by DeAnn McEwen
Trust me when I say that politics has become very personal this year; I’m a nurse. As nurses we ask our patients to “tell us where it hurts.” There are those who are too young and too medically fragile who don’t have the ability to utter a word; yet we see the result of an eroding social safety net etched on their faces.
Far too many of the patients and people in the community that I care for are suffering as a result of our broken economy. There is hope for them, and we all have the ability to help if we make an informed decision and vote wisely. Before we’re handcuffed by lethal cutbacks and before we become accomplices of injustice and the erosion of our right to protect one another, please join nurses in voting “NO” on Proposition 32; and, “YES” on Proposition 30.
Last weekend, more than 750 people took to the streets in San Diego’s largest ever rally and march against Wal-Mart. The coalition of community, faith and labor groups organized this spring to defend Sherman Heights when Wal-Mart snuck into the community and took over the historic Farmer’s Market building.
When news broke in the spring that Wal-Mart was planning to move in, the community mobilized and made a simple request of Wal-Mart: Sit down with the community to discuss what a new market would mean for the neighborhood and how everyone could be sure it would provide a benefit. Instead, Wal-Mart responded by importing labor from outside San Diego and demolishing the historic Farmer’s Market Building without public notice or hearings.
Over the last several months, warehouse workers have drawn attention to serious problems with their working conditions and subsequent retaliation against those who have spoken up.
Warehouse work is strenuous and hard on the body. For hours on end, workers lift heavy boxes in the same pattern as they load and unload shipping containers and trailers. Workers are asked to do the humanly impossible or risk losing their jobs every day. It is more common to meet a warehouse worker who has been injured than one who is healthy.
This week, workers took action to address serious injuries associated with this repetitive motion. Warehouse Workers United on behalf of workers filed a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Monday Sept. 24 detailing a high rate of injury associated with unreasonable quotas. They are seeking an immediate investigation of the facility.
Both Democrats and Republicans stress that the ability for people to move up the economic ladder to build better lives is at the heart of the American Dream. But new data from the Pew Center on the States pits the Republican tenet on economic mobility against another deeply held Republican belief that unions are a heavy and evil anchor on the economy that must be cut away.
Where there is a strong union movement, there is more economic mobility. If unions are strengthened, upward mobility will increase. The 10 states with the highest unionization rates—New York, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Oregon—perform considerably better on a range of measures of mobility than the 10 states with the lowest levels of unionization.
You may remember VWR International as the now-infamous chemical supply company in Brisbane, California that was bought by private-equity firm Madison-Dearborn, which promptly cut a sweetheart deal to move the company to Visalia. The deal meant the company would recieve numerous public subsidies and tax breaks, including hefty Enterprise Zone hiring credits, which put state taxpayers on the hook to pay for VWR to turn good, union jobs in Brisbane into low-wage, dead-end, no-benefit jobs in Visalia.
This week, after a months-long legal battle, the workers and the union won an incredible victory when the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno reversed a Tulare court’s ruling on the city's approval of a 500,000-square-foot VWR warehouse in Visalia.
It’s high time we end the practice of shelling out taxpayer money to ultra-profitable companies that kill California jobs. Fortunately, there’s Proposition 39, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, on the ballot this November. Prop 39 would eliminate the wasteful 'elective single sales factor' corporate tax loophole that rewards companies who move jobs and operations out-of-state. Closing the loophole also eliminates the unfair advantage out-of-state corporations have over businesses that operate exclusively in California.
This morning, the California Labor Federation announced its official endorsement of Prop 39 at a press conference with Prop 39 Chairman Tom Steyer in Los Angeles.
are the embodiment of a problem that plagues our electoral system in an era of Citizens United
: big money from anonymous sources manipulating elections. The Kochs web of Super PACS and front groups are expected to spend $400 million on elections this year alone to promote their anti-worker, big corporate agenda. The Kochs are known for many things, but “campaign finance reform” sure isn’t one of them. In fact, most observers point to the Kochs’ free-wheeling campaign spending through shadowy front groups as THE REASON we need real reform.
So, to some, it may seem counterintuitive that a front group with ties to the Kochs just dropped millions of dollars into the effort to pass Prop 32, which its backers describe as a measure to “stop special interests.” Wait, why would the Kochs back a measure that is allegedly about “stopping special interests” when they’re among the most notorious special interests in the country? Because Prop 32 isn’t what it seems. In fact, it’s been described as a “fraud,” “phony” and a “sham.” It benefits secretive corporate Super PACs like the Kochs and Karl Rove run, while eliminating the voices of teachers, firefighters and other workers.
yesterday announced that a tentative agreement between the union and the management of the California State University has been ratified by CFA members on all 23 CSU campuses. The vote was 91% in favor of ratification.
CFA President Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles, congratulated the thousands of members who voted, as well as the union bargaining team that was at the table for more than two years. They participated in strike votes and picket lines, spreading the message about the tough challenges to keeping California’s public higher education system open and available to working families.