Business and Labor
By Miriam Raftery
July 31, 2013 (San Diego) -- On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council yesterday enacted a significant reform benefitting city workers. Mayor Bob Filner’s proposal to require that construction workers on city projects be paid a prevailing wage won approval in a 5 to 4 vote. The prevailing wage is defined as the most commonly paid wage for a particular type of work in San Diego County.
“This decision to pay a fair, livable wage to the hard working men and women in the construction business is long overdue,” said Mayor Filner. “I applaud the City Councilmembers who stood up to do the right thing and voted in favor of the Prevailing Wage Ordinance.”
By Miriam Raftery
July 18, 2013 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation into law that overhauls the state’s enterprise zone program of tax credits for employers hiring in designated areas. The old Enterprise Zone system had been criticized as wasteful and ineffective at creating jobs.
The reforms were backed by labor and manufacturing interests, though some business representatives have raised concerns over elimination of the old enterprise zone program.
The new measures, including Senate Bill 90 and Assembly Bill 93, were signed into law in San Diego on July 11 at Takeda, a local biotech firm.
July 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Once again the winemakers of East County Vintners have demonstrated their winemaking skills at the annual San Diego County Fair competition.
New to the competition is David Raum of Potrero, whose 2012 Viognier (a white wine with notes of pear) took home a silver medal. Richard Westfall (Campo) received “the best of class” and gold medal for his 2011 Mourvédre. He also received a silver medal for his 2011 Primitivo, a silver for his 2008 Aglianico and a bronze medal for his 2011 Cabernet Franc. Janet Wright (Potrero) also received a silver medal for her 2011 Primitivo.
July 12, 2013 (Lakeside) -- The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce has named Bonnie LaChappa as the 2013 Lakeside Citizen of the Year with their Harry J. Spence Award. Bonnie, a lifelong Lakeside resident and an elected member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians Tribal Council, is well known for her tireless volunteerism in the East County community.
“Giving back and sharing have always been a big part of our Barona Tribal culture,” said Clifford LaChappa, Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “We are very proud of everything Councilwoman LaChappa has done in the community to earn this meaningful award.”
ASSEMBLYMAN JONES’ BILL TO CONFORM STATE AND FEDERAL “MADE IN AMERICA” LABELING STANDARDS IN CA KILLED IN COMMITTEE
By Miriam Raftery
July 1, 2013 (Sacramento) -- Legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) to modify “Made in America” labeling standards has been killed the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Assembly Bill 890 would permit a product to qualify as “Made in America” if 90% of the components of the merchandise were made in the United States. Current California law requires 100%.
June 25, 2013 (Borrego Springs) - Hotel Managers Group (HMG Hotels) and Casa Del Zorro LLC., the ownership and management team for La Casa Del Zorro Hotel and Resort in Borrego Springs, CA. recently announced that Lure Agency and Jen Roche PR have been selected as social media marketing and public relations agencies of record respectively. The two agencies will work in concert to rebuild the brand of the iconic property, which will reopen in fall 2013.
June 17, 2013 (San Diego) — According to the Manpower Employment Outlet Survey, employers in San Diego County expect to hire at a solid pace during the third quarter of 2013.
From July to September, 19% of companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 69% expect to maintain their current workforce levels. On the other end of the job spectrum, 8% of area companies expect to reduce staff and 4% are simply not certain of their hiring plans. All of this action yields a net employment outlook of 11%.
By Nadin Abbott
June 12, 2013 (Chula Vista)—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-53) came to Southwestern College to participate in a forum celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act on June 10.
President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. It was sponsored by one of the first women elected to the House, Patsy Mink from Hawaii. Mink also sponsored the legislation behind Title VIX.
June 12, 2013 (La Mesa)- On Saturday, June 15, the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and the Grossmont Healthcare District will again team up to produce Summer Healthcare Saturday, a one day health exposition that will be held at Grossmont Center in La Mesa.
The event will feature free demonstrations, free health information and screenings. Up to 75 booths are expected to be present and lining up throughout the mall.
