Governor, Tear Down That Great Wall
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
Gov. Schwarzenegger excluded working people from his trade mission to
After spending $50 million in California taxpayer money on a frivolous special election, a defeated Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged again to represent “all Californians” not just corporations. Instead he embarked by charter jet, in a first-class accommodation trade mission to China with nearly 80 business executives and lobbyists. Some are the same rich contributors who donated millions of dollars to his campaigns and now get special access to Chinese officials and to the governor himself. Many of these businesses are actively exporting jobs to China.
California voters sent Gov. Schwarzenegger a message in the special election. It's time for the governor to be open and honest with taxpayers instead of conducting special interest business as usual. We call on the governor to fully disclose the secret contributors to his first class trip and how much they gave him. And, Governor, while in China did you raise at all the concerns that their government exploits child labor, exploits the labor of political prisoners, and exploits the environment? It's that cheap labor that makes more money for your companion companies when they send Californians' jobs away.
It is one-sided to protect intellectual property rights of your corporate friends but not protect the jobs of California's working families. When we export jobs to a country that fails to enforce its own labor standards with respect to minimum wage, overtime pay and health and safety, we force our own citizens into a downward spiral of declining wages and benefits. Intellectual property rights are fine, but they only protect the profits of corporations when those same companies are moving the production to such a country.
Gov. Schwarzenegger, tear down that great wall that you built between rich executives and working people in California. Make California workers part of your delegation to keep jobs in California and protect our economy instead of just helping your business allies such as Chevron, Pfizer and Target export our jobs to China. Governor, you proclaim yourself the governor of “all the people”. Don't be the governor just for the corporations any more.