, the Board of Supervisors directed Administration to draft an ordinance to establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee for the Housing Bond.  The attached ordinance meets the Board’s referral, with two exceptions.

First, to ensure full independence of the Committee, and based on feedback from bond counsel, best practices counsel against naming any officer or employee of the organization as a member of the Committee.  Accordingly, the proposed Ordinance does not include the Assessor and in his place includes a member of the general public.  Second, given the focus of the Housing Bond, the Administration recommends that the “housing advocate” member of the committee be replaced by “an affordable/supportive housing professional.”  The proposed Ordinance also prohibits alternates from serving on the Committee.

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Policy Watch: Week of 9/19

City of San Jose

Approving an additional $1.9 M for outside staffing in Planning Dept. plus 5 one-year options

In February 2012, the City Council approved hiring private contractors to address

temporary or “peak staffing” requirements in City departments including building inspection, plan review, planning services, and fire inspection services. A total of $5 million has been approved to outside staffing. However, as of July 2016, the aggregate expenditure for staffing services stood at $4.7 million. Additionally, the Code Enforcement Division anticipates a new requirement for code enforcement inspection services by December 2016.

They are therefore requesting an additional $1.9 million for outside staffing though July 31, 2017 as well as the authority to extend the Agreements for up to five additional one-year options through July 31, 2022.

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Santa Clara VTA Votes for Community Workforce Agreement Policy

Last week the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board took a big step towards shrinking inequality and building an inclusive middle class.  The Board voted to open up career opportunities on over $4 billion in construction projects for local community members who are struggling to find good, family-supporting jobs.  This groundbreaking Community Workforce Agreement policy was a major goal of the Construction Careers Initiative, initiated by the action-oriented think tank Working Partnerships USA in collaboration with the Santa Clara Building Trades Council, the South Bay Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, the South Bay Labor Council, affiliated construction unions and apprenticeship programs and community partners.  The policy, which will create a pipeline for high-road, middle class construction jobs, will likely be seen as a model for cities and other local government bodies in Silicon Valley and around the country.


Cafeteria Workers at Intel Are Latest Tech Service Workers To Join Union

Cafeteria workers at Intel’s Santa Clara campus voted overwhelmingly to unionize and be represented by UNITE HERE Local 19.

Following key wins by janitors, security officers and shuttle bus drivers, this victory for food service workers — the fastest growing subcontracted industry that serves the tech sector — breaks new ground for Silicon Valley Rising, an unprecedented campaign across these low-wage industries to combat occupational segregation in the tech industry.

This victory for the workers at Intel, employed by a contractor called Eurest, represents a major new breakthrough in the larger effort by Silicon Valley’s workers and communities to build an inclusive middle class in the region. It comes after a year-long effort by these workers — whose green badges signified they couldn’t access the services available to blue-badged direct employees — to organize for decent wages, respect, and a voice at work.

Intel barista Maria Guadalupe Guerrero said, “If you are being disrespected or discriminated against, I’m here to tell you that you can have a voice at work. You can stand up for your rights and go to work with your head held high.”


The Two Faces of San Jose City Council Candidate Dev Davis

You’ve got to give it to San Jose City Council candidate Dev Davis for her chutzpah.  She held a press conference to denounce fellow Republican Donald Trump for his Neanderthal views towards women, while Ms. Davis by contrast “vows to defend women.”  Ironically, her answers on the questionnaire of the socially conservative Values Advocacy Council reveal a different Dev Davis.  On the questionnaire, she claims to be both pro-choice and anti-choice, which does not sound much like a principled stand for anything, much less advocacy for perhaps the most fundamental of women’s rights.  Ms. Davis’s attempt to get press for one position while taking another reminds The Left Hook of another Republican politician.  So did her position on a women’s right to choose.  Can you guess who that Republican politician is?  Yes, like the Donald himself Dev Davis seems to be of two minds on the choice issue.  And like the Donald himself, Ms. Davis loudly proclaims she’s something she’s not.  It seems the more she tries to distance herself from her party’s stand bearer the more she resembles him.



Drivers at Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation Join Teamsters

Today brought news about a big tech shuttle bus driver win. Drivers at Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation — serving companies including Cisco Systems, Zynga, Electronic Arts, and Intuit — joined the Teamsters union.

This is a critical victory in the larger effort by Silicon Valley’s workers and communities to combat occupational segregation in the tech industry under the Silicon Valley Rising campaign. Research has found that compared to the well-paid engineers and programmers at large tech companies, the bus drivers, security officers, janitors, and food service workers who keep these firms running smoothly are six times more likely to be black or Latino — and on average earn just one-sixth as much.

For more than a year, the drivers at Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation have been fighting for union representation. By standing together, joining with the community to push for labor harmony in the commuter shuttle industry and voting to join Teamsters Local 665, Bauer’s drivers will improve their working conditions and demonstrate the positive role that unions play in the lives of working families.


Policy Watch: Week of 9/12

City of San Jose

Approving 1 million square feet for Santana West development

The proposed Santana West development includes 1 million square feet of office and commercial/retail, including mini-storage, outdoor theater, and television/radio station uses; conceptual drawings show ground floor retail including a grocery store.

The 12.99-acre site currently houses the historic Century 21 Theater domes, Flames Restaurant, and a large parking lot. The owner is Winchester Investment LLC.

In conjunction with the Santana West project, a Transportation Development Policy and mitigation fee ordinance (traffic impact fee program) is being proposed to help pay for future modifications to the I-280/Winchester interchange.

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Steve Brown’s Open Discrimination Against “Suspected” LGBTQ People

Let’s be blunt. San Jose City Council Candidate Steve Brown is a hate-filled bigot who believes that LGBTQ people are second-class citizens. He sees nothing wrong with businesses refusing to serve individuals they suspect of being LGBTQ. He also opposes marriage equality.

“Steve Brown’s homophobic views perpetuate a cycle of oppression and fear that cannot be tolerated,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council. “Brown rejects the Labor movement’s positive agenda of social justice, inclusion and equality. We cannot afford to have Steve Brown on our City Council.”

Brown’s endorsers, including former Mayor Chuck Reed, Santa Clara County Republican Party, San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility should be ashamed of Brown’s bigotry and ought to rescind their endorsements immediately.


Policy Watch: Week of 9/5

County of Santa Clara

Consider recommendations & direction on pay equity and wage theft

Possible action:

  1. Receive report from Office of the County Executive and Office of the County Counsel relating to the State’s audit on county pay practices and proposed policy changes related to pay equity for County employees and contractors.
  2. Provide direction relating to proposed amendments to Board of Supervisors’ Policy relating to the Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination provision in County contracts.

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