labor

Government & Politics
11:00 am
Wed March 18, 2015

New Scrutiny For Brown's Retiree Health Care Proposal As Labor Talks Begin

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

A new report from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office criticizes California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed overhaul of state worker retiree health care benefits – just as labor negotiations are getting under way. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento. California faces more than $70 billion in unfunded retiree health care for state workers – and the governor says it’s time to act. Here’s Brown in January on NPR. 

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Agriculture
5:39 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Citrus Growers Say Port Dispute Could Be Worse Than Freeze

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The labor conflict that has clogged west coast ports in recent weeks has the Valley’s citrus industry on edge. FM 89’s Jason Scott reports.

Agricultural products from the Valley that should be making their way to countries like China, Japan, and Australia are sitting on the docks of west coast ports due to a labor dispute. While the ports reopened Tuesday, their shutdown over the weekend has caused a slowdown that has growers worried.

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Agriculture
4:36 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Robots Could Be Headed To Central Valley Farms

Research at UC Davis includes using fluorescent seedlings that will help a robotic cultivator target weeds.
Credit Steve Fennimore / UC Davis

Robots may soon be pulling weeds on Central Valley farms. At UC Davis researchers have received  $2.7 million dollars from the USDA to study how new technology could replace field labor. 

Automated devices pick cotton. Machines shake nut trees. But, there are a three tasks  for which farmers rely solely on humans. 

David Slaughter: "These include hand weeding, thinning and harvesting."

David Slaughter is the lead researcher working on robotic cultivators. 

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Government & Politics
6:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Central Valley Anti-Union Farm Workers Protest In Sacramento

A group of Central Valley anti-union farm workers visited the state capitol Thursday to protest against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers. The group says they're forcing them into a union contract.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley farm workers rallied today in Sacramento against what they say is a violation of their rights.

About 20 anti-union farm workers showed up at the state capitol protesting against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers. The group says the union and the ALRB are denying employees of Fresno-based Gerawan Farming their rights by forcing them into a union contract. 

In 2013, company employees held a union decertification election, but the votes have yet to be counted after allegations the company interfered with the process.

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Government & Politics
5:28 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Fresno, FPOA Reach Agreement On Early Contract Extension

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno has reached an early contract agreement with the union representing Fresno police officers. If ratified by the members of the Fresno Police Officers Association, the deal would extend the current contract to 2017.

It would also include a two percent salary increase in 2015 and another in 2016. The city would pay 75 percent of employee health care costs, with any future increases shared equally between the city and the union. It would also increase the amount current employees pay for retiree pensions by two percent. 

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Government & Politics
6:14 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

California Bill Would Tackle Laborers' Working Conditions

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Many California agricultural workers aren’t employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89’s Kerry Klein reports, it’s also the source of controversy.

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Government & Politics
5:14 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

California Assembly Committee Passes Farm Worker Sexual Harassment Bill

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

  A California Assembly committee passed a bill Wednesday that would give the state the power to revoke the licenses of farm labor contractor’s if they hire supervisors who have sexually harassed workers.

Michael Marsh is an attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance. He says his office deals with complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault on a regular basis.

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Labor
7:03 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Yosemite Workers Rally To Keep Jobs Amid Contract Uncertainty

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Concessions workers at Yosemite National Park held a rally today over concerns that a new contractor could leave some longtime employers out of work. 

The Delaware North Corporation has held the park's exclusive food service and lodging contract since the early 1990's. The National Park Service recently announced that it is soliciting new proposals for the deal. 

Sarah McDermott is with the Unite Here Local 19 union: 

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Agriculture
9:34 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Farmer Suicides Cast Shadow Over U.S. Agriculture

America’s farmers are dying. But it’s not just because they’re aging. In 1978 the average age of the American farmer was 50, today it’s around 58. But there’s another even more troubling issue facing those who grow our food -  farmers taking their own lives.

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Agriculture
10:14 am
Mon March 31, 2014

California Bill Would Mandate Paid Rest Breaks for Farm Workers

file photo
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Paid rest breaks would become mandatory for farm workers and other outdoor workers under a bill now in the California legislature. The measure is an attempt to prevent heat related illnesses. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

People who work outdoors are susceptible to dizziness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. Nicole Marquez with the advocacy group Worksafe says farm workers are commonly paid based on how much they pick.

