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1 May 2013, 9:08 pm
Some live updates from May Day rallies around the world. Solidarity! http://t.co/0IkrlRTgH8
1 May 2013, 5:08 pm
Fight for 15 - Lucha por 15 WOCC rally in Oakland today at 5:00pm, Frank Ogawa Plaza. Join the fight for a $15... http://t.co/WqO08bDZjA
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Happy May Day! http://t.co/OLejjT2gY2
23 April 2013, 5:23 pm
TONIGHT: General Membership Meeting: Tuesday, April 22 6:00 pm – Local 3 Headquarters 1050 South Van Ness, San... http://t.co/skjpxgOzQl
2 April 2013, 10:42 pm
National Day of Action for Comprehensive Reform Wednesday, April 10th 2013 San Francisco actions 3pm - MARCH... http://t.co/i0OaQnWk4M
Friends and Allies,
Save the date and join us for a fundraiser cocktail party on Wednesday, March 20th at the David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA.
Honorary Host: Representative Barbara Lee
(If you are unable to attend, you can still support USLAW with a donation.)
While the state budget is in better shape than previous years, California’s economy is still fragile. Every available dollar of state spending should go to creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
The last thing we should be doing is giving corporate CEOs big tax breaks for eliminating good-paying jobs. Yet, that’s exactly what the state’s enterprise zone (EZ) program does. This fat giveaway to huge corporations costs taxpayers over $700 million a year while study after study proves that the program doesn’t create new jobs.
Governor Brown has proposed meaningful reform that curbs the worst abuses and waste of taxpayer dollars. His budget closes the outrageous loophole that allows a corporation to get a tax break for someone they don’t even currently employ and requires more accountability.
The Governor’s proposal is a solid first step to reform this abusive program but much, much more needs to be done. We need your help!
Send a letter of support for the Governor’s proposal to reform EZs today! And, if you can, attend an upcoming hearing in your community (schedule of hearings can be found below). We can send corporations a message that the gravy train is over. Act today!
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Inequality is Undermining Our Democracy
By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog
11 December 12
ashington has a way of focusing the nation’s attention on tactical games over partisan maneuvers that are symptoms of a few really big problems. But we almost never get to debate or even discuss the big problems because the tactical games overwhelm everything else.
The debate over the fiscal cliff, for example, is really about tactical maneuvers preceding a negotiation about how best to reduce the federal budget deficit. This, in turn, is a fragment of a bigger debate over whether we should be embracing austerity economics and reducing the budget deficit in the next few years or, alternatively, using public spending and investing to grow the economy and increase the number of jobs.
Even this larger debate is just one part of what should be the central debate of our time – why median wages continue to drop and poverty to increase at the same time income and wealth are becoming ever more concentrated at the top, and what should be done to counter the trend.
With a shrinking share of total income and wealth, the middle class and poor simply don’t have the purchasing power to get the economy back on solid footing. (The wealthy don’t spend enough of their income or assets to make up for this shortfall, and they invest their savings wherever around the world they can get the highest return).
As a result, consumer spending – fully 70 percent of economic activity – isn’t up to the task of keeping the economy going. This puts greater pressure on government to be purchaser of last resort.
The dilemma isn’t just economic. It’s also political. As money concentrates at the top, so does power. That concentrated power generates even more entrenched wealth at the top, and less for the middle class and the poor.
A case in point is what’s now happening in Michigan. In the state where the American labor movement was born – and where, because of labor unions, the American middle class once had the bargaining power to gain a significant portion of the nation’s total income – Republicans and big money are striking back.
Legislators in the Michigan state House, followed almost immediately by Republicans who dominate the state Senate, voted Thursday afternoon to eliminate basic union organizing and workplace protections for both public and private-sector workers. Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll sign the measure.
This anti-labor blitzkreig was launched and coordinated by “Americans for Prosperity” – a group developed and funded by the right-wing industrialists and billionaire campaign donors Charles and David Koch, to “pave the way for right to work in states across our nation.”
The Koch brothers are the same ones, not incidentally, who several years ago backed a group called “Citizen’s United,” on its way to the Supreme Court for an opinion by the Court’s Republican majority that opened the floodgates to big money corrupting our federal and state governments. (The brothers Koch have also entertained Justices Scalia and Thomas at strategy meetings they’ve organized of Republican donors.)
Connect the dots: As unions have withered, the middle class’s share of total income and wealth has dropped. The decline of the median wage in America over the last three decades correlates exactly with the declining percentage of American workers who are unionized.
And as the super-rich have grown even wealthier, they’ve been able to extend their power through the Supreme Court and the Republican Party – advancing a war on the middle class.
