Labor Day Kicks Off Final Push in Battle for the Soul of California

This Labor Day, California is at a crossroads. We can either continue the economic race to the bottom – exacerbated by corporate policies and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s slash-and-burn budgets – or we can chart a new course to rebuild California from the bottom up. The heart of California’s economy, our workers, are struggling with near record unemployment, stagnating wages and devastating budget cuts that are eroding the California Dream.

This November, Californians have a critical choice to make about which direction our state should take to deal with the enormous challenges we face. This election is simply a battle for the soul of California.

In the race for Governor, the choices couldn’t be starker.

Meg Whitman epitomizes the disastrous corporate policies that fueled the collapse of our economy. Her proposals to give the rich tax breaks at the expense of middle class programs and public safety would choke off any hope of economic recovery. Her promise to eliminate 40,000 state jobs would spike unemployment and force businesses to shutter. Her long record of outsourcing and eliminating jobs in the private sector to boost CEO profits shows how dangerously misplaced her priorities are.

Jerry Brown has spent his entire career fighting for working families. As Governor, he created 1.9 million jobs. He proposes to create a half million new clean energy jobs, positioning California to be the national leader in the new green economy. He supports investment in infrastructure and education, the two most critical areas in driving job growth. He respects the contributions workers make to the economy and would prioritize an expansion of the middle class.

California voters face a similar choice in the race for US Senate. Barbara Boxer is a champion for California’s workers. She’s led the fight to rein in Wall Street, prioritize good jobs and pass national health care reform. Failed CEO Carly Fiorina, on the other hand, thinks our economy should be more like China’s. She calls outsourcing of American jobs “right sourcing.”

Labor Day marks the beginning of the final push by California’s workers to elect Brown, Boxer and other leaders who will create jobs and restore hope of broadly shared economic prosperity. In the coming weeks, more than 25,000 union volunteers will lead the largest grassroots voter mobilization in California history. Workers will be out in force every week between now and the election to combat Whitman’s avalanche of campaign spending by doing what we do best – talking one-on-one with friends, neighbors, co-workers and members of our communities about the stakes in this election.

Every generation has a defining moment. This election is ours. And California’s workers stand ready to take a leading role in rebuilding our economy and restoring our once vibrant middle class.