WALMART WORKERS ANNOUNCE STRIKE: “RIDE FOR RESPECT” TO DELIVER COMPLAINTS TO SHAREHOLDER MEETING JUNE 7
By Miriam Raftery
June 2, 2013 (San Diego) – Walmart workers from across the U.S. including some in San Diego County are on strike, seeking more hours to support their families. They are joining a “Ride for Respect” traveling to a Walmart shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas on June 7 to deliver their message.
Our Walmart, a workers’ group, is asking the public to sign a petition in support. The petition states that “many workers at Walmart must rely on food stamps and even go hungry because of lack of hours and low wages.” Workers also allege that Walmart has retaliated by firing workers or cutting hours of those who spoke up for their rights. The petition asks Walmart to commit to raise wages and increase access to full-time hours so that workers will earn at least $25,000 a year.
New Report Detailing CA Domestic Workers’ Economic Hardship, Workplace Abuses Underscores Need for Equal Labor Protections
May 29, 2013 (Sacramento)—Today, the California State Assembly passed the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (AB 241 Ammiano). If signed into law, the bill would extend basic labor protections—like overtime pay and rest breaks—to the workers who care for California’s homes and families.
“If we can’t pass this bill this year and get it signed, we will owe an explanation to the workers,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, the bill’s author. “These workers, who are mostly women, keep our households running smoothly, care for our children, and enable people with disabilities to live at home and remain engaged in our communities. Why shouldn’t they have overtime protections like the average barista or gas station attendant?”
May 27, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) has named East County resident Lawrence O’Leary president of its board of directors. The San Diego Chapter of the CLCA aims to serve, protect and promote professionalism; and advance public awareness of the landscape industry.
O’Leary is director of sales and marketing at Hydro-Scape Products Inc., a leading provider of landscape and irrigation supplies. Hydro-Scape has 18 different locations serving Southern California, Hawaii and international locations.
May 7, 2013 (San Diego) - With the recent completion of a state audit of the City of San Diego Development Services Department, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian calls for the City of San Diego to take action, based on those results. “In light of the finding by state auditors, our city has no choice but to take extreme action on the Walmart project in Sherman Heights,” demanded Kasparian. “The clear violations of City codes and procedures, possible ethics violations, and a complete lack of transparency, are stunning in their magnitude.”
Stock market rallies in response to news
By Jonathan Goetz
The jobless recovery is adding jobs, slowly and steadily. April job numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the US unemployment rate at 7.5%, the lowest rate in four years. The main job growth was in retail and food services however, and not the same high-paying industries that saw major job losses in the Great Recession.
On Friday, the Dow responded to the positive hiring news by reaching 15,000 for the first time before closing at 14,972, up .9% from the opening bell. The S&P ended 1% higher, also breaking the record by reaching the 1,600 mark. Growth in US markets was spread over most industries, including the beleaguered steel industry, with three stocks closing higher for every one stock closing lower.
By Nadin Abbott (excerpt from Nadin Abbott's blog)
May 1, 2013 (San Diego)– Hundreds of Union Members and supporters came out today to the streets of San Diego to march for both labor right and immigrant rights. Pedro Rios of the Friends Committee (from El Cajon) said that “May Day is a day we are reclaiming for our community.”
Marches started in 2006 “when there were macro demonstrations around the country,” including San Diego. At the national level, this is about Immigrant Rights, which are connected to labor rights. May Day also celebrates the events of the Haymarket on May 1st, 1886 when a bomb went off at the Haymarket in Chicago, killing police officers and strikers alike.
Celebration Aims to Get 100,000 to Support Fair Trade
May 1, 2013 (La Mesa) - La Mesa Fair Trade and San Diego Fair Trade will hold a Fair Trade Day on Saturday, May 11 in celebration of World Fair Trade Day. N. Americans will gather from May 4-19, to invite friends, coworkers and neighbors to participate in Fair Trade activities for World Fair Trade Day, the largest Fair Trade event of the year. Participants will support trade justice and celebrate the producers, businesses and advocates who practice Fair Trade.
