It's been an incredible few weeks for labor, and the progressive movement more generally, in Wisconsin. By now, it seems everyone in the US and beyond knows what's been happening here.
Blog & News
Community Development Agreement for Canal Side Project Makes Sense
by Andy Reynolds
Before the Canal Side Development Project is approved, it is critical for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) to ensure that the massive public investment in the project will be spent in a way that benefits the communities of Buffalo and the region.
The community-labor alliance that is the hallmark of the Partnership for Working Families network has a chance to earn real gains from what is happening in Wisconsin. The question is, what can we do with it?
From the beginning, our partners have played important roles in this effort.
Wisconsin's governor and the legislators who have led the charge to eliminate collective bargaining for public workers have had a consistent message: they are representing everyday people against the overwhelming and unjust might of the unions. It's a classic David v. Goliath narrative, and one that we progressives have seen time and again.
What's amazing about what's playing out here is that Wisconsin voters aren't buying it.
Instead, that David v. Goliath narrative has been flipped on its head.
As for so many Wisconsin households, the proposal to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees would have a direct and immediate negative impact on mine. For ten years my partner has worked for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, where she is a member of AFSCME Local 366. People may feel that they have some understanding of the risks and challenges of being a teacher, a police officer, even a county benefits specialist.
There was much hype in advance of the competing rallies in Madison today. As it happened, 70,000 people turned out - as they have day after day - to oppose the collective bargaining ban, while only about 3,000 tea party supports turned up.
Many of the tea partiers carried signs saying "Pay Your Fair Share," with the implication that public employees don't want to help fix our so-called budget woes.
It's been gratifying to see that people get the real issues here.
Less than three years ago, Pittsburgh UNITED was a small coalition of union, environmental, faith-based and community organizations committed to making change in low-income communities. Today we’re a formidable—and still growing—coalition responsible for winning the first-ever community benefits agreement (CBA) in the City of Pittsburgh, and passage of a law that requires developers who receive City subsidies to create decent, family-sustaining jobs.
Orange County’s history of laissez-faire, anti-immigrant extremism dates back to the 1960s, when groups like the John Birch Society and the Orange County School for Anti-Communism used what we would call community organizing techniques to build a grassroots conservative movement in our region. They held house meetings, gathered in church fellowship halls, and went door to door for Barry Goldwater in 1964. In the process, they launched the pro-business, conservative movement that eventually took over our county.
Beginning January 1st, 2010, California state environmental regulations went into effect requiring all truck drivers to meet new truck engine standards. There was an intervention at the Port of Oakland by Mayor Dellums, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Port to provide independent truck drivers with a little more time and funding to comply with the state regulations to clean up port trucks. These well-intentioned efforts demonstrate compassion for port truck drivers, as hundreds (if not a thousand) are likely to be out of work if they cannot afford to upgrade their trucks.
In the last several months, CASE has kicked off a pair of jobs campaigns in the city of Phoenix. The more advanced of those campaigns surrounds the job security of between 700 and 1,000 workers in food service, parking, and ground transportation at Sky Harbor Airport. Represented by our partner unions UNITE HERE! Local 631 and UFCW Local 99, those workers have struggled for years to raise the quality of their jobs—winning improvements in wages and health insurance, along with health and safety measures like floor mats for workers who stand on concrete for eight hours a day, forty hours a week. In doing so, those workers have raised the floor for all of the approximately 4,000 terminal service workers at the airport.