Mixer: Unions protect some jobs, while we watch others go

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MixerBannerReporters Dakota Smith from the LA Daily News and Tim Logan from the Los Angeles Times joined us this week.

Los Angeles area labor leader Maria Elena Durazo is calling out the city’s pension fund investments in Walmart, saying pension boards should not invest in companies that pay their workers low wages.

May Day protests and demonstrations took place in downtown LA yesterday, as thousands of labor activists and immigration reform advocates took to the streets taking aim at deportations and the behemoth retailer, which has opened a neighborhood grocery store in Chinatown.

Earlier this week, Toyota announced that it’s moving its North American headquarters from Torrance to Texas. That means 3,000 jobs will go too. Is it California’s unfriendly business climate, as Texas Governor Rick Perry claims?

On Monday, Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto said there is some truth to that.

“Let’s face it, they really got a sweetheart deal from Texas,” he said.

Scotto says the world’s biggest automaker is “getting tax breaks [and it’s] difficult for California to compete with something like that.”

But maybe something else is at play?

Just today, California Governor Jerry Brown told LA-area Chamber of Commerce leaders that the move was, in fact, more about geography to its plants, than the $40 million Texas offered up.

“Change is inevitable”, the governor said, alluding to the job market.

One other topic – and that’s the resignation of Leroy Jenkins, head of the LA chapter of the NAACP, in light of the group’s plans to award disgraced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a humanitarian award. It seems like Jenkins himself has a bit of a checkered past.

And this could, indeed, lead to more scrutiny among organizations who take money from business leaders.