Sunday, April 10, 2011

From the Chamber of Commerce to Social Security

Chamber owes us:
In Jim Zauher’s business column, the Aril 3 Record Searchlight, he writes that business is an ally not a foe of the unions, and this is as it should be. However, Zauher missed an important point and that is: the business/customer relationship is not a one sided affair. Without the workers and customers to buy the product the business wouldn’t exist. If not for the people with money to spend where would the business be, especially in Shasta County and its cities: Redding, Anderson, and Shasta Lake City.

Just about every business belongs to and pays dues for membership to the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has historically been the largest foe of the unions and even nonunion working people, but especially union workers, which have good wages, pensions and health insurance (why haven’t we heard from the doctors who benefit from the union workers’ health insurances?).

It just baffles me why businesses are not showing up at the Redding’s city hall and helping people who they depend on as customers. Why do we spend our money supporting businesses when the owners turn around and spend this money to encourage policies, regulations or laws that go against working families?

We do know that what’s happening in Wisconsin and Ohio and the other 12 states is all about union busting -- and the unions are using union dues to protect the workers and their families. The little dab of union money is the last bastion of deviance against the people who are determined to take away our rights. This is a matter of we, the working people, support you so you, the business, should support us. Now if the businesses do not understand that it is our money that supports them, then maybe we should start shopping elsewhere.

Charter quest:
Redding’s quest for a charter city continues and no one is safe. Lately Redding City Council has been looking to privatizing its departments. This again is a union busting measure. The city is looking to privatize its water treatment plants, manage its information technology and tun its building and planning departments. The council has already looked at its electrical department, parks maintenance and fire department. Privatizing will lead to minimum wage jobs, which won’t help our local businesses and government dig out of this recession.

The Onslaught is here:
All workers, union and not, should know, if paying attention, that the onslaught is upon us. Let’s start with examples of small government agencies to larger ones: Special districts (such as water/sewage or fire), cities (electricity or trash collection), counties (district attorney or social services), state (highway patrol or Caltrans), and federal (Social Security or Medicare).

These workers might think that they are safe, but they should think again, because it just takes one election to change things, as Wisconsin and the 13 states are experiencing. We’re on a very steep peak, going down fast on one side and at the same time we’re trying to claw our way up on the other side. The corporations have the money, the judges (also Supreme Court) and the Congress and most of the states on their side.

We can wait and let the GOP and its backers (corporations) pick us off one-by-one or start talking to each other so we can plan together. The other day Redding Social Security employees, facing a 23-day furlough, had a march in front of the Social Security building. I did not see any state, county, city workers or labor union employees there to support their fellow union workers. Countless cars with disability stickers drove by and the drivers stared straight ahead, ignoring the fact that others were trying to save their benefits.

I understand that many people working could not attend, but what about those of us who are retired union workers. We could take up the cause of those working to let employers know that employees have support in numbers. We, both union workers and retired, attended, carried signs, got exercise and ate cookies.

Let us know when the next rally/march/protest is, we’ll be there!