Resolution on Wisconsin and the Fight Against Union-Busting and For No Concessions For Workers
|Resolution on Wisconsin and the Fight Against
Union-Busting and For No Concessions For Workers
(adopted unanimously by the Delegates' Meeting of the San Francisco Labor Council on Monday, February 28, 2011)
- Hundreds of thousands of union members in Wisconsin and across the country have mobilized to kill Governor Scott Walker's "Budget Repair Bill," which, in the name of balancing the state budget and erasing a $3.6 billion deficit that public-sector workers did not create, would effectively destroy public sector unions in Wisconsin and gut the benefits of 200,000 Wisconsin public sector employees while increasing their health-care costs.
- Statistics show that state employees on average earn less than those in the private sector with comparable education and experience, and that they have often taken modest or no wage increases to continue to build retirement security for themselves and their families.
- Similar bills are being proposed in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states -- all with the aim of dismantling public sector workers' collective-bargaining rights, busting their unions, privatizing public services, and imposing massive cuts and concessions in terms of jobs, wages and benefits.
- All these bills are seeking to blame and punish working people for budget crises that originated not from workers -- both union and non-union -- but from corporate greed: As USW President Leo Gerard told a Rally for Wisconsin at the union's headquarters in Pittsburgh on Feb. 24, "The people who do the work are not the problem. The problem is the political system that has given tax breaks to the rich and the ultra-rich. The pension mess in America wasn't caused by workers having gold-plated pensions. It was caused by Wall Street taking the gold out of our pensions."
- The total states' budget deficits, estimated at $124 billion, are rising because of the lack of jobs, leading to major tax revenue falloff, and because of huge tax breaks for the wealthy and loopholes for the corporations.
- Unionists and their community allies are marching in Wisconsin and throughout the nation to demand an end to union-busting and the budget cuts, following the lead of the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin and of National Nurses United Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro, who, in a recent article in the Huffington Post, wrote, "Working people did not create the recession or the budgetary crisis facing federal, state and local governments -- and there can be NO more concessions, period."
- The Obama administration is proposing $1.1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years -- cuts that are further crippling cash-strapped states and dismantling countless programs that provide assistance to low-income people.
- On Feb. 2, 2011, the AFL-CIO reported that there are now 27 million people in this country who are unemployed or in need of full-time work (in Wisconsin alone 55,000 factories have been closed over the past 10 years);
- AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in his address at the National Press Club on Jan. 19, 2011, affirmed that, "[w]e have a jobs crisis which after three years is still raging, squeezing families, devastating our poorest communities and stunting the futures of young adults. Yet politicians of both parties tell us that we can -- and should -- do nothing."
- The AFL-CIO has gone on record demanding that the federal government create millions of jobs by taxing Wall Street, and demanding that there be no cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while arguing that the best way to fight the deficit is to create jobs.
- Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars together have cost $1.05 trillion and with projected future costs, the total will exceed $5 trillion, and what the United States will spend in 2011 on Afghanistan alone would cover all of the state budget deficits combined, with money left over for other needs.
- Wall Street and the corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in federal bailout funds, refusing to invest them to create jobs in the United States as they seek more profitable investments in offshore and other speculative ventures.
- The Federal Reserve reported in August 2010 that it had loaned $9 trillion to financial institutions in the bailouts since 2008. This includes loans to all kinds of financial institutions, not just banks, but insurance companies, mutual funds, investment banks, and finance companies. Also on the list were failing foreign banks.
- There is plenty of funding available if we change our priorities.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT,
- The San Francisco Labor Council supports the struggle waged by labor and its allies in Wisconsin against the union-busting and the budget cuts, and urges the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to get behind the call issued by NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro to mobilize against any and all concessions in every state across the country.
- The San Francisco Labor Council calls on the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to organize massive demonstrations in major cities across the country to demand that the federal government bail out the cash-strapped states through one or more of the following: a national mass public works program to put 27 million people back to work now; taxing Wall Street and raising taxes on the rich and on corporations; a major and systematic reduction in the Pentagon budget, with funds redirected to create jobs and meet human needs; and/or the repossession of improperly used federal bailout funds that are sitting idly in the Wall Street coffers.
- The San Francisco Labor Council -- given the immediacy of the crisis facing the states across the country -- calls on the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to demand that the federal government press the Federal Reserve to provide a $1 trillion "bridge loan" to the public pension funds that are in extreme stress and to launch an Emergency National Jobs Creation Program. If the Fed can loan $9 trillion to Wall Street and the banks, including foreign banks, that caused the recent financial meltdown, it can extend immediately a $1 trillion "bridge loan" to fund an historic jobs creation program and a public pension fund stress relief plan. This $1 trillion "bridge loan" would also not raise the U.S. budget deficit by a penny, as it would be used to jump-start the economy and would be repaid once the new tax revenue inflows come in.
- The San Francisco Labor Council will send this resolution for concurrence to the California Labor Federation and to the national AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.
Resolution respectfully submitted by:
- Alan Benjamin (OPEIU Local 3)
- Conny Ford (OPEIU Local 3)
- Denis Mosgofian, (GCC Local 4N, IBT)
- Ann Robertson (California Faculty Association)
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