Marc Norton Online


The UNITE HERE International Union Should
Keep Their Hands Off Local 2’s Pension Fund

Labor Notes – September 21, 2022
Copyright © 2022 by Marc Norton

I have posted an expanded version of the article first published by Labor Notes.
The expanded version includes some history of the International Union.
Read the full article here.

Local 2 members have fought and sacrificed to secure a good pension, and have been assured the fund is in good shape. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Why merge into a fund with lower pensions? Why lose local control?

September 28, 2022


January 20, 2021

September 28, 2022


Civil War

World War II

World War I

Vietnam War

Korean War

Revolutionary War

War of 1812

Mexican War

Iraq since 2003

Philippine War


Spanish-American War


Iraq 1990-91

Class Struggle Unionism
Joe Burns’ new book says only workers
can save the labor movement (Part One)

48 Hills – March 27, 2022

I have only started reading Joe Burns’ new book, Class Struggle Unionism, but I feel a need to report on some important ideas that he introduces in Chapter Three, titled “Beyond Labor Liberalism.”

There is a trend in the labor movement that is often called, somewhat pejoratively, “Business Unionism.” These are unions led by officials and bureaucrats who focus almost exclusively on winning better wages and working conditions for their particular sector of workers, and who show little real solidarity with other workers.

Of course, few unions proclaim themselves to be “business unions.” There is a whole range of unions that style themselves as progressive in one way or the other. But, Burns says, many of these unions look more different from business unions than they really are.  He calls this trend “Labor Liberalism.”

Burns calls for a decisive break with both business unionism and labor liberalism, in favor of what he calls “Class Struggle Unionism.” Burns outlines a continuum of outlooks, policies and structures that define these three different kinds of unions… [More]

Eulogy to the COVID-19 Holocaust
Indybay – March 20, 2022

“We have to live with COVID-19.” That is the new mantra from the corporate politicians and their mass media flunkies regarding the ongoing pandemic.

What they are really saying is that they are willing to sacrifice frontline and essential workers, the poor, the Black, the Brown, the Yellow and the Red – as well as the old, the disabled, the ill and those with weakened immune systems – all on the altar of capitalist greed… [More]

San Francisco Police Officer Acquitted: Parallels between
the 1968 Michael O’Brien trial and the Terrance Stangel case

48 Hills – March 15, 2022

A San Francisco jury acquitted police officer Terrance Stangel on March 7 of assault and battery charges against Decari Spiers. This was only the second time in recorded history that a San Francisco police officer was charged with using excessive force. Both times it was a white officer brutalizing a Black man. Both times the officer was found not guilty, despite abundant evidence to the contrary… [More]

Dacari Spieres

End of Mask Mandate at Warriors’ Chase Center Threatens Workers (and Fans)
48 Hills – February 14, 2022

As of Wednesday, February 16, the Warriors will no longer be requiring fans or concert goers at Chase Center to wear masks. That means that as many as 18,000 unmasked screaming fans and hundreds of Chase Center workers will be spending many hours together at this totally indoor venue.

This used to be called a “super-spreader” event. These days it is called business-as-usual, as in anything for a buck… [More]

Eating Our Own: Trump, Biden and Charlton Heston
48 Hills – January 16, 2022

The year is 2022. The world’s climate is heating up. The planet is massively polluted and the oceans are dying. Millions of people in the US are desperately poor. Hundreds of thousands are living on the streets and in their cars. The government is thoroughly corrupt and has constructed an increasingly repressive police state to maintain order.

That is the 2022 world that was predicted, in 1973, in the classic dystopian film Soylent Green. The reader can be forgiven for thinking I was describing reality as we experience it today.

I am not the first to point out that Soylent Green made a lot of predictions that have come to pass. Nor would I be the first to note that a number of other movies have predicted virulent pandemics like the COVID-19/Delta/Omicron/who-knows-what’s-next contagion.

Nor am I the first to point out that well more than half of the COVID deaths in the USA have been recorded since the “adult in the room” Joe Biden took over as president from the man-child Donald Trump[More]

The Giants are having a record year. Ballpark workers won a record contract. But COVID-19 fears persist.
48 Hills – October 5, 2021

The San Francisco Giants are having a record year, taking the National League West title with the most wins of any team in baseball.

During the final week of the title run, ballpark food service workers overwhelmingly ratified a record contract providing huge economic gains. This new contract was negotiated by our union, UNITE HERE Local 2, after we threatened to go on strike during the playoffs.

But fears that the playoff games at the Giants Oracle Park stadium could fan the flames of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remain high… [More]

Giants Food Service Workers Take Job Action Demanding COVID Safety, as Strike Looms
48 Hills – September 16, 2021

More than 200 food service workers at the Giants’ Oracle Park walked off the job briefly this morning, demanding to meet with the Giants about deteriorating safety conditions at the ballpark. There was yet another report on Wednesday about a new COVID infection… [More]

Why No COVID Vaccine Requirements for Giants Fans?
48 Hills – September 15, 2021

Food service workers have to get the shot or have a negative test — but fans cheering and shouting in a packed stadium threaten workers and themselves.

The number of reported COVID deaths in the USA has now surpassed the 655,000 military and civilian deaths we suffered in the Civil War – the deadliest war in our history. In fact, we are several thousand deaths beyond that grim marker, and rising fast. The end is nowhere in sight.

The fight against the pandemic in the USA has been one part science, one part political insanity, and one part corporate greed, fought on the battleground of a failing medical system and a defunded public health system. In short, chaos.

Into that mix, the Giants are headed to the playoffs… [More]

“Don’t Be a Giant Idiot”
Workers Demand Better COVID Safety at Ballpark

48 Hills – August 30, 2021

Local 2 has scheduled a vote on Saturday, Sept. 4,
to authorize a STRIKE at the ballpark
if our demands are not met.

While the rock band Green Day was blasting out their hit number “American Idiot” at the San Francisco Giants ballpark on Friday, August 27 to a huge crowd, UNITE HERE Local 2 workers and staff inside and outside the park were handing out “Don’t be a Giant Idiot!” flyers. Local 2 represents hundreds of food service workers at the ballpark.

Thousands of Green Day fans — some masked, many not — were gathered for the concert, in the midst of the surging COVID-19 pandemic propelled by the Delta mutation. The Giants were doing little, if anything, to protect workers in the park from the ravages of the coronavirus. That is the way it is at the ballpark these days.

The Giants website boasts that there are “NO COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS,” but warning fans that they can’t bring backpacks or alcohol into the park. A little COVID, however, well, apparently that is okay… [More]

Biden and Trump: No COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Workers
48 Hills – June 21, 2021

During his campaign for the Presidency, Joe Biden called on President Donald Trump to:

“Establish and enforce health and safety standards for workplaces… The Trump Administration should immediately release and enforce an Emergency Temporary Standard… to give employers and frontline employees specific, enforceable guidance on what to do to reduce the spread of COVID.”

Biden became the President on January 20, 2021. On January 21, Biden ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create emergency COVID-19 safety standards for workplaces by mid-March.

And then… nothing, for months.

Finally, in June, Biden’s OSHA announced that they would issue an emergency COVID-19 workplace safety standard, but only for healthcare workers.

Other workers? Nada.

This is “a betrayal of workers and worker safety,” said Jordan Barab, the Deputy Assistant of OSHA under President Barack Obama, as reported by Payday Report[More]

The Killing Floor
48 Hills – May 31, 2021

Foster Farms was fined $181,500 on May 24, 2021 by the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) for failing to protect workers from COVID-19 at its Livingston poultry plant and distribution center near Fresno, and for failing to report

The Los Angeles Times called these fines “massive.” The Fresno Bee called it “one of the steepest citations” Cal/OSHA has issued during the pandemic.

But a little math tells you that if eight workers died, Foster Farms is paying a fine of about $22,700 per body. If more than eight workers died, those lives are costing Foster Farms even less per body. Is that all a worker’s life is worth in California? [More]

Bosses Lie. Workers Suffer and Die.
48 Hills – May 5, 2021

In Yakima County in Washington state, where a mutant coronavirus is fueling a deadly fourth wave, Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson has just relaxed COVID-19 protections for farmworkers.

Key to Judge Gibson’s April 21 decision is disallowing access to farms by community workers. This decision was hailed by Vegetable Growers News, which claimed that “elected officials” and “labor organizers” were “risking farm worker safety…” [More]

COVID-19 Outbreaks Continue
to Spread in California Workplaces
48 Hills – April 18, 2021

New data posted on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website documents an additional 1,292 workplace COVID-19 outbreaks and 17,638 workplace infections since CDPH first began posting workplace data online in March 2021…

This is an average of over 35 new workplace outbreaks and almost 490 new workplace infections per day[More]

Safe Ballpark?
SF Giants Demanded “Release of Liability”
for COVID Infection from Food Service Workers

48 Hills – April 11, 2021

The San Francisco Giants Opening Day was Friday, April 9.  The Giants had been doing a full court press (sorry to mix in basketball metaphors) for days on end about how safe the stadium would be for the fans’ first game back to the stadium since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But, on Wednesday evening, the Giants’ food service subcontractor Bon Appetit emailed food service concession workers a directive to “Please be sure that you complete this 2021 Release of Liability before arriving at Oracle Park…” [More]

New California Data Shows
COVID Spreading in the Workplace

48 Hills – March 23, 2021

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), at long last, has posted data on its website showing COVID outbreaks in California by “industry” that is, in the workplace.

This data provides substantial evidence that a significant amount of the spread of the coronavirus has been and is taking place where people work – among workers, customers, and clients alike. Public discourse has focused on family and social gatherings as the chief cause of the “community” spread of the virus. This new data should serve as an important adjustment to that narrative.

This new data is all the more significant for Californians, now that Governor Gavin Newsom, fighting for his political life in the face of a Big Business recall, is rapidly reopening up many workplaces including, somewhat incredibly, outdoor and even indoor sports stadiums that will shortly be full of screaming fans… [More]

Save the Bay View Newspaper!

Broke-Ass Stuart – March 5, 2021

Sometimes a particular fight weaves together so many strands of the oppressive fabric of the USA that it is difficult to figure out what is key and where to begin. Such is the case with the fight to free Bay View Newspaper editor Malik Washington from the clutches of a private, COVID-wracked “halfway-house” prison in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

Systemic racism, the scourge of mass incarceration, private prisons, failure on the part of private companies and public officials to deal effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic, and an assault on the people’s media all play a role in this fight.

These issues, and more, will be addressed at the rally to FREE MALIK! on Sunday, March 7, in San Francisco… [More]

48 Hills – February 14, 2021

I got a telephone call from a friend on Thursday who told me that the Moscone Center vaccination site had appointments available, and that I should go online right away and book an appointment…

There were appointments available, but not for me – for the sole reason that I do not have a cell phone… [More]

SF Giants Owner Rakes in $815 Million During Pandemic
48 Hills – February 7, 2021

The assets of Charles Johnson, the controversial chief owner of the San Francisco Giants, increased by $815 million during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, his net worth was a mere $4.2 billion dollars. By January 2021 he commanded a fortune of $5.015 billion, an increase just short of 20%.

Workers at Oracle Park, where the Giants play, have been taking it on the chin during the pandemic, but the pandemic apparently hasn’t taken any skin off Johnson’s nose… [More]

48 Hills – February 1, 2021

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an excellent article on Sunday, January 31 about the failure of the California Public Health Department (CDPH) to abide by state law requiring the agency to disclose information about COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, and about the failure of county public health departments, including San Francisco, to disclose information about workplace outbreaks.

Of course the Chronicle consigned this article to the business section, when it really belonged on the front page above the fold. And the reporters, Chase DiFeliciantonio and Shwanika Narayan, were a bit hobbled by the need to be “objective” and allow both sides to get their say, as if there is a side that has some reasonable excuse for hiding COVID-19 outbreaks from you and me.

So, let me up the game a bit. What these public health departments are doing is a simple cover-up, designed to protect the corporate elite at the expense of the health and safety of us workers and our families and friends. You know, like former President Richard Nixon pretending to know nothing about the Watergate break-in… [More]

Prisons and Jails are COVID-19 Super-Spreaders

SF Bay View – January 1, 2021

Inmates in federal prisons, state prisons and local jails should be in the first cohort of people to be offered COVID-19 vaccinations.

One in five prisoners in the U.S. has been reported to have had COVID-19. That’s 20% of people behind bars. And that is likely a “vast undercount,” according to Homer Venters, the former chief medical officer at New York’s Rikers Island jail complex.

If compassion for prisoners does not move policy makers or the general public, then eyes should turn to a pair of recent studies, one by the Prison Policy Initiative and the other by the Marshall Project, focused on prisons and jails in the U.S. According to data in these two reports:

  • Prisons and jails are “super-spreaders” of the virus, not only among prisoners, but also among people in the communities where prisons and jails are located. It may be hard for a prisoner to break out of jail, but the virus gets out easily, hosted by guards, medical staff, maintenance staff, transportation workers, administrators and visitors.
  • Prisons and jails were responsible for over HALF A MILLION reported COVID-19 infections, 566,804 to be exact – in May, June and July alone. That was 13% of all new cases in the country during those months.
  • A big majority of those half-a-million-plus infections were among people who are NOT incarcerated, rather in the communities in which our prisons and jails are located[More]

Chesa Boudin is Not the First San Francisco District Attorney to Charge a Police Officer with Homicide
48 Hills – December 1, 2020

Both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner have reported that the charging of former police officer Christopher Samayoa with manslaughter is the first time in San Francisco history that a district attorney has charged a police officer with homicide.

Those reports are wrong. I know this because my late aunt served on the jury in the manslaughter trial of police officer Michael R. O’Brien, charged with shooting dead a Black truck driver named George Baskett in 1968. I don’t want to take anything away from District Attorney Chesa Boudin for his bold action, but this story needs to be told.

Let’s hope that the Samayoa trial doesn’t end in the same kerfuffle that the O’Brien trial did… [More]

Giants and Warriors Workers Fight Back
48 Hills – August 16, 2020

UPDATE: Click here.

The San Francisco Giants returned home on Friday, August 14 and found themselves being picketed by the workers who normally sell garlic fries and beer to the fans. This must have been bad karma, as both Friday and Saturday the Giants blew a big lead over the Oakland A’s in the ninth inning, then got blown away by the A’s on Sunday 15-3. In fact, ever since the Giants fired their concession workers on July 27, the team has lost 13 out of 19 games…

There are stories circulating that the Giants are considering rescinding these boneheaded terminations, but none of us have seen anything official yet. There are also rumors that the Giants might start winning games… [More]

Giants and Warriors Give their Workers the Boot
48 Hills – August 4, 2020

I got the email firing me from my job at the Giants ballpark on Monday evening, July 27. On Tuesday evening I learned from the San Francisco Examiner website that I was also being fired from my job at the Warriors new stadium, and that there were 2,154 other food service workers being shown the door at these two sports venues. That was a pretty cold way to get the news.

Stadium workers are overwhelmingly people of color. San Francisco stadium workers in particular have a large contingent of Black workers, in part because the Giants and 49ers old Candlestick Park stadium was located in Bayview-Hunters Point. Both the Giants and the Warriors have been bragging about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, but are now kicking their Black, Latino, and Asian workers to the curb… [More]

Reopening vs. Lockdown
is a False Dichotomy

Broke-Ass Stuart – July 3, 2020

California is seeing a surge in coronavirus infections, and most of our government misleaders, from Governor Gavin Newsom on down, are trying to sweep the true story under the rug with the same kind of blowhard fake news that we hear from the Trump administration.

The politicians don’t want to admit that the real problem is a serious lack of testing, contact tracing, and quarantining of infected people.

Instead, they present us with a false dichotomy: “reopening” vs. lockdown. But without adequate testing, contact tracing and quarantining, both of those options are deadly. Lockdown is slow death and economic strangulation. “Reopening” means a surge of death, but maximization of profit for the corporate elite… [More]

More U.S. Deaths in COVID-19
Pandemic Than in World War I

Countercurrents – June 20, 2020

World War I is over.
The COVID-19 pandemic marches on… [More]

The Tenderloin Containment Zone: A Photo Essay
Beyond Chron – April 28, 2020

San Francisco is openly violating its own Department of Public Health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, turning the sidewalks of the Tenderloin into a containment zone for the homeless – in a 20,000 person neighborhood right next to City Hall, while keeping large public spaces like Civic Center and Union Square empty, and leaving thousands of hotel rooms unoccupied… [More]

48 Hills – April 9, 2020

Social Distance

I am very tired of hearing about “social distancing.” We do not need SOCIAL distancing. We need PHYSICAL distancing. What we need is SOCIAL SOLIDARITY[More]

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