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Prison re-entry group forms + Dems urge UC to recognize union + CFA cuts ties with cops

·5 min read

Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!

GROUP FORMS TO REPRESENT CALIFORNIANS RE-ENTERING COMMUNITIES

More than 30,000 Californians re-enter society after incarceration each year. Now, they’re getting representation in the Capitol.

The Re-Entry Providers Association of California, or REPAC, announced its formation on Thursday as a first-of-its-kind organization aimed at advocating for the needs of people returning home from jails or prisons after a period of incarceration.

REPAC represents California’s largest and most successful re-entry service providers, and will lobby in Sacramento on behalf of those organizations.

“After years of not having a seat at the table and struggling to piece together funding, we have decided to come together to amplify our voices on behalf of this crucial sector of our society that simply does not get the resources and support it needs,” said Donald Frazier, executive director of Oakland-based Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, in a statement. “California has never adequately committed to ensuring people coming home from prison are able to meet their most basic, pressing needs. Helping people returning from incarceration has never been more important.”

California is the most populous state in the nation, and its re-entry population is likewise the nation’s largest. According to a 2018 report from Californians for Safety and Justice, more than half of people with a past conviction on their record have trouble finding a job, and more than a quarter struggle with finding housing.

“For too long, people coming home to our communities from jail or prison have been set up for failure by making it nearly impossible for folks to regain stability and economic security,” said Doug Bond, CEO of Los Angeles-based Amity Foundation. “That’s unfair for the folks coming home, and compromises the health and safety of all of our communities. California must deepen its support of re-entry providers and make it as easy and seamless as possible for people being released from incarceration to access the services available to ensure their basic immediate needs are met, such as housing, food and clothing.”

The Amity Foundation will be hosting a press conference to discuss the formation of REPAC at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Several lawmakers will be in attendance, including Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, D-Oakland.

You can watch the press conference live on Facebook here.

CONGRESS DEMS CALL ON UC PREZ TO RECOGNIZE UNION

Thirty Democratic members of California’s congressional delegation, led by Rep. Katie Porter, have penned a letter to University of California President Michael Drake, calling on him to recognize Student Researchers United-UAW, a union representing more than 17,000 student researchers across the UC system.

“Student Researchers are essential drivers of the University of California’s research mission. They perform experiments, write research grant proposals, and generate creative ideas that push the boundaries of their fields. Their hard work and dedication is a major reason why the school system received $3.7 billion in federal research contracts and grant revenue in fiscal year 2020,” the letter reads in part.

The letter goes on to state that student researchers face persistent inequalities in their workplaces, such as low wages, long hours and workplace harassment, “all of which detract from their ability to perform their timely and groundbreaking research.”

“In May, over 12,000 of these workers submitted authorization cards to the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) choosing to form a union, Student Researchers United-UAW. In early August, PERB verified this majority and the right of the union to be recognized,” the letter adds.

You can read the letter for yourself by visiting here.

CFA PULLS AWAY FROM POLICE ASSOCIATIONS

The California Democratic Party might have held off splitting from police unions, but the California Faculty Association is going ahead with such an effort, announcing Monday that it is severing ties with law enforcement associations.

The association said in a statement that police and sheriffs’ associations “have historically been a force of racial segregation and repression of labor rights.”

“These groups do not act in solidarity with the broader labor movement, and in fact routinely oppose the policy and legislative agenda of organized labor,” the CFA said in a statement.

At its fall assembly, the CFA delegates passed a resolution reaffirming that Black lives matter and “acknowledging the inhumanity of police associations that provice sanctuary for those police who terrorize us with brutality and murder, and asking our union siblings in the labor movement to join us in our call to end police associations,” according to CFA Vice President Sharon Elise. “Police associations have always been on the wrong side of the labor movement and, as we move forward to end police brutality, these associations do everything they can to thwart our efforts.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m unapologetically pro-vaccination. I also subscribe to the ‘radical’ notion that preventing unnecessary suffering and death… is actually a *good* thing!”

- Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, via Twitter.

Best of the Bee:

  • Almost seven months after getting his initial COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday received a COVID-19 booster shot and encouraged residents to also get the jab as the state approaches a potentially dangerous winter season, via Lara Korte.

  • This is California’s new $5 billion powerhouse of an industry. Is the state holding it back? Via Andrew Sheeler and Jason Pohl.

  • Fact check: Is turnover at California’s unemployment call center unusually high? Via David Lightman.

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