Drawing the Lines in the Attack on Labor

Firefighters throughout California took satisfaction in seeing so many of their brothers and sisters right there on the front lines during the collective bargaining fight in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker, you’ll recall, sought to divide labor by carving public safety out of his “kill the unions” legislation.

Wisconsin firefighters weren’t falling for it. They stood with their union brothers in the Capitol protests, and continue to work hard in the recall efforts.

Back here in California, the toughest and most dangerous battles aren’t happening at the Capitol, but in city halls and supervisorial chambers – pay cuts, pension rollbacks and privatization threats.

With the introduction and circulation of yet another “paycheck deception” initiative, the battle is moving “California style” to the state level.  As this next phase in the fight ramps up, it’s critical for us to help our members understand the lines that connect this fight with those firefighters are facing locally, and around the country.

To make this case with our members, California Professional Firefighters has produced this video as part of our semi-monthly “CPF Firevision”. The short piece draws the lines between privatization efforts in San Mateo and Costa Mesa to the larger state and national battle.

One compelling voice is that of Joe Conway, president of the Madison Firefighters Local 311. Conway was a fixture on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” during the fight over bargaining, but when we spoke with him, Joe reminded us that the real fight in Wisconsin is the same as with paycheck deception – silencing labor’s voice.

What they tried to do was dry up the money … to put the unions out of business in elections.

We also think the piece serves as a reminder to our members that, as in Wisconsin, firefighters are part of a larger labor community. In addition to Conway, it also includes messages from California Labor Federation's Art Pulaski and a range of local leaders from public- and private-sector unions.

This link will take you directly to the piece, as well as to ways you can share this message.