By Doug Porter
San Diego is one of seven cities selected by the national AFL-CIO for a long-term effort to concentrate political and economic actions aimed at making increasing the minimum wage an issue in the next presidential election.
The labor federation’s President Richard Trumka announced the nationwide campaign Wednesday during first National Summit on Raising Wages, held at Gallaudet University Washington, District of Columbia. More than 300 activists and labor leaders along with thousands of other people watching a live stream video also heard speeches by Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
The AFL-CIO effort will kick off with statewide Raising Wages Summits in 2015 in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, typically the first four presidential primary states.
Atlanta, Columbus, DC (Metro), St. Louis, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Diego have been named as cities where resources will be directed, aimed at building partnerships between labor organizations, local activist groups and faith-based organizations.
“We have worked out many preliminary plans with affiliates and partners and are eager to turn up the heat,” Trumka said.
In San Diego, where the local chamber of commerce funded a referendum with the strategic goal of delaying a city council approved increase in minimum wage/earned sick days, this should mean a leveling of the playing field. The chamber effort in 2014 was almost entirely funded by national corporate interests.
It’s reasonable to expect an editorial from the Daily Fishwrap in the near future decrying the ‘out of town union bullies and thugs’ oppressing the rights of the local plutocracy. Lord knows, maybe chamber CEO Jerry Sanders will have to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a week to prove how he’s suffering.
The Bigger Picture
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s barn-burning speech at the summit about the fallacies of trickle-down made headlines, and I’ve included a video of that speech below.
Trumka’s speech didn’t get much coverage (outside of the labor press) and it should have. It was gratifying to see him tie raising wages with other elements of injustice in this country.
There are many other elements of the Raising Wages agenda – quality public education, secure retirement, equal pay, and more. But I want to single out two subjects that we don’t automatically think about as work and wage issues: immigration and race.
Let me put it plainly: our Raising Wages campaign can only be complete when there is justice for America’s immigrants and people of color. We must have a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants, and we must be a country of dignity for all people, regardless of race or ethnicity. Justice at work and justice in our community are intertwined, and both must advance for either to grow.
The GOP National Committee is Coming to Town
The Republican National Committee is coming to town next week for their winter meeting. They’ll be hanging out at the Hotel del Coronado January 14-16. The agenda includes various committee meetings, banquets and a Friday night reception and buffet dinner on the USS Midway.
CNN has posted a story about Wisconsin Gov. Rick Walker attending the confab, mostly centered around his rumored interest in running for president in 2016.
And then there’s the question of Michigan’s Dave Agema.
From central Michigan’s Morning Sun:
Agema put the GOP in the news for all the wrong reasons after he recently posted an excerpt from a white supremacist magazine on his Facebook profile page.
“However, my experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people,” read Agema’s New Year’s Eve post on Facebook. “They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well.”
Since his election at the 2012 Michigan Republican State Convention to a four-year term on the Republican National Committee, essentially the party’s national board of directors, ex-state legislator Agema has repeatedly attacked gays, Muslims and now racial minorities.
“This continues a pattern of very disturbing conduct that doesn’t represent the views of Michigan Republicans I know,” said Paul Welday, a longtime GOP leader from Oakland County who sits on the Michigan Republican State Committee. “At what point is he no longer welcomed to the party?”
That’s a good question.
France: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
I continue to be disappointed in media coverage of the situation in France, where two gunmen are currently being sought for an attack on Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical newspaper. A dozen people were killed, including four prominent cartoonists and the newspaper’s editor.
I ask people to think back to the media coverage of last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. They made a LOT of mistakes.
There was CNN, desperate to be first in announcing an arrest, then clumsily backtracking. The AP did the same, as did the Boston Globe. The New York Post stubbornly kept exaggerating the death toll, long after confirmation to the contrary, and repeatedly identified the wrong guys as suspects. In social-media-land, a vigilante army witch-hunted the wrong people on Reddit and Twitter. Then there are the more right-wing outlets, with their increasingly rabid conspiracy theories that the real perpetrator is a Saudi or that the whole thing was a “false flag” attack, i.e., a put-up job by the US government.
