SEIU members rally in downtown San Diego at Wells Fargo Plaza on Sept. 9, 2021. / Photo by Joe Orellana

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The workforce that makes up the backbone of tourism in San Diego was decimated during the pandemic as conventions and travelers disappeared. But over the last year there’s been an upsurge in labor organizing.

Unions are capitalizing on a tight labor market to make new demands and drawing energy from a younger, more diverse base to win concessions and legislation.

In his Fine City column, Jesse Marx sheds some light on what’s going on after talking to organizers and workers, one of whom juggles three jobs to get by. He writes that tourism is essential to San Diego’s economy — the climate has always been packaged and sold here — but its workforce is among the lowest paid.

The unions have two goals, one material and the other political. They don’t just want to improve working conditions and pay. They want to create a more visible and influential workforce, which the city has historically lacked.

Whether the burst of energy is sustainable and will amount to long-lasting change is an open question. Even though the unions have allies in positions of power, the basic structures of economic inequality remain largely in place and the workers are under increased pressure thanks to inflation and the cost of housing.

Read the column in its entirety here. 

Teacher Survey Could Be on the Horizon at Del Mar Union 

Following several heated school board meetings, the Del Mar Union School District board announced it is considering a teacher survey as part of its upcoming strategic planning process.

Our Tigist Layne reports that parents and teachers have for weeks called for an internal investigation into alleged tension between teachers and district leaders.

Board Trustee Erica Halpern said the survey, aimed at addressing teacher’s concerns, will be discussed at an August board meeting.

The board has largely stayed silent on the issue until now.

Click here for the full update.

Conditions are Ripe For High Wildfire Season Come September

Firefighters battle the Bernardo Fire near San Diego in 2014. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

The U.S. national drought early-warning information system, called NIDIS, gave a rundown Thursday on when much of the Southwest will experience conditions that heighten the potential for wildfire. Drought is one of the main drivers because less water means drier soils, drier plants and drier air, all conditions that fuel wildfire. According to NIDIS projections, above-average wildfire potential creeps into the San Diego region (mostly along mountain ridges or high altitudes where winds are strong and fuel is plentiful) come September.

That doesn’t mean wildfires haven’t already been too close for comfort this year, though. There were 31 wildfires statewide so far in 2022, a handful of which were uncomfortably close in nearby Riverside County, according to CalFire. 

Click here to continue reading about San Diego’s wildfire risk.

Join Us Next Week for a Live Pod Session

Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County, and it’s on the verge of a big change. It’s set to get a new mayor, councilmembers and city attorney. There is also an overall feeling that the city needs to bring decades-long promises into reality. 

It’s important to note that Chula Vista has a big say in what happens throughout the region (think: SANDAG and MTS). 

Join us next week on Thursday, June 9, at 6 p.m. for a live podcast recording where our hosts and special guests will get into South Bay politics, news and other topics of interest.

It’s all going down at Novo Brazil Brewing in the Otay Ranch Town Center. Get your tickets here. 

In Other News

  • Staggering rent costs amid a skyrocketing housing market are another crisis driving childcare businesses toward closure, reports Claire Trageser for KPBS. One in eight childcare businesses temporarily closed during two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state data. But the struggle for those business owners to keep up with rents rising as much as 23 percent in just the past year is a “crisis on top of a crisis.” 
  • After a state audit found the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department wasn’t doing enough to prevent in-custody inmate deaths, the public safety agency announced changes to how it medically screens inmates before they enter the jail system for issues like drug dependency and withdrawal which can be dangerous left unsupervised. (CBS 8) 
  • The city of San Diego cleared tents and makeshift structures kept by homeless individuals in East Village in an apparent step up in enforcement of a law against blocking sidewalks. (Union-Tribune)
  • Los Angeled County reported its first suspected monkeypox case Thursday. It can be transmitted through sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active rash. (Union-Tribune)
  • California teachers are burning out and retiring early, especially during the last six months of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports EdSource. 

This Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Tigist Layne, MacKenzie Elmer and Andrea Lopez Villafaña. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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1 Comment

  1. All candidates for SDCC D2 ought to be asked the question of validity in this movement to organize for better working conditions by the tourism industry. Dan Smiechowski candidate ignored by San Diego media as a viable candidate for SDCC D2.

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