Grocery Workers’ Vanishing Horizons

grocery store worker wages

Steve Mikulan: The three percent of the state’s private-sector workforce that is involved in selling groceries is finding it more difficult to buy food. Nearly a third of this industry’s workers depend on state assistance such as CalFresh or MediCal to meet basic nutritional and health care needs.

Dark Money, Honey: How a Koch Ring Got Busted

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Steven Mikulan: Last week’s announcement of a settlement between the state of California and two political campaign organizations linked to the Koch brothers fittingly coincided with the centenary of the first scientific explorations of Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits.

Misinterpreting an Urgent Medical Need

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Steven Mikulan: AB 1263 that Brown vetoed would have addressed California’s acute shortage of medical translators by permitting the state to spend $200,000 to gain access to $270 million in Affordable Care Act funds to create about 7,000 interpreter jobs within 10 years.

Citizens United on Steroids

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Steven Mikulan: McCutcheon, like Citizens United and virtually every other right-wing attempt to return the United States to its Gilded Age of conspicuous inequality, stakes its claim on the First Amendment — it’s all about free speech.

A Touch of Class: Knowing Our Place on the Social Ladder

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Steven Mikulan: The heady optimism that has traditionally led many Americans to believe we’re doing better than we actually are – a mirage consensus fed by television shows and movies featuring families who never seem to worry about money or employment – is eroding.

Will Walmart Kill Chinatown?

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Steven Mikulan: Walmart’s potentially devastating impact on more than 30 mom and pops will have “a ripple effect” in Walmart, leaving many boarded-up stores that will scare off investors and tourists alike.

Walmart Workers Fight Poverty: A Cashier’s Story

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eptember’s shaping up to be another tough month for Martha Sellers. The Walmart cashier cleared $732 on her last twice-monthly paycheck but hasn’t paid this month’s $700 rent on her place in Bellflower. When she does, she’ll have to decide how much of the remaining $32 will be divided between food and gas to get [...]

Looking for the Union Label in All the Right Places

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Steven Mikulan: Labor 411 has expanded into both printed guides and a Web site that caters to socially conscious consumers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Click on an item and information about both the manufacturer and the union that represents the company’s workers pops up.

Casino Mogul Doubles Down Against Unions

sheldon adelson

Steven Mijulan: Sheldon Adelson, the gnomish, ginger-haired casino magnate who threw more than $150 million after Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and other candidates in 2012, let it be known to the house organ of the One Percent that he plans to double the amount he spent in 2012 in upcoming elections.

Eastern Docks Headed for a Rumble?

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Steve Mikulan: The International Longshoremen’s Association hasn’t waged a full-fledged strike since 1977, but is now threatening to do so if a new collective bargaining agreement is not in place by December 30.

A Guide to Black Friday Walmart Strikes

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Steven Mikulan: Walmart is ordering in armies of its underpaid employees to work on a night they have traditionally enjoyed as a holiday. But the only tradition this company respects is that of making money on the backs of its mistreated “associates.”

Walmart Dodges African “Blood Minerals” Rule

blood diamonds

t must have seemed like a good idea at the time, when Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank drew up the landmark regulatory bill that bears their names. One of its lesser-known provisions required U.S. companies to list the inclusion of any “conflict minerals,” mined in or near the violence-plagued Democratic Republic of the Congo, [...]

California Gives Struggling Homeowners a “Fighting Shot”

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Steve Mikulan: The new law sounds like a textbook example of how government can and should help its citizens, especially during a time of economic upheaval.

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