April 23, 2013 (Poway) -- Members of the business community are invited to attend the Poway Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Mixer at Business Copier Solutions at 13750 Danielson Street, Poway, CA 92064 on Thursday, April 25, 2013 from 5:30 -7:30pm.
Free refreshments and entertainment will be provided and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held during the Mixer. Business Copier Solutions will also host an Open House from 1:00 to 7:30pm. During the open house, a surprise Padres Player will be on-hand for pictures and autographs. Attendees will also have the chance to enter opportunity drawings.
Tips and tricks for business success and growth
By Rama Beerfas
April 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Good marketing is all about making you stand out from the others - building a brand that is recognizable, unique and compelling. Why, then do so many business owners insist on doing what someone or everyone else is doing?
For instance, how many times have you watched a commercial on TV and thought that it must have been written by, or stolen from, the same people who did an ad for a different company. You know, what I mean - it had the same feel, flow and concept as an ad you'd seen at least a month ago for a totally different product. Did it make you remember the new product being advertised, or simply recall the ad it seemed to be based on?
April 16, 2013 (La Mesa) – Tickets are now on sale for the 5th Annual Taste of La Mesa to be held on June 10 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa. The event features great food and desserts from local restaurants, as well as entertainment.
April 12, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its 11th annual “Grip It & Rip It!” golf tournament on May 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Sycuan Resort.
The Chamber invites participants to “ditch your suit and rock the argyle” at Sycuan Resort’s Pine Glen Executive Course for an afternoon of “golf, hilarious fun and incredible networking.”
Angels of Hope, serving Chaldean and Arabic communities in El Cajon, is among recent loan recipients fulfilling a dream
April 8, 2013 (El Cajon)—An El Cajon woman’s goal of providing trauma counseling to refugees in East County has been fulfilled, thanks to Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo, a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses, recently announced a commitment to lend $55 billion to woman-owned businesses in the U.S. by 2020.
As part of that commitment, the company has provided a commercial real estate loan for licensed clinical social worker Bernadette Talia to purchase office space in El Cajon to house her new Angels of Hope Counseling practice.
Talia, who is trilingual and specializes in trauma counseling, is fulfilling a vast need in the East County community, as many residents are refugees from the Middle East and have suffered traumatic life experiences. Now she will be able to provide affordable counseling and services to individuals and families. Talia’s goal isn’t to just reach the approximate 30,000 Chaldean’s living in El Cajon, but to the whole Arabic speaking community, treating their specific mental health needs.
CONGRESSMAN VARGAS CALLS FOR EMERGENCY AMNESTY MEASURE TO PROTECT THREATENED WORKERS, VISITS WITH “SAN DIEGO NINE” ON HUNGER STRIKE
By Nadin Abbott
April 7, 2013 (San Diego) Updated April 8 with statement by Evolution Hospitality—East County residents and Congressman Juan Vargas (D-51), whose district includes the border areas in East County, turned out yesterday in support of low wage workers staging a hunger strike at the Mission Valley Hilton. Vargas spoke with ECM on immigration reform and how it applies to this situation.
The workers want the right to organize a union and collectively bargain for a labor contract. Employees contend that management is using immigration status to selectively threaten union organizers—while at the same time outsourcing housekeepers’ work to undocumented workers paid more than long-time employees.
Rural areas could have major impacts, loss of service;
Postal Rep says San Diego Congressman blocks reforms
By Nadin Abbott
March 25, 2013 (San Diego)—Over 600 people from as far away as Brawley and Los Angeles turned out at Sunday’s “Delivering for America” rally to protest impending slashing of postal services that could leave some rural residents with no mail delivery.
“Rural customers will probably feel the worst of it,” George Elias, Executive Vice President, Branch 70 of the Letter Carriers Union told ECM, referring to the upcoming elimination of Saturday mail service. Moreover, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe wants to stop door-to-door delivery and close some rural Post Offices, he said.
