Rants & Raves for the Week of June 21st, 2010
In a move that could only be described as heartless and cruel, GOP Senators and one Democrat blocked an extension of unemployment benefits for 1.2 million jobless workers. Already hundreds of thousands of Californians have exhausted all 99 weeks of jobless benefits and are still struggling to find work in this brutal economy. The lack of a federal extension means that thousands more unemployed Californians will begin to reach the end of their benefits starting as early as next week – and now have to figure out how to survive with no job and no benefits. Voting down the bill was a gutless ploy some Senators who are more interested in scoring cheap political points than extending the lifeline that so many working families depend upon in this recession.
Last week, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg “Wall Street” Whitman arrogantly asked the California Nurses Association to turn over all of its members’ home addresses and contact information, so Whitman could send them glossy mailers riddled with her bogus campaign rhetoric. CNA refused to give up its members’ private info, and instead invited Whitman to talk to the nurses face-to-face. When Whitman declined to appear at a forum with her opponent Jerry Brown, the nurses offered a solo forum for her, moderated non-partisan journalists, but she again declined, and instead proceeded with her onslaught of campaign propaganda on them.”She's calling us at our homes with push polls, putting out false information to the media, posting deceitful Web sites, and we expect mail to arrive from her soon,” noted Geri Jenkins, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association. “THIS is why we didn't want to give Whitman our personal information, but we feel like she went ahead and violated our privacy anyway.”
Senate and House negotiators have reached a deal on legislation to reform the financial industry. It's a big victory for President Obama, who championed financial reform to tighten the reins on the Big Banks and Wall Street. But it's even a bigger victory for working people who were the victims of the out-of-control greed that fueled the economic collapse. The legislation now goes to the Senate and House for approval. We need to make sure these important reforms reach the President desks and aren't derailed last-minute Republican shenanigans.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board this week passed a resolution yesterday calling for the district to wash its huge fleet of vehicles only at carwashes that have signed the CLEAN Agreement, which commits the companies to abide minimum employment, health and safety and environmental standards and to respect workers’ right to join a union. The Los Angeles carwash industry is marked widespread violations of workers’ rights and health and safety regulations, but the CLEAN carwash campaign, which is supported more than 100 community, faith and labor organizations in the Los Angeles area, has played a vital role in cleaning up the carwash industry, and the action taken LAUSD is entirely due to the hard work of the CLEAN coalition.
Today, tens of thousands of airline and rail workers are a step closer to winning fairer election rules for union elections. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Air Transport Association’s attempt to overturn new National Mediation Board (NMB) rules governing union elections. The new rules put an end to counting all non-voting workers in union elections as “NO” votes, a practice that created an unfair requirement for super majority participation in union elections. This standard, applied to airline and rail workers’ union elections, is not found anywhere else in democratic institutions, nor are any other groups of workers subject to it. The defeat of the employers’ attempt to overturn the new rules puts air and rail workers on track to a fairer system of union elections.