Rants and Raves for the Week of August 2nd, 2010
Governor Schwarzenegger has denied wage equality for farmworkers vetoing SB 1121 (Florez), the bill that would have given farmworkers the same right to daily overtime that exists for virtually all other California workers. This isn’t surprising based on the Governor’s track record– he recently vetoed a bill that would give farmworkers an effective right to organize through majority sign-up, and he opposed meaningful regulations to prevent heat illness (not to mention his ongoing effort to roll back the daily overtime law that covers most other California workers). This isn’t the first time Schwarzenegger has unilaterally denied rights to workers, but it very well might be his last, since his term is up at the end of this year, and we’re fully committed to electing a true champion of workers’ rights – Jerry Brown — to replace him.
Meg Whitman released yet another decietful TV ad this week, which focuses on her so-called “success” as CEO of eBay, while conveniently leaving out the real facts about her tenure there. She loves to boast about the jobs she supposedly created, but she fails to mention where exactly those jobs are located — under her leadership, nearly 40% of the company's jobs were overseas. And in 2008, her final year as CEO, the company slashed 10% of its workforce. Additionally, the company's stock tanked 50% during her final years as CEO, and she was even sued her own shareholders for now-illegal insider deals she made while sitting on the board of directors at disgraced banking giant Goldman Sachs. Her latest ad does nothing to answer the growing concerns voters have over her corporate background and Wall Street agenda. It's time for Whitman to come clean about her corporate past and history of outsourcing and eliminating jobs.
This week, 2000 members of the Classified School Employees Association (CSEA) converged on the state capitol with one clear message: NO MORE BUDGET CUTS! More than $17 billion dollars has been cut from education over the past two years, leaving our schools and our students in dire straits. This past Tuesday, California's school employees, who get our kids to school safely on the bus, assist them in the classroom, and watch over them on the playground, took a stand for the next generation of California's children, who depend upon a quality public education system. They were joined parents and students from around the state, all demanding that our kids get the resources they need to learn, succeed and live the American dream. Their message was heard around the Capitol, and underscored the importance of our ongoing fight for a fair state budget.
Finally, the US Senate passes a bill to protect jobs! This new bill will preserve essential public service jobs — teachers, firefighters, and public safety– while also protecting our economy from the effects of mass layoffs. The measure provides aid to cash-strapped state and local governments who are on the verge of instituting deep cuts that involve tens of thousands of new layoffs. Fortunately, two Republicans joined with Democrats to vote ‘yes’ and pass the bill. In addition to the immediate impact on jobs, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this measure will reduce the deficit $1.4 billion. It will also bolster education and public services for families across the country. It's about time the US Senate stood up for working families and our jobs!
What Meg Whitman imagined to be a hugely successful launch of her new “Latino outreach” office in East LA took a sharp turn in the other direction when more than 100 workers from SEIU and other unions descended on the office in a rowdy protest, speaking out against her transparent efforts to decieve Latino voters on issues such as jobs, education and immigration. media accounts, the protestors outnumbered Whitman’s supporters 2-to-1, which certianly put a damper on her day (which also happened to be her birthday), and demonstrated to the community that her misleading ads and phony photo ops aren’t fooling anyone.
This week, more than 6,500 postdoctoral researchers at the University of California celebrated a major victory when they finally reached a tentative agreement over their first-ever union contract. The postdocs, who are members of Postdoctoral Researchers Organize/UAW, endured more than 18 months of tough bargaining before finally reaching an accord with university administrators. The fact that the union was able to negotiate a contract in the face of draconian budget cuts to the UC is a truly monumental feat. “This is a great tentative agreement,” said UCLA biochemist and bargaining committee member Xiaoqing Cao. “We’ve improved compensation and our rights at UC and have helped set standards for postdocs across the country.”