Editor's Note: The following article was submitted to Patch by Shelley Kessler of the San Mateo Labor Council. The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Patch. To submit an article for publication, please e-mail the editor in the top left corner of the corresponding site.
It’s Labor Day [weekend] and, at least for the day, Labors’ concerns, issues and views 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 area 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 healthcare, 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 and 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 by 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 to defeat these attacks! VOTE NO ON PROP 32.
On Labor Day we recognize the women and men who do the work that keeps America strong. Whether we’re employed or looking for work, we are the heartbeat of this great country, so we are reclaiming Labor Day as a day to honor people who work. No matter what we do, our work makes the work of others possible. Work connects us all. And together, we are better.
For most of us, every day is Labor Day – a day to work, to earn enough to pay our bills and to contribute to the economic vitality of our community. In return we hope to enjoy basic rights—the right to full employment, the right to organize or join a union to have a voice at work, the right to full participation in the electoral process, a quality education and a secure and healthy future.
The road to shared prosperity is building a high-wage economy with full employment, economic security and a restored democracy. Investments here at home create a virtuous cycle of good jobs, decent wages, consumer-driven growth, thriving businesses and communities, a promising future for our children and better lives for people around the world.
Our vision is of an America that honors and respects work and the people who do it. Not some of us but for ALL OF US!
We all have a lot at stake this November. We can save critical programs-health care for seniors, jobs for working families, tax cuts for those who need the most, cleaner water for our children - or we can be out-spent by billionaires who will transform America from the land of opportunity for all into a land of entitlement for the rich. They’re going to spend millions of dollars but each of us has the power to influence the people who matter most: your friends and family, the folks you talk to all the time. We don’t need media pundits to share our message when we have the power of real people behind us.
The presidential election is an opportunity to bring more fairness to our lives. Pursuing policies that enhance access to better jobs, health care, and education is within our reach if we are clear. We know what can be accomplished when we have common goals for a better future. Labor ended child labor and set the basis for public education. Labor created minimum wage standards and support a living wage. It is our efforts that created the criteria for health and safety on the job. Our collective action created the pensions that support us in our old age. The Family Medical Leave act came from our ranks. And that laws that should protect us, if enforced properly, came from our hard work with allies in our community and elected offices.
No doubt, these are scary times. Yet we have the opportunity to do something about them. So this Labor Day, take a stand! Be dedicated to making our ideals continue to come alive in our lifetime. We will prevail if we come together in a unified effort ~ not just this election, this Labor Day, but every day we rise to fulfill our dreams. We can do it! Si Se Puede!
In this year’s all-important elections, we must organize and come together to guarantee that our voices will always be heard.
San Mateo Labor Council
1153 Chess Dr., Suite 200
Foster City CA 94404