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Books
7:13 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

New Biography Paints Complex Picture Of Cesar Chavez

Miriam Pawel's new book "The Crusades of Cesar Chavez"

Charismatic,  controversial, courageous and complicated. Those are just a few words that could sum up the life of the late civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. Now over 20 years after his death, a new biography seeks to provide fresh insight into a man who is an inspiration for millions. The book is called “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” by Miriam Pawel, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about Chavez the man and Chavez the myth. 

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Government & Politics
9:40 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Here And Gone: Fight Over Fresno's Cesar Chavez Boulevard Remains Fresh, 20 Years Later

Cesar Chavez
Credit Cesar Chavez Foundation

In October 1993, the Fresno City Council voted to rename three city streets - Kings Canyon, Ventura and California - in honor of the late farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. The move was part of a campaign by local Latino groups who sought to honor the UFW founder, who had died earlier that year. 

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Movies
9:53 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Director Diego Luna Brings The Story Of Cesar Chavez To The Silver Screen

Diego Luna's film "Cesar Chavez" opens in theatres nationwide on March 28
Lionsgate / Pantelion Films

Later this month, the story of the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez hits the silver screen with a biopic by acclaimed director Diego Luna. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been made about the life of the founder of the United Farm Workers Union. It features a cast of Hollywood stars including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, with Michael Pena cast as the late civil rights hero. Tomorrow night President Obama will host a screening of the movie at the White House.

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Community
1:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Road Trip To Collect Dust Bowl Stories on 75th Anniversary of 'Grapes of Wrath'

"Young migratory mother, originally from Texas. On the day before the photograph was made she and her husband traveled 35 miles each way to pick peas. They worked 5 hours each and together earned $2.25. They have two young children . . . Live in auto camp." - at Edison in Kern County California - April 11, 1940
Credit Dorothea Lange / National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics

A group of artists is gearing up for a cross-country road trip that will end in California. It's part of a project to mark the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." Steve Milne reports.

The trip starts Friday in Oklahoma, retracing the path the Joad family took along Route 66 in "The Grapes of Wrath" with stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

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Government & Politics
10:34 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Bill to Increase California's Minimum Wage Passes Legislature

Credit Valley Public Radio

  A bill that would gradually increase the California minimum wage to $10-an-hour has passed the State legislature and is on its way to the governor. It would be the first increase in the minimum wage in six years.

Democratic Senator Bill Monning says if you’re a Californian subsisting on the current state minimum wage, you’re living a second class existence.

"You are in a second hand economy, second harvest food bank, second-hand clothing, second-hand hand-me-down everything," says Monning.

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Government & Politics
6:24 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Minimum Wage Deal at California Capitol

Credit Valley Public Radio

It looks like California’s minimum wage will go up next year for the first time since 2008.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on the deal announced today by Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders.

Under the deal, California’s $8-an-hour minimum wage would rise to $9 in July of next year, and then to $10 in January of 2016.  That’s a faster pace than the original bill that’s been moving through the legislature this year.  But it does not include automatic adjustments for inflation, as was previously proposed.

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Valley Edition
3:05 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Author Interview: Seth Holmes Talks About Farmworkers' "Broken Bodies"

Seth Holmes book "Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United State" takes a look into the lives of migrant workers on the West Coast.
Credit http://sph-publications.berkeley.edu/

As the House and Senate continue to struggle to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform, one University of California, Berkeley professor is working to bring new insights into a significant group of undocumented immigrants here in California and throughout the west – those who pick the food we eat every day.

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Government & Politics
11:53 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Controversial Farmworker Bill Passes Assembly

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make it easier for farm workers to obtain union contracts with their employers.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure passed Monday with the bare minimum votes needed – despite strong opposition from growers.

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Immigration
12:48 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Congressional Reps. Urge Brown to Sign TRUST Act

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Nearly 30 California congressional representatives have written to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to sign legislation that would reduce deportations of undocumented immigrants. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act would limit when local law enforcement agencies could hold undocumented immigrants before turning them over to federal immigration officials for possible deportation. Members of California’s congressional delegation, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, are urging Brown to sign the measure if it gets to his desk.

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The Salt
8:31 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Why Picking Your Berries For $8,000 A Year Hurts A Lot

A Triqui Mexican picks strawberries at a farm in Washington state.
Courtesy of Seth Holmes

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:55 am

As the supply chain that delivers our food to us gets longer and more complicated, many consumers want to understand — and control — where their food comes from.

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