These moneyed interests may lose a skirmish or two, particularly at the federal level when the public’s attention is focused there (Michigan voters went overwhelmingly for President Obama and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on November 6). But the moneyed interests are patient and relentless and, as is evident in Michigan, able to strike suddenly with extraordinary organization and precision.
They’ve taken on our tax system, successfully raising taxes on the middle class and the poor (Social Security payroll taxes, sales taxes, and user fees) while reducing their own top marginal tax rates. They’ve taken on public spending – cutting government workers and programs the poor and middle class depend on (teachers and school budgets, social workers and family support services, job training and unemployment insurance, to name only a few.)
And they’ve taken on the unions that once negotiated good wages on behalf of the middle class and of those who aspired to join it.
The result has been a degree of inequality this nation hasn’t witnessed since the days of the robber barons of the late nineteenth century – an inequality that’s harming our economy as much as it’s undermining our democracy.
As Washington fiddles over the fiscal cliff, a larger battle over inequality is being waged all over America.
The City College of San Francisco administration is planning to use the $16 million in new annual revenues from Proposition A to…
a) offset budget cuts, prevent layoffs, and provide an affordable, quality education for students, as voters understood the funds were intended to do.
b) squirrel the money away, citing vague demands from the accrediting agency AACJC.
Never mind that voters and the rest of us at City College want option A.
Click here to read and sign the petition: http://bit.ly/PropApetition
Tell the CCSF Board of Trustees: San Francisco voted to Save Our City College
In November, San Francisco voters passed Prop. A to fund City College of San Francisco, provide relief from relentless budget cuts, and help sustain the college. In passing this $79 per-year parcel tax by 72.9%, San Franciscans sent a clear message: they want City College of San Francisco to exist and to succeed, and they want it to continue providing the accessible, quality education to its diverse student body.
Instead of using this additional $16 million to restore cuts or maintain program, the CCSF administration is moving to squirrel away all of the new revenue into savings and other secret items related to the college’s accrediting process. Meanwhile, it has implemented layoffs and demanded that workers at the college, who have already given back millions of dollars in the last several years, take additional, permanent pay cuts and reductions in health benefits.
We, the undersigned, call on the Board of Trustees of City College of San Francisco to respect the wishes of San Francisco voters and use the revenue generated by Prop. A for voter-approved purposes of providing quality education and services for students and preventing layoffs.
Posted Nov. 16, 2012, at 4:32 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 18, 2012, at 5:56 p.m.
BIDDEFORD, Maine — Labor leaders in Maine say the resilience of the Hostess workers on the picket line at the company’s Biddeford plant, which is in the process of being shut down after the company on Friday said it would liquidate the business, gives them inspiration in the face of what they believe have been ongoing efforts — by politicians, including Gov. Paul LePage, and corporate investors — to reduce union influence.
Bakers’ union officials and their supporters say also that the demise of Hostess Brands Inc., which failed to convince striking workers to return to their jobs, is a warning sign for corporate investors seeking to squeeze more profits out of the working class.
“Unions have been losing power for years,” said Ken Rumney, a striking worker outside of the Hostess plant in Biddeford on Friday. “This is an exceptional case. If Hostess had been allowed to get away with what they’d been trying to do, other corporations would have lined up to try the same tactics. Hopefully, this will be an example to other companies not to [try to] break their unions.” Continue reading
UFCW Local 1428 Honors Veterans with Day of Service
Our nation’s veterans risk their lives to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Yet, upon returning from military service, many veterans face extraordinary challenges – economic, social and emotional. This Veterans Day holiday, members of UFCW Local 1428 decided to show their appreciation to veterans by giving back through a day of service that will hopefully make life a little better for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
I was honored to join more than 150 members of Local 1428 bright and early Monday morning at St. Trinity church in Pomona to embark on a day of appreciation to veterans through community service. Union members fanned out across Southern California in the communities of Pomona, Shadow Hills, Ontario, Chino, Claremont and Monrovia to provide help in a variety of ways to veterans and show their gratitude to our men and women who have served this nation in uniform.
The day, organized by leaders and staff of Local 1428, was in lieu of the union’s annual steward’s conference. Local 1428 President Connie Leyva said her members really embraced the idea of getting out into the community to do something positive rather than sit in a stuffy conference room.
We just wanted to give back to people who have given so much to us. Most people want to make a difference they just don’t know how. We give them a vehicle to do that and they responded overwhelmingly.
In Pomona, members began the day at American Legion Post 30 by serving a hot breakfast and distributing toothpaste, gift certificates for new shoes and other items of necessity to more than 200 hundred homeless and disabled veterans. Continue reading