People with disabilities
When: Thursday, May 20.
Where: Downtown San Diego and Sacramento.
Who: A no longer "invisible population" of San Diegans with disabilities, their supporters and various community groups.
What: More than 200 protestors marched, rolled and crutched their way from the State building on Front Street to a rally at the Civic Center. In Sacramento a crowd of 3,000 attended what one organizer called "one of the largest rally of people with disabilities ever" (travel, like a lot of things in life, is harder for these folks) to make their voices heard.
The Beef: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget would cut services essential to people with disabilities. The cuts would emasculate a program that provides financial aid to people in need of physical assistance who choose to live at home; freeze the financial aid people with disabilities receive at $771 a month; force poor families with children with developmental disabilities to kick in for previously funded services; and shift $7.3 million out of the School Facilities Fee Assistance Fund, some of which benefits homeless shelters around California that serve many people with disabilities.
When: Thursday, May 20.
Where: Hillcrest and UCSD.
Who: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, which represents approximately 2,771 local vocational nurses, medical technicians, grounds keepers, custodians, parking enforcement officers and food-service employees who provide services at University of California-run medical facilities-including Hillcrest and Thornton hospitals-and UC campuses.
What: Dozens of workers marched on UC campuses and healthcare facilities around California delivering signed petitions to UC officials and hospital administrator-types.
The Beef: Facing budget cutbacks and citing declining standards of patient care, the union wants an improved contract including promotion opportunities, better training, pay increases and a larger work force.
When: Friday, May 21, to Monday, May 24.
Where: San Diego and cities in 12 other states.
Who: More than 100,000 employees of SBC Communications, the nation's second largest phone company, and members of the Communications Workers of America, who provide customer assistance, maintain service and repair phone lines.
What: Employees walked out of work and picketed SBC facilities for four days, staging rallies and making headlines across the country.
The Beef: The union staged the protest after its ongoing contract negotiation with SBC stalled. Benefits, salary and future overseas outsourcing were all named as strike factors, which forced management personnel, retirees and contract workers to man the deserted posts. Despite protestors' threats to keep picketing, the strike ended as planned on Monday at midnight. The tactic proved effective as the CWA and SBC announced Tuesday that they had reached a tentative five-year settlement.
When: Tuesday, May 25
Where: San Diego International Airport
Who: The airport's 126 janitors, members of Service Employees International Union Local 1877, who make America's finest airport sparkle
What: Despite a last-minute intervention by a federal mediator, more than 100 supporters gathered outside of the airport's Terminal 2 to show that they mean business.
The Beef: Facing soured contract negotiations with employer Service Performance Corp., which represents the airlines that operate from Lindbergh Field, the janitors were already set to go on strike when the mediator imposed a three-week cooling-off period, giving both sides an opportunity to rethink their respective stance. During previous negotiations, SEIU withdrew its health insurance proposal in exchange for a 15-month contract offer that would provide raises for all employees and the opportunity to revisit the health insurance issue next year. But the SPC's counterproposal scuttled any chance of the janitors receiving health insurance in the next five years and established a three-tier pay scale that would have new employees making less than $8.80 in 2008. The parties are scheduled to return to the negotiating table on June 11.