By Miriam Raftery
March 24, 2013 (Alpine)—Seven Alpine businesses have filed a lawsuit alleging that SDG&E failed to adequately reimburse business owners for losses caused by the two-year project to underground the high-voltage Sunrise Powerlink lines along Alpine Boulevard. Plaintiffs allege that some businesses were forced out of business, while others suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.
An attorney for plaintiffs contends that SDG&E did not live up to its promises to mitigate construction impacts by limited portions of Alpine Boulevard, instead creating a “gauntlet of construction obstacles” that drove customers away.
By Caprice Harrison
March 26, 2013 (El Cajon) – Heartland Fire Training Facility hosts a, “Joint Chamber Mixer” this Thursday, March 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., located at 1301 North Marshall Avenue, El Cajon.
Join Chambers from throughout the East County to learn about the facility that provides ongoing fire training for the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee; the fire protection districts of Alpine, Bonita, Lakeside and San Miguel, San Diego County Fire Authority, Barona and Viejas.
By Nadin Abbott
March 20, 2013 (San Diego)—Federal employees and their families at a rally outside the 32nd Street Naval Station today came to bring attention to the effects of the federal sequester in their lives. This is a reality for them right now, not just a headline in a paper.
So how exactly will this affect East County residents in the near future?
March 17, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A join Chamber of Commerce mixer will be held at the Heartland Fire Training Facility in El Cajon on March 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Join Chambers from throughout East County to learn about the Facility that provides training for east county. There will be food & beverage, demonstrations, hands-on activities, a Mayor's challenge, and meet your firefighters.
Bill would provide federal tax adjustment to local breweries
March 7, 2013 (San Diego)-- To help the local craft brewing industry, Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) joined a bipartisan group of members in cosponsoring H.R. 494, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act.
“San Diego is increasingly becoming known as a hub of the craft brewing industry, which has contributed to the growth of small businesses and jobs in the region,” said Davis, a member of the House Small Business Caucus. “Small, independent brewers are a fast rising segment of our economy and Congress should help them compete against large, multi-national brewers.”
By Miriam Raftery
An ECM exclusive special report
"I think the organization is finished. It can't run by committee, which is what's being proposed." -- Mike D. Cully, former Chief Executive Officer
March 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated 3:30 p.m. – Last week, ECM reported that the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce let go its Chief Executive Officer, Scott Alevy, and terminated the position amid dwindling financial resources.
Now Mike D. Cully, former CEO of the Chamber who was fired in September 2010, reveals that he recently won a lawsuit against the Chamber over his termination. “I feel comfortable talking about this now," said Cully, who has not spoken publicly about the issues until now.
Moreover, Cully reveals a troubled financial history at the organization he once ran. “The problems with the Chamber preceded my arrival,” he told ECM in an e-mail response requesting his comments on the Chamber's current issues. “When I was interviewing, I requested, but never got—a full download of their financial status. And for good reason, in retrospect.”
THE COALITION FOR CHANGE (C4C) FIGHTS FOR CHANGE FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: LAUNCHES “UNLEASH NO FEAR” CAMPAIGN
Article by Dennis Moore
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.” --Frederick Douglass
March 6, 2013 (San Diego)--Thousands of federal employees in the San Diego area are soon to be impacted by sequestration, automatic budget cuts mandated by the federal government. These cuts may have a larger impact on San Diego County than anywhere else in the U.S., since our region is home to wide-ranging naval operations, a bustling border and vibrant biotech and drone sectors. About $37 billion flows into the County each year, including billions of dollars for defense contracts and millions more for research efforts.
The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) is a Washington, DC based organization that promotes equality as well as exposes retaliation and racism in the federal government. “Civil servants (i.e., agents, air marshals, food inspectors, investigators, corrections officers, firefighters) function as America’s first line of defense against domestic threats. Therefore, we must protect our federal workforce against managerial abuse and reprisal in order to better protect our citizens.” That is what Tanya Ward Jordan, the founder of C4C, believes and espouses in her daily activities and advocacy on behalf of this organization. Now C4C is ramping up to strengthen its fight for federal workers.