The next time a politician calls on the state or federal government to trim its workforce – right after promising to “grow jobs” – it might be good for him to remember that one in five working Americans is a public employee. Not only does thinning the public sector reduce the number of services and quality of life enjoyed by taxpayers, it also throws more people onto the unemployment rolls.
Those who see themselves as swashbuckling entrepeneurs or disciples of Ayn Rand do have an alternative to public sector employment in mind – the privatization of work that has historically been performed by government. In the Public Interest, a nonprofit that researches the dynamics of privatization and government contracting, has just released a study showing in sharp relief the dangers that come with such an alternative.
I am a nurse and I know how wealth is valued over the health of my patients with today’s recreation of an aristocracy born of speculation and no sense of community values.
The San Francisco Chronicle today disclosed that corporations outspend unions by at least 3-1 to dominate elections and public policy in California, according to a nonpartisan group called California Common Sense. Since 2000, business interests alone have poured an obscene $1.7 billion into California campaigns to sway candidate and initiative campaigns. Imagine a world in which that money might have gone to our schools, or healthcare, or creating jobs, and you get a sense how wildly corrupted our political system has become, aided by disgraceful court rulings that big money equals free speech.
Any lawyer with some experience in Sacramento politics can draft language for a statewide initiative. But crafting deceptive ballot measures that can trick people into voting against their core beliefs is nothing less than an art form.
For many years, the undisputed master of the misleading initiative has been Thomas Hiltachk. So it’s little surprise that Hiltachk is the author of Proposition 32, which promises to rid Sacramento of special interest money – but which would actually give almost complete control of state politics to corporations and the super-rich by effectively crippling the ability of unions to participate in elections and lobbying. Hiltachk has also quite possibly written into the initiative a poison pill that would shield corporations from its provisions and leave only unions to suffer the consequences if Prop. 32 passes.
It would be easy for voters, sick of the auction of California politics to the biggest spenders, to be tempted by the misleading advertising for Proposition 32.
But many are still unaware of the real impact for the Californians if Prop. 32 passes, which is why the California Nurses Association strongly opposes Prop. 32, as we describe in this video.
Latinos are among the fastest growing groups of the electorate. About 5 million more Latino voters are eligible to vote this year than in 2008 — but historically, voter turnout among Latinos hasn’t been particularly strong. In 2008, only 50% of eligible Latino voters showed up to the polls (according to the LA Times). But that’s all going to change this year in California, as more and more Latinos are discovering what’s really at stake in the upcoming election if Prop 32 becomes law.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Latino community united in Mariachi Plaza to kick off a host of Latino community events across the state to oppose the fraudulent Prop 32. Labor and elected leaders and activists spoke out against the engañosa (deceiving) measure, vowing to stop those behind Prop 32, including Big Oil, Wall St. and secretive out-of-state Super PACs run by the oil billionaire Koch Brothers and George Bush’s Karl Rove, from taking away their voices.
When the Koch Brothers tried to undo California's landmark global warming law with Prop 23, Labor united with environmental advocates, scientists and academics to stop them, because we all share the same vision for California’s clean and green economic future. Now, two years later, those same clean-energy advocates are once again uniting with California’s working families to stop the Kochs – this time by defeating Prop 32.
On October 12, 2012, 70 women and community members from across Silicon Valley spoke out against Hyatt’s disrespect of women and their bodies in a protest at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. The action, which marks the one year anniversary of Hyatt’s firing of Martha and Lorena Reyes, featured a “Women’s Solidarity Quilt” bearing messages of support for the two sisters and stories of the struggles women face at work. Quilts, a traditionally female art form, have long represented women’s role as the social backbone of our communities and their solidarity for one another.
The people's movement for our right to know what's in our food has hit a critical fork in the road: the moment when it's time to ask ourselves and each other — how hard are we willing to fight for our basic right to know what's in the food we're eating and feeding our families?
Proposition 37 is the litmus test for whether there is actually a food movement in this country, writes Michael Pollan in an article to appear in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. It may also be the litmus test for whether there is democracy left in this country.
On the heels of growing Walmart unrest that began on Thursday, October 4 at the Pico Rivera Walmart in Southern Los Angeles, the first-ever strike in Walmart’s history, activists gathered at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Walmart is holding its annual financial analyst meeting. As roughly 200 striking Walmart associates and community supporters rallied in Bentonville in the name of changing Walmart labor practices, an agreement was reached via OUR Walmart for an action aimed at Black Friday, the most anticipated shopping day of the year for consumers and retailers and the kick-off to the holiday shopping season.
Then as now, labor rights and labor's voice in politics are under heavy attack.
Yesterday, October 11th, was Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday, a good day to reflect on the First Lady’s values and how she translated those values into action on behalf of ideas and people she supported. Eleanor Roosevelt strongly believed in workers, their unions, and their involvement in the political process. A member of The Newspaper Guild, AFL-CIO for over 25 years, she came to see unions as fundamental to democracy itself. In 1941, she told striking IBEW workers that “it was important that everyone who was a worker join a labor organization.” Under her guidance, the right to join a union was included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet workers’ rights remain under heavy attack today. Her legacy is still in need of protection and promotion.