on this day … in history

1519 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan left Spain to find a route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Magellan was killed during the trip, but one of his ships eventually made the journey.

1870 – The Papal States came under the control of Italian troops, leading to the unification of Italy.

1881 – Chester A. Arthur became the 21st president of the U.S. President James A. Garfield had died the day before.

1884 – The Equal Rights Party was formed in San Francisco, CA.

1921 – KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA, started a daily radio newscast. It was one of the first in the U.S.

1946 – The first Cannes Film Festival premiered. The original premier was delayed in 1939 due to World War II.

1946 – WNBT-TV in New York became the first station to promote a motion picture. Scenes from “The Jolson Story” were shown.

1953 – The TV show “Letter to Loretta” premiered. The name was changed to “The Loretta Young Show” on February 14, 1954.

1953 – Jimmy Stewart debuted on the radio western “The Six Shooter” on NBC.

1955 – “You’ll Never Be Rich” premiered on CBS-TV. The name was changed less than two months later to “The Phil Silvers Show.”

1962 – James Meredith, a black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Governor Ross R. Barnett. Meredith was later admitted.

1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposed a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition to the moon in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

1967 – The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) was launched. It went out of service on November 27, 2008.

1977 – The first of the “boat people” arrived in San Francisco from Southeast Asia under a new U.S. resettlement program.

1982 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced that the U.S., France, and Italy were going to send peacekeeping troops back to Beirut.

1984 – “The Cosby Show” premiered on NBC-TV.

1988 – The United Nations opened it 43rd General Assembly.

1989 – F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as president of South Africa.

1991 – U.N. weapons inspectors left for Iraq in a renewed search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

1992 – French voters approved the Maastricht Treaty.

1995 – AT&T announced that it would be splitting into three companies. The three companies were AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and NCR Corp.

1995 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to drop the national speed limit. This allowed the states to decide their own speed limits.

New Legislation Proposed to Combat Abusive Scheduling and Other September News

Mayor de Blasio Proposes Legislation to End Abusive Scheduling for Fast Food Workers
Fast food workers – and many other hourly workers in America – often have no idea what their work schedules will be from one day to the next.  Without certainty about one’s work schedule, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to arrange child care, pursue education or generally manage one’s life.  ABB has been working to develop policy solutions to problems of abusive scheduling, which also include “clopening” – requirements to work late into the night and show up early the next morning with barely a break for sleep.
Today Mayor de Blasio announced he will work with the City Council to propose legislation that will require that all fast food workers receive their schedules two weeks in advance and that there be at least a ten hour break between the end of a work day and the beginning of the next.  ABB has been working with the Mayor’s office over the last few months on this issue.  At his press conference today, the Mayor thanked A Better Balance for our advocacy (along with our partners Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York and SEIU 32BJ).  He – as well as Council members Brad Lander and Corey Johnson who were there to support the proposal — also said that this is the next step in enacting policies to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, citing paid sick days,paid family leave and pregnancy accommodation as key accomplishments – all policies ABB has fought for and won.  We now look forward to working with the Mayor and City Council to craft strong and effective legislation so that workers will have some control over their work hours –an essential element in ensuring that workers can both care for and support their families.

Senior Staff Attorney Jared Make speaking about Paid Leave in Seattle.

Senior Staff Attorney Jared Make speaking about Paid Family Leave in Seattle.
Paid Family Leave in Washington State
A Better Balance has been working closely with advocates and policymakers in Washington State on the issue of paid family leave. In May, we testified (via Skype!) before the Seattle City Council on the importance of paid family leave and urged the Council to expand paid family leave benefits for the city’s public workforce. Two months later, the Seattle City Council and Mayor announced that they would double paid parental leave for city employees from 4 to 8 weeks (with most city employees able to add on existing paid leave to receive at least 12 weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new child). We were also thrilled that Seattle created a new policy that entitles city employees to 4 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. To build on this victory, the University of Washington and Seattle City Council hosted a symposium in August—bringing together advocates, city and state elected officials, and researchers—on the need for paid family leave among private sector workers in both Seattle and Washington State. Jared Make, A Better Balance’s Senior Staff Attorney, spoke on two panels regarding the various models for paid family leave, the successful passage of New York’s paid family leave law, and the momentum for this issue around the country.

Staff Attorney Molly Weston Williamson speaking in support of the new Division of Paid Care.
Caregivers in New York City
On August 31, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a package of legislation targeting both paid and unpaid caregivers. At the signing at City Hall, we spoke in favor of the Division of Paid Care, a new office within the Department of Consumer Affairs that will support and advocate for home care and childcare workers. Another bill signed the same day will survey New York City’s unpaid and family caregivers to determine their most pressing needs.

New Shop Steward’s Guide Will Help Unions Support Pregnant Workers

A new guide, “The Shop Steward’s Guide to Counseling and Representing Pregnant Workers,” supports union representatives in advocating for the rights of pregnant workers to be free from discrimination and receive accommodations when necessary. The guide is a product of the Pregnancy Accommodation Working Group, an initiative of the Center for Work Life Law. The guide was jointly created by A Better Balance, in partnership with the Center for Work Life Law, SEIU, AFL-CIO, and Labor Project for Working Families. We value our growing partnerships with labor movements across the country and look forward to ensuring this vital tool is disseminated nationwide.
Voices from the Clinic
“You (ABB) helped me out to overcome a very tough situation. By informing me of my rights and with your constant counseling, you gave me the strength and the emotional support to be able to resolve it. I was able to keep working till the end of my pregnancy and I got my hours back. Thanks so much.”
Joselyn in New York City

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls – Synthetic Food Dyes

Petitioning Mike Gloekler

Get Synthetic Food Dyes Out of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls!

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls have a combined 32 milligrams of Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1 per serving, according to FDA data the Center for Science in the Public Interest obtained and analyzed. That level of artificial food dye is troubling, since clinical trials show that some children experience adverse behavioral reactions after consuming that much (or less).
Petition by Center for Science in the Public Interest