Sunday, March 27, 2011

Redding Public Union Workers

Redding public union workers are under fire and so are other city workers in the state. Costa Mesa just laid off 213 city employees and outsourced 18 city services; among them firefighters. One city worker who received a pink slip jumped to his death from the civic center in Costa Mesa, Friday, March 18, 2011. This is one cost of outsourcing.

Some people in Redding now want a charter city, which will give the city a way to get rid of union workers rights and Project Labor Agreements. This will also give the cities the way to stop paying prevailing wages, which was established under the Davis-Bacon Act (both of whom were Republicans).

The relentless attacks on workers is not going to stop until we are all aware to what is happening and start fighting back. There are many peaceful ways to do this, such as the way we vote. We only have to look at the history of labor to see how our union forefathers and mothers gained the rights that are now under attack.

In Record Searchlight’s Marc Beauchamp’s column of Saturday, March 26, 2011, he wrote of memories of Redding in the 1950s and ‘60s when there was less of a gulf between the have and have-nots. He pondered what Redding’s future holds for its citizens.

If the city and county had more money to pay for services, for example: firefighter, law enforcement, maintenance of infrastructure; would this help? So how do they get the money? One way would be to keep or have some of the profits remain within the city or county from the financial incentives and tax breaks given to the big out-of-town box stores. These incentives are ultimately paid for by us, the tax payers. One way to keep more of the profits here instead of going out of state is to give the box stores’ employees at least a dollar an hour raise, which still would not bring most of them up to a living wage.

The pay raises will stay within the city and county as the employees are more likely to spend this money within the city and county where they live. This may help our local small businesses if people have more discretionary funds to spend.

In simple math, let’s say, we have 2,000 employees making an additional dollar an hour, which is $320,000 a month pumped into our local economy. By the way, corporations have made huge profits this year despite the financial stress the rest of us have had to deal with.

So to paraphrase President Roosevelt, we have to make them pay it.

Next, I'll discuss the strategy and tactics of the GOP's anti-union attack and how to counter it.