Staff reductions, failed computer systems, funding cuts and unpopular spending priorities have all contributed to some serious morale problems for the workers in Sonoma County’s Superior court system. They are also impeding negotiations for a new contract.

Court reporter Carlos Martinez, speaking on behalf of his co-workers, says they question the budgetary priorities of the court’s administration.

He points to a failed, costly computer service program as another misplaced priority.

Blue-Green Alliance Finds Strength in Numbers

Dec 8, 2016

There are plenty of Democrats, union members, and environmentalists in Sonoma County, who often find common cause on local issues and candidates. Collectively, in those cases, they are the Blue-Green Alliance.

CSU Faculty Set April Strike Dates

Feb 8, 2016

  With prolonged contract talks apparently headed for impasse, The California Faculty Association is making plans for a state-wide strike in Mid-April.

  Better pay for in home health workers is necessary to uphold the rights of their infirm and disabled clients. That’s one of several supportive findings in a new pro-labor report.

Click here to read the full North Bay Worker's Rights Board "Report on Wages, Benefits and Working Conditions of Home Care Providers for the County of Sonoma."

Bruce Robinson, KRCB


   County supervisors endorsed a $15 per hour living wage for some county employees in June, but are facing continuing pressure to extend that benefit to include home health care workers.

Musical Play Memorializes Labor Icon

Jun 10, 2015

  Long-ago labor organizer Joe Hill used music to make his point. Now his music is central to a biographical play about Hill's life, which returns to Sonoma County this weekend, with singer-songwriter John McCutcheon in the title role.

  In his biography of Joe Hill, The Man Who Never Died, author William Adler theorizes that Hill foresaw that his death might help to spread his pro-labor message, and ensure his legacy. It's an interesting speculation, says McCutcheon.

Mental Health Staff Strikes Kaiser

Jan 12, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Kaiser Permanente was fined $4 million last year for providing inadequate mental health services; now the people who deliver those services are striking to get them upgraded.

The official Kaiser response to the strike can be read here.

Living with Migrant Farmworkers

Dec 2, 2014

  To learn about the harsh realities of a migrant farm worker’s life, researcher Seth Holmes took a first-person approach, living and working alongside them for a season.

The group of farmworkers he joined were willing enough to allow him to work and travel with them, Holmes recounts, but gaining their trust took more than five months.

CSU Faculty Ratify New 3-Year Contract

Nov 12, 2014

  The California Faculty Association, the union that represents professors and instructors for all the California State University campuses, has approved a new contract, following ratification vote by their members last week. That capped a bargaining process that was far less contentious than others over the past decade. Today we take a closer look at the process, and what resulted from it.

The CSU Board of Trustees is expected to also ratify the agreement at their meeting in Long Beach.

Documenting the Grape Harvest

Oct 12, 2014


  Growing grapes is a form of farming. Making wine is a quite different process. The bridge between the two is the harvest, which has a drama all its own.


John Beck's previous short documentary was Worst in Show, about the Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma.  Harvest will be shown on KRCB television twice in October: at 9 pm on Monday the 13th, repeating at 11 pm on Sunday the 19th. You can view a trailer for the film below.

Sonoma County Living Wage Ordinance Proposed

Sep 8, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

 A new ordinance that would set a $15 per hour minimum wage for all county workers and employees of county contractors is heading for the board of Supervisors. But even that, backers admit, won’t fully cover the cost of living here.

Union Vote at Graton Casino

Jun 17, 2014
Sarah Norr, Unite Here 2850

The first large union representation vote at the new Graton Casino in Rohnert Park is underway, and local labor leaders are optimistic it will set a significant precedent for the region.

The Effects of Labor-Friendly Laws

Jun 11, 2014

  If Congress won’t act to increase the minimum wage, should cities take action instead? A new book analyzing the consequences of doing that in San Francisco sees mostly positive outcomes.

Ken Jacobs will talk about his book, and what San Francisco’s experience might mean for Sonoma County, Thursday night in Rohnert Park. You can find event details here.

Union Organizing Graton Casino Workers

Feb 7, 2014

The Graton Casino in Rohnert Park has hired more than a thousand workers, creating many positions that may soon become union jobs. Which is exactly what the tribe expected to happen.

Wei-Ling Huber, President of Unite/Here Local 2850, says the friendly relationship between her union and the Graton Rancheria is not a new development, but grew out of the early stages of the tribe’s efforts to create their new casino.

Full-time Work and the Affordable Care Act

Jan 20, 2014

  The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health care for employees working 30 hours per week or more. But some members of Congress want to raise that threshold to 40 hours per week, a change that could have profound consequences.

Read Ken Jacobs' policy brief on this issue here.

Courtesy of Flickr user Corey Templeton.

On today’s North Bay Report we look at a regional initiative to strengthen then middle class -- the Bay Area Regional Prosperity Plan is a three-year initiative funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

Local Activists Cheer Immigration Reform Proposal

Apr 18, 2013
Joe Martinez / United Farm Workers

  Along with the horrific Boston bombing, this week’s news also contained some hopeful prospects for advocates of national immigration reform. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson spoke with some of them.

A more detailed analysis of the policies contained in the Senate immigration reform measure can be read here. Support for  the bill will also be a major theme at the annual May Day March and Rally in Santa Rosa on May 1. Details below.

Robert Reich Critiques Wal-Mart

Feb 24, 2013

Wal-Mart says expanding into a Superstore in Rohnert Park, essentially adding a grocery outlet, will create 85 new jobs. But at what cost, asks a prominent critic of the corporation. Bruce Robinson spoke with him.

Professor Reich will speak at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa at 7 pm  on Monday, Feb. 25. Ticket and event information here. He also contends that Wal-Mart has a history that demonstrates they are not a desirable community neighbor, nor a good corporate citizen.

"Shift Change" documentary examines coops worldwide

Jan 28, 2013

  A new documentary examines worker-owned cooperative businesses, from a huge complex in Spain to small start-ups here in the Bay Area.