by Ali Tabatabai
Oakland city officials found that Prudential Overall Supply, a contracted uniform and laundry company operating in Milpitas, violated local living wage ordinance by underpaying its workers.
According to UNITE HERE, a union representing industrial and service workers, Prudential owes nearly $40,000 in backwages to its current and former employees. The City of Oakland Finance Committee said they will also demand more backpay due to low health insurance contributions from the company.
The city launched its investigation after seven Prudential workers from Milpitas filed complaints against their employer.
Workers at the Milpitas plant, as well as locations in Los Angeles and San Diego had been forced into an unfair labor practice strike since September, according to UNITE HERE.
Wage increases go into effect for city contract workers
Recently passed amendments to the city’s living wage ordinance took effect on October 1st, raising compensation for non-profit workers, home health care aides and CalWORKs parents in the welfare-to-work transition. “Finally we can be proud that workers on city contracts will be able to depend on keeping up with the cost of surviving in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Tom Ammiano.
According to the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition, wages for non-profit workers and CalWORKS parents increased to $10.77 per hour; home health care aides received an increase to $11.50 per hour.
Additional wage increases for contract workers are expected to take place on January 1, 2008.
City re-ups grant to preschool mental health program
The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis (SFCP) will continue to receive $124,000 annually for the next three years, for a program that provides mental health services for children in four underserved preschools.
“I am impressed with the innovation and longevity of the Center’s work with our program,” said Rhea Durr, Early Childhood Mental Health Services Coordinator.
“Their consultants have introduced innovative activities to engage the preschoolers’ families in caring for their children.
According to the SFCP, the program aims to establish a secure emotional base for children who face problems such as violence, poverty, immigration, and long daily separations from their parents.
Richmond hosts event to help local businesses become more environmentally friendly
State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-East Bay) met with business groups from West Contra Costa County on October 10, for an informational seminar on becoming a Certified Green Business.
“My goal is not only to educate businesses about the nuts and bolts of the certification process, but more importantly, help businesses understand their role contributing to healthier communities and the preservation of our natural resources,” said Hancock.
According to the assemblywoman’s office, businesses must comply with all regulations and standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution, and minimizing waste in order to become certifi ed.
Mexican-arts center receives high-tech computer donations
In September, HewlettPackard (HP) donated new equipment to help update the computer network infrastructure at San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Plaza, the largest multi-diciplanary arts center in California.
According to Kathleen Haley, HP’s Hispanic Marketing Manager, the donation will help the center “affirm, celebrate, and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Mexican community.”
The plaza is a seven year-old $35 million visual and performing arts center that presents various artistic and cultural events including the San Jose International Mariachi Festival & Workshops.