February 2022: In-Depth Updates

You Are Invited

Vacunarse es Amarse (Spanish) – Wed, Feb 16, 2022 7 p.m.

In this season of love, what better way to show your care than getting vaccinated? Join Rev. Walter Contreras for a conversation about vaccination as an act of love. Tune in at www.univision.com/radio. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Architects of Justice – May 19, 2022 Time TBD

You are invited to a hybrid celebration of champions advancing the movement for economic justice in Orange County!

We’ll hear stories of hope, faith, persistence, and victory in the struggle to build a more just and sacred society.  For those who feel comfortable we’ll gather in person and exchange bows, fist bumps, and one-armed hugs. For those who want to forgo in-person contact (or traffic), we’ll celebrate online. 

Honorees will be announced shortly! 

Tickets go on sale March 15th, but you can help us determine what size venue we’ll need. 

RSVP and let us know whether you are comfortable attending in person (likely Central OC), or whether you prefer to attend online.

Giants of Justice – Thu, Oct 20, 2022

Save the Date for CLUE’s LA celebration of justice makers. More information to follow.

Los Angeles

Chateau Marmont workers enter 2022 stronger than ever!

Pedro Diaz, celebrating with the community before returning to work at Chateau Marmont on February 10, 2022.

Because of the powerful local and state recall and retention laws that the Chateau Marmont workers championed, the company has begun recalling workers from the restaurant and kitchen. On February 10th the first worker-leader, Pedro Diaz, returned to work! The company is offering significant raises, free family healthcare, and more. While workers are happy, the fight for full dignity and respect continues! 

Also this week, the U.S. House and Senate both passed a law exempting sexual harassment and assault claims from forced arbitration. Chateau Marmont asks its workers to sign binding arbitration agreements when hired, which tend to keep workers’ legal claims out of court and out of the public eye. This law (Ending Forced Arbitration for Sexual Assault and Harassment) is a great first step towards restoring worker protections to their full potential.

Chateau Marmont workers continue to share their stories with politicians, community, and religious leaders and invite them to join the fight. In December and January, Catholic Chateau workers shared their struggle and invited Catholic communities to put their faith in action. Friday’s LA Times sheds light on recent allegations of harassment by workers. 

CLUE LA Committee member Joan Harper and her son Matthew at the February Friday picket on February 4, 2022.

Stay tuned for more ways to support these workers, and know that you can join us for February Friday pickets on February 18 at 6 PM and at 5PM on February 25, all outside 8221 Sunset Boulevard!

For more information, please contact Matthew Hom, [email protected].

Black Jewish Justice Alliance (BJJA)- Check the Sheriff

CLUE’s Black Jewish Justice Alliance was among 70+ organizations signing on to a Feb. 7, 2022 letter asking the LA County Board of Supervisors to propose an impeachment process and strengthen oversight that will better hold the LA County Sheriff responsible for protecting and serving the communities of Los Angeles.

For more information about the Black Jewish Justice Alliance and the Check the Sheriff Coalition, please contact Pastor Cue, [email protected] 

Long Beach

CLUE continues to support South Bay port truck drivers as they organize to join Teamsters

CLUE has accompanied truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach since 2014 as they seek dignity and justice in the workplace. The latest front in the righteous battle includes misclassified workers asking for union representation. Clergy member Father Will Connor prayed a blessing over the courageous drivers on January 19th as they informed their bosses that they were asking for NLRB to conduct an election to allow them to join the Teamsters.

BACKGROUND: On the heels of their monumental win of $30 million in wage theft settlements last fall, local port truck drivers working for XPO Logistics have been energized and strengthened to organize for union representation at their yards. On January 12, drivers sent a delegation to their managers to ask XPO Logistics to recognize the union because the majority of drivers wanted the Teamsters to represent them. When XPO refused to recognize the union, the drivers filed for election on January 19th to ask the National Labor Relations Board to conduct one at their company. 

CLUE clergy in Long Beach, Fr. Will Connor, prayed a blessing over these courageous drivers and accompanied them to their manager’s office that day. The drivers shared the encouragement and support they felt having a faith leader walking with them on their sacred journey to justice for their co-workers and families. 

For more information, please contact Pastor Mary Duong, [email protected]

Orange County

NUHW Workers Win a New Contract Without Having to Go on Strike!

Stunning testimony from Angel (Cath Lab Tech), outside the West Anaheim Medical Center back in November 2021, about chronic understaffing and its effects on patient care.

