It’s Labor Day and, at least for the day, the concerns, issues and views of “Labor” are news. And at the moment, Labor in California is facing a vicious attack on our ability to participate in the political process. Labor’s voice — the voice of the people  — belongs in the political arena and in the public debate.

Proposition 32, a measure appearing on the November statewide ballot, is not what it seems. While it claims to be about “stopping special interests,” Prop. 32 is a sinister attempt to keep the voice of working people and our unions out of the public debate on crucial community issues including health care, affordable housing, a clean environment, public transportation and workplace safety laws.

Prop. 32 was specifically written to limit the voice of union workers. And while unions would not be able to use dues money for political purposes, corporate billionaires and their independent political action committees would have no restrictions at all.

The deluge of money into our election system has made many politicians more interested in helping the wealthy CEOs who fund their campaigns than in helping the rest of us who contribute less. Prop. 32 is not campaign or finance reform. We are already outspent by corporate special interests 15 to 1. Prop. 32 is a redistribution of even more power to the wealthy and well-connected to influence elections, control government and weaken the voice of workers.

On Labor Day, support the teachers, nurses, firefighters, police and other everyday heroes who speak out on issues that matter to us all, like cuts to our schools and colleges, police and fire response times, patient safety and workplace protections. We must keep these voices in the mix. Let’s get out into our neighborhoods, mobilize friends and family, and defeat these attacks! Vote “no” on Prop 32.

The above is an edited version of a longer piece submitted by Shelley Kessler, executive secretary-treasurer for the San Mateo Labor Council.

(6) comments

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

Class resentment against folks who get as much as they can is class resentment.

The real problem is cowardly management. Management that takes the credit and the bonus for the decisions they make while not considering the long term impacts of what they have done.

Hold the politicos and the management responsible.

The notion of retiring at 50 or 55 or 57 is ridiculous and unsustainable. It is unlikely that that people who will have to pay for those benefits will get to retire at 65 even.

Our leaders should be ashamed of themselves for not standing up for us.

But you and I would have taken 3 @ 50 in a heartbeat. Doing so makes one no more evil than a banker getting fired for a bad decision who gets a multi-million dollar golden parachute.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

The current Board Majority of the CFPD intends to offer 3 @ 55 to any former or current firemen who signs up for the new standalone department.

Tyler Durden

"...But no one is being hired at 3% at 50 anymore..."

Even if that were true, it would not avoid the fiscal train wreck ahead. Decades of prior unrestrained feeding at the taxpayer trough by greedy police and fire unions has sealed the fate of many local governments in California including Vallejo, Gilroy, San Bernadino, Sacramento and many others to follow in coming years.


There is a lot of anger here.

Unions are not what is wrong with California.

And the days of 3% at 50 are over. Whether requiring firefighter and police officers to work until 57 or later will save money or cost money won't be known for quite some time. But no one is being hired at 3% at 50 anymore.

As far as prop 32, it is the effort of the Koch brothers, who between them have a personal wealth of $50,000,000,000!!!! That's fifty billion. They are purchasing California, and will only further depress the income and benefits of the poor and middle class.

Everyone deserves to make a livable wage. The Koch brothers and prop 32 seek to suck every drop of blood from working Americans for no other reason than to add to their own wealth and power. If the Koch brothers win, everyone else loses. Everyone.

August West

Organized labor is destroying California. Nice work. Thankfully this diatribe was shortened from the original.

Tyler Durden

"....On Labor Day, support the...firefighters, police and other everyday heroes...."

Ah yes by all means, let's drink a toast to those everyday heroes who get to retire at age 50 with something close to full pay and free lifetime healthcare (at the expense of all of us of course) and whose powerful unions are bankrupting numerous cities throughout California. Good job!

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