Saturday, March 5, 2011

Round Up of News You Might Have Missed

Even if your attention wasn't diverted by Charlie Sheen this week, there were a number of items you might have missed in this week's news.

California budget driven by court orders.

A little known fact in the debate over California's $27 billion budget shortfall is the role the judiciary has played in adding to the problem. The U-T had a decent article on the issue. Some nuggets of judicially mandated spending:
  • Increase of $1.3 billion for prison health care.
  • The legislature cut wages of in-home care workers, and restricted eligibility, but a judge reversed this.
  • The state was enjoined from cutting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by the 9th circuit.
  • Some of the state workers have been exempted from furloughs.
  • Judges have ordered school funding levels increased under Proposition 98.

Unions picket Fresh & Easy Grocery Stores.

Grocery stores are one of the last bastions of private sector unions. With a deadline looming for Southern California's union shop grocers to negotiate a new contract, unions are protesting a non-union chain. Fresh & Easy, owned by British corporation Tesco has opened a chain of stores in California. I was pretty sure they were not union, because they use self scanning for all check out. Imagine my lack of surprise to see protesters at the store entrance on Friday. They were handing out UFCW literature accusing the store of illegally preventing union formation. The flyers had pictures of employees who had formed a union and a link to a website. On the website itself was the following complaint:
Unfortunately, the company wants us to prove our union support by going through a government-run election. . .
Those dastardly corporate types, demanding elections.

By the way, the protesters were polite and pleasant, handing out the literature and explicitly saying that they were not asking anyone to boycott Fresh & Easy, just asking shoppers to encourage Fresh & Easy to allow the union. I disagreed with their position, but was encouraged by the decent behavior. Since it opened I have made frequent stops at this store, and I have been impressed with their overall prices, selection of items that aren't found at my other stores. I hope this is a great success, because I really like these guys, even if they are owned by Brits.

While the Middle East Muslim lands erupt in protests, SDSU students protest . . . Israel.

Both of my sons are students at San Diego State. They reported that there were protests this week over the border fence between Israel and the West Bank. The protesters were concerned that Israel had built the fence slightly into Palestinian territory. No word on their reaction to the wave of demand for democratic reform across the Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Cross posted to

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about the court orders.

    And good luck to you, Mr. Jerry Brown!