Tags >> unions
Jul 27
2010

Red Sonoma

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Sonoma County , research , politics , lifestyle , immigration , Ideas , history , farms , events , California

Bruce Robinson

Liberal Sonoma County was once a hotbed of anti-communist fervor, as well as home to a series of utopian communities, all of which is on display at the Sonoma County Museum.

When taking a longer historical view, Eric Stanley, exhibitions and collections curator for the Sonoma County Museum, says the term “communism” should be understood to be used much more generally than in contemporary political discourse.

The exhibit, Red Sonoma: Communism and Radical Politics in Sonoma County, is housed in a single small room at the side of the main exhibit area, and continues through September 26. 

It was developed as a companion show to the museums’ current main show of contemporary art from Cuba. Stanley says public reaction to it has been mostly, but not entirely, positive.

 

 

May 21
2010

High School Days Cut

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , West County , unions , teens , students , news , jobs , government , employment , education , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

A three year cost-cutting deal has closed three west Sonoma County high schools for the day today, and further cutbacks are planned for the next two years, even before the next round of budgetary bad news arrives from Sacramento.

Negotiations to set up the reduced school schedule for the next two years progressed quickly once the concept was on the table. Superintendent Keller McDonald says the talks between the West Sonoma County Union High School District and their employee unions were wrapped up in just two weeks.

Today’s short-notice free day was enjoyed by students, suspects teacher Ed Lynch, a teacher at Analy High (left), but the shorter school year schedule for the next two years will, in some significant ways make a difficult situation even worse.

 

 

Apr 21
2010

Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Rohnert Park , research , protest , policy , jobs , employment , California , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Critics of Wal-Mart who oppose the retail giant’s plans to expand in Rohnert Park are fighting an uphill battle, especially on labor issues, warns a University of California historian who has studied the company.

Knowing they will face local opposition in many communities, Nelson Lichtenstein (left)  observes that Wal-Mart has recently turned to a new tactic to minimize the regulatory review they must undergo—moving into existing but empty big box buildings.

That didn’t work so smoothly for the company in Santa Rosa, but the vacated space next to the already-established Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park apparently prompted their bid to expand into it.

In his recent book, The Retail Revolution, Lichtenstein  charts the history of Wal-Mart from its  origins in Arkansas and Alabama, detailing how the attitudes of founder Sam Walton became enmeshed into the core culture of the company. And, he says, they didn’t change as the retailer expanded and grew, and now lie at the heart of many of Wal-mart’s battles with local communities.

Opposition to the  proposed Wal-Mart Supcercenter in Rohnert Park (seen here in an artist's drawing of the project as it might look)  is being led by the Living Wage Coalition. The city's planning staff has recommended approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion.  Read the full staff report here. The city's original approval for the store in 1991 allowed the store to occupy up to 225,500 square feet; is it currently using just 131,500 square feet, and the proposed Supercenter would increase that to just under 178,000 square feet.

 

Mar 05
2010

Rally for Education

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , unions , students , speaker , Sonoma County , protest , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , government , finances , events , education , California , budget , activism

Bruce Robinson

March Fourth was billed in advance as “A Day for Action” in support of education funding in California, and Sonoma County rose to the occasion, especially on the campus of Sonoma State University.

SSU Academic Senate chair Susan Moulton (speaking at the rally at left)  noted that many factions of the campus community, who often are at odds with each other on numerous issues, find common cause in the need for support for education.

Not everyone at the rally was a teacher, student or university worker. Wilma Rawls, a nearby Rohnert Park resident, came to collect signatures for a state ballot measure intended to ease California’s budget process.

 

Students for Quality Education, the recently formed activitst group that led the protest demonstration in Salazar Hall, has drawn up a list of ten demands for change, including the renaming of the office of Customer Services.

You can read the full list here.

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