Shortly after West Anaheim Medical Center workers declared a 5-day strike earlier this month, hospital management returned to the bargaining table ready to agree to a new contract that finally raises NUHW members’ pay to market rate!

But the workers insist that this win isn’t about getting a raise – it’s about getting their patients the care they deserve by hopefully ending years of avoidable understaffing.

The intense frustration of depressed wages combined with major understaffing (and then on top of that, the Covid crisis) had led to a vicious cycle of their coworkers leaving to work at other hospitals, and not being able to attract replacements. They described to us how the resulting overload of patients often translated into hours of delays in providing critical care during their rounds, and left them with a pits in their stomachs.

We’re so proud of our amazing health care workers who again and again have reminded us that working conditions and patient care go hand-in-hand!

Thank you as always to the brave faith community who stepped up to support yet another group of our essential OC workers!

Here are some of the details:

  • Effective immediately, 71% of the full time/part time staff will receive a 9% or greater increase based on their years of experience in their profession.
  • The average wage increase in Year 1 is 12%.  
  • Effective January 2022: 3% increase
  • Effective January 2023: 3% increase
  • Average wage increase during the term of the contract is 19%.

Workers managed to maintain 100% FREE healthcare options for all full-time employees and also maintained the same percent of Employer premium contributions at all levels of coverage for all plans.

Pastor Karen Graham Wade (Community of Christ, Orange), John Tice (Congregation B’nai Tzedek), and Pastor Jacquie Bethel (Community of Christ), hearing from Amma (Imaging Dept) about why workers believed they had to take their campaign out to the street.

From left: Pastor Karen Graham Wade (Community of Christ, Orange), Mike Haig (Respiratory Therapist), Pastor Jacquie and Paul Bethel (Community of Christ), John Tice (Congregation B’nai Tzedek), and Rev. Gregory Douglass (Native American United Methodist Church in Anaheim).

Workers at Kingspan continue to call on their employer to respect their right to healthy air, ask green building community to join the fight.

After months of organizing for clean air, clean water, and a fair process to decide whether to unionize, Kingspan Light and Air in Santa Ana remains unresponsive. CLUE clergy and community members have been joining workers for “Meet and Pray” gatherings, supporting community research into levels of pollution, rallying with workers to draw attention to safety and dignity concerns, and asking management to listen to workers.

Now we are asking you to  join environmentalists and labor partners in urging the green building community to reconsider their partnerships with Kingspan until changes are made to the Santa Ana factory. You can sign their petition here: https://cleanupkingspan.org/take-action/

Inaugural CLUE b’Shevat Seder draws faithful neighbors from across OC to celebrate the roots and fruits of economic justice advocacy.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott hotel worker, Sidney Shaw, sounding his shofar after management terminated workers’ health care in the midst of the pandemic. (Sept 2020)

The January 2021 CLUE b’Shevat Seder celebrated the roots and fruits of economic justice advocacy. You can watch a recording here

At the Seder we were reminded  Jewish teachings that call us to proclaim, “hineini” (“Here I am”) at important moments in life. We remembered our obligation to stand alongside those who risk their lives daily to serve our community and to productively rebuke those who mistreat others in pursuit of personal gain. We were exhorted to respectfully demand self-scrutiny and just practices from business owners who have harmed their employees. 

In the Jewish tradition, everyone has the opportunity to repent and improve themselves. Our interventions, coming from a place of selfless lovingkindness, are a testimony to the teachings of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We also learned from brave worker testimony that the inhumane working conditions happening out of our sight can directly harm our entire community’s economic and environmental ecosystem — the same way trees with roots mired in toxic soil will produce the “ripe fruit of poison and bitterness” (Deut. 29:17). 

Finally, we were reminded that we have the “people power” necessary to reverse the harmful byproducts of inequality if we make the commitment to engaging in nonviolent solidarity.

CLUE is privileged to motivate faith communities to bear witness to the plight of so many working class families. We emerge from this year’s Tu b’Shevat more determined than ever to encourage workers to speak their painful truths by illuminating harmful workplace practices. We humbly accept the shared responsibility for tikkun—repairing our businesses, our community, our nation, and the world—so that all people can live full, healthy lives “like trees planted by waters, sending forth their roots by a stream” (Jeremiah 17:8).

As Rabbi Tarfon taught us: It is not our duty to finish these daunting tasks, but neither are we at liberty to avoid doing the difficult work. (Pirkei Avot 2:21)

Dignity and Justice for Immigrants

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice mobilizes clergy and community to show up in the struggle for dignity and justice for immigrants. You are invited to join. Email [email protected] to receive action alerts.