Friday, February 25, 2011

2011-02-24 "Wisconsin Solidarity Rally in Oakland, CA: A video love letter"
Length: 3:30
With less than 24 hours notice, union members in the Bay Area called a rally in front of the state building in downtown Oakland to express their solidarity with workers fighting for their rights in Madison, Wisconsin. This one was for people who couldn't make it up to Sacramento, where a larger California solidarity rally had been scheduled at the same time. 300 showed up in Oakland for a spirited outpouring of feeling; speakers and interviewees include members of a dozen unions.

2011-02-24 "Green Party of California supports public worker protests in Wisconsin, California and other states; Greens urge more 'pushing back' to preserve workers' rights"
SACRAMENTO – In response to the Wisconsin protests – and sympathetic actions in California and other states by public employees this week to preserve their rights to collective bargaining – the Green Party of California affirmed its support for unionized public workers across California and nation.
The Green Party said it urges more protests against corporate-influenced attacks to reduce benefits and even eliminate collective bargaining – as suggested in recent legislation introduced in the California State Legislature, and threatened by anti-union forces by way of a California state initiative to end public union collective bargaining rights and other benefits.
"At long last, Americans are pushing back against the rule of our country by corporate oligarchies. We've been inspired by the courage of people in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, and now by public employees in Wisconsin," said Laura Wells, 2010 Green Party candidate for Governor of California
"This is more than a struggle to preserve benefits and collective bargaining rights in a single state. It's about saving the infrastructure of our democracy and preventing the U.S. from lapsing into a new Robber Baron Era reminiscent of the late 19th century.
"We hope that the fire of protest spreads to every state where such budgets are proposed, whether by Democrats in California or Republicans in Wisconsin. It’s a thrill to see working people take back their rights, their freedoms and their financial security," she said.
Noting that many public workers have forgone pay increases for years and experienced furloughs and benefit cuts, the Green Party of California praised the unions who have already agreed to concessions to help during the budget crisis. Republicans, and some Democrats, are simply using the crisis to break the unions, Greens said.
The GPCA also noted it has had a long-standing platform plank that supports the "fundamental" right to belong to an independent, democratic, member-run, labor union and that the widespread existence of such unions is vital to ensure a more democratic and just society.
Green Party of California
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Contact: Laura Wells 510.504.42
Derek Iverson 323.481.8984
Cres Vellucci 916.996.9170

2011-02-24 "IVAW stands in Solidarity with Public Employee Unions; We Are Public Employees Too!"
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) calls on all U.S. military service members to refuse and resist any mobilization against workers organizing to protect their basic rights. IVAW stands in solidarity with the multitude gathered in Madison, Wisconsin and many other cities to defend their unions.
We believe military service members are public employees too. It is dishonorable to suggest that military personnel should be deployed against teachers, health care providers, firefighters, police officers, and other government employees, many of whom are themselves serving in the National Guard.
Workers with prior military service often seek jobs in the public sector because government agencies are the only employers that follow hiring preferences for veterans as a matter of law. According to the Army Times, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed at a rate of 15.2%, higher than the national average. The picture is even worse for African American veterans who face nearly double the rate of unemployment. Protecting the rights of workers in public sector unions ensures that veterans have a chance to secure a decent job, earning a living wage and good benefits.
Madison, WI is ground zero for a fight that will likely define the relationship between public sector unions and the governments that employ them for decades to come. Similar to the federal government's defeat of the 1980 Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike, which signaled the beginning of a thirty-year decline of real wages, benefits, and union membership for private sector workers. What happens in Madison today is likely to affect whether governments across the country can destroy a decent standard of living for public sector workers in the future.
Governor Scott Walker recently stated that he was preparing the National Guard to respond to “labor unrest” following the introduction of union-busting legislation in Wisconsin. Governor Walker has attempted to justify this attack on collective bargaining by pointing to state budget shortfalls. Missing from this explanation is an acknowledgment that these deficits have been created and exacerbated by the ongoing trillion dollar wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, federal and local governments across the U.S. are cutting back on the public sector.
Troops have been called out in the past against worker strikes, campus protests, and urban uprisings. However, recent events in Egypt and numerous examples from U.S. history have shown that service members have the power to side with the people and refuse to use violence against their fellow citizens. Troops activated for duty in Madison, WI will have to decide if public sector workers are really the enemy. IVAW says they are not and that troops should support workers fighting for decent jobs, wages, and benefits.
We know firsthand that the U.S. military is already overextended from a decade at war. Through our Operation Recovery campaign, we have been fighting for the right of our troops to heal, rather than being involuntarily redeployed with severe physical and psychological injuries. Adding another mission to an already overburdened military for the purposes of suppressing the rights of workers is irresponsible and not worthy of our service.

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