Monday, February 10, 2014

Don't Take Unions for Granted

Union members within California state government to include those in counties, cities, and union school teachers, medical, all firefighters and law enforcement must not ever take their unions and benefits for granted. Your worst enemy, besides all the GOP union busters, is apathy and not knowing your union/labor history. I have been working with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection union members who do not support their own union. In fact, I cannot even get a retired or working rep to come to our Local Labor Council meetings once a month, nor, for that matter, any city union members, and some of the county members periodically at best. This apathy demonstrates that these workers are oblivious to how they came to earn their benefits and think the benefits would remain if the union was disbanded. This ignorance is astounding. Yes, California at this time is mostly Democratic and still has lots of unions, but the members are not involved in keeping their unions strong by signing up new members and keeping their members educated on the need for unions and labor history in California. This history shows California used to vilify labor by brutalizing farm workers and the growers never hesitated to use law and the Official Vigilante Violence to retain control of the workers. There is an intense dislike of unionism rooted in southern California history. You know where most of the votes are that can change all laws at once. There has been violence, such as the riot in Wheatland in August of 1913. Three thousand men, women and children answered a false advertisement for work, but were attacked by law enforcement, instead. International Workers of the World (IWW) members Blackie Ford and Herman Shur were railroaded and sent to prison for life. As a California newspaper opined of the IWW, “… hanging is much too good for them. They are the waste material of creation and should be drained off in to the sewer of oblivion. There to rot n cold obstruction like any other excrement.” The Ku Klux Klan tactics also used against workers, this fight is still being fought. Before World War II, California was a very anti-union state, except in the north where there was some support of the IWW, but elsewhere it was total anti-union towns, like Delano, Sacramento, San Diego, L.A., San Francisco, Ventura, Oxnard, Bakersfield and Stockton. But, the wage slaves slowly changed the state to a Democrat union state. Today, the manufacturing and construction workers are losing ground while the farm workers are still fighting and slowly gaining footing. The government unions are still on safe grounds, but are starting to slip on pensions and other benefits. Some are giving up on their unions, thinking they can get ahead without the union representation. The unions must keep rebuilding and educating their members and keep working on public support. Just take a look at how well Wisconsin’s unions have suffered