And that’s just the big stuff. Anyone following along was subjected to a constant trickle of small errors and unverified information—and, in the best case, to endless repetition of the same paltry clutch of facts, padded out with vacuous blathering.
Getting back to the current tragedy, there are now serious questions about the so-called third member of the assault team. An 18 year old man turned himself in to police in Charleville-Mézières near the Belgian border after finding out he’d been ID’d as part of the group. If the young man’s classmates (and there are a lot of them) are to be believed, he was attending school at the time of the attack.
And that’s just a start.
I was joking today when I said @thehill and @FoxNews would blame Paris shootings on Obama…but they both did. Unreal.
— Jeff Gauvin (@JeffersonObama) January 8, 2015
There are the conservative pundits over at Fox who are desperate to further their own agendas. Here’s a sampling from Media Matters:
On the January 7 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, strategic analyst Ralph Peters cited the shooting to attack Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), invoking the recently released Senate Intelligence report on CIA interrogation techniques. Peters proclaimed that “these terrorists who did this monstrous attack in Parisare the people Senator Feinstein doesn’t even want to waterboard,” adding that the Obama administration is too “soft on radical Islam….”[Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/7/15]
On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested the fact that some in Paris’ police department “choose not evento carry a gun,” was partly responsible for the tragedy, saying “that thankfully is not the case in New York.” Network military analyst Tom McInerney countered by predicting that “communist mayor” de Blasio may eventually push to disarm police in New York City. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/7/15]
Fox Host Kennedy: “Best Thing That Americans Can Do Is Arm Themselves” To Fight Terrorists.Outnumbered hosts agreed that Americans “are being hunted” by terrorists, and network host Kennedy added that “I think the best thing that Americans can do is arm themselves.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/7/15]
I should also point out the incredible solidarity shown by the French people over the past 24 hours. Unlike our chicken-hawk media warriors, they have stayed focused on the victims and what they stood for.
Senator Barbara Boxer to Retire
I told ya so, exactly one month ago today.
Now I’ll tell you something else: I believe the most often mentioned candidates for Boxer’s seat, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, have already struck a deal as to who’s running for governor and who’s running for senate. Observers in Sacramento were surprised earlier this week when Harris arrived to swear in Newsom for another term.
On This Day: 1811– The largest slave revolt in U.S. history begans on Louisiana sugar plantations. Slaves armed with hand tools marched toward New Orleans, setting plantations and crops on fire, building their numbers to an estimated 300-500 as they went. The uprising lasted for two days before being brutally suppressed by the military. 1877 – Crazy Horse (Tashunca-uitco) and his warriors fought their final battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana. 1935 – Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.
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bob dorn says
Bill O’Reilly, on his Fox News show last night, called for “a coordinated effort of the nations of the world to fight the jihadists and to punish the the countries that enable them,” including Pakistan. He’s a chicken hawk. He was in college earning his bachelors degree or masters degree from 1968 until the end of the Vietnam War.
Nothing surprising. The most gung ho are the one who never experienced or went.
Robert Kastigar says
San Francisco recently passed an ordinance affecting scheduling of employees. Chicago passed a law controlling the minimum wage.
What the government passes they can change or diminish without any input from us. With a union, reductions in the terms and conditions of employment can only be changed BY MUTUAL AGREEMENT after bargaining.
Yes, this sounds good now and the workers benefit – now. The output of the next election may take away all of that, without any choice being made by the employees. Only the terms and conditions of a contract bargaining agreement can be changed by the acceptance of the new terms and conditions by the employees.
But passing this kind of law now diminishes the importance of union. No union, no protection from agreeable change.
Of course all the union managers and administrators (not real union leaders) like this: they can claim “Look what we got for you” so they can get elected again and again. And we who work for a living will keep accepting this until our strength fades away and we realize we have to go back to getting it all over again.
Repeal the Taft-Hartley Law and pass the Employee Free Choice Act. That’s real labor law.
Why does labor support these laws that actually diminish the importance and value of labor unions? Why pay union dues when you can get benefits from the government?
IBEW Local 1220, Chicago