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We are one of nearly 500 local labor councils across the United States. We are democratically elected bodies dedicated to represent the interests of working people in our local, state and national level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice and we strive daily to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin.
The Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC) is the local body of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). We are a membership organization serving as a coalition of the Labor Community in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Over 80 unions are affiliated with the MBCLC, representing more than 37,000 union members and their families. The MBCLC believes there is strength in unity.
The mission of the MBCLC is to improve the lives of workers, their families, and our community – to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to the nation. We accomplish this mission by working to build worker power through work on political education and action, economic development in our area, union organizing, a community service and training program, and educational programs for the community.
What We Do
Legislative Action: The Labor Council involves members in legislative action to win pro-worker gains and fight anti-labor legislation. Strong political and legislative programs make politicians responsive to our needs. In addition to local issues, the Council works closely with the national AFL-CIO on federal issues and the California Labor Federation on state issues. Activities range from meeting with lawmakers on important issues to extensive grassroots pressure campaigns.
Political Action/Commitee on Political Education (COPE): One way the Labor Council advocates Labor's interests is through political action. Union members and their families mobilize to elect public officials who support our issues. Through political organizing and the ability to "get out the vote," the Council is able to hold elected officials accountable to workers. Labor Council delegates vote on all endorsements of candidates and ballot measures. Once a candidate is COPE-endorsed, Labor Neighbor organizes political activities such as voter registration, "meet-the-candidates" events, phone banks, mailings, and precinct walks to inform fellow union members on the election. On Election Day, Labor Neighbor coordinates get-out-the-vote drives to be sure workers get to the polls.
Communications: The Labor Council is the communications hub for all things Labor. The Council maintains an extensive database of labor and community activists. We communicate and mobilize our members and the community through E-Activist updates, blast faxes, media, and our website.
Strike Sanction and Bargaining Support: Local unions affiliated with MBCLC request strike sanction from the Labor Council. Sanction establishes formal support by the Council for a strike or other economic actions against an employer. Before granting sanction, the Council checks with other unions that may be affected to satisfy any objections and to coordinate support. The Executive Board reviews requests for sanction and votes on them at their monthly meetings, although emergency sanction may be granted in between meetings by the Executive Board.
Strategies include picketline support, rallies, demonstrations, boycotts, food drives for strikers, and coordinating public officials and community support. Delegates play an important role by recruiting fellow union members to join in solidarity actions.
Helping affiliates prior to or during difficult contract negotiations is another activity the Labor Council participates in. Occasionally the Council will be asked to participate in bargaining to show broad labor support for a fair contract.
Local Council History:
For many years, the Santa Cruz County and Monterey County councils each had a long and proud history reflecting the important role of labor in the history in this region. In 2001, members of both councils recognized that labor's new challenges require a larger and stronger organization. So the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council was born, representing working people from the fields of the Salinas Valley to the multi-faceted community of Watsonville to the hotels of the Monterey Peninsula to the halls of the University of California in Santa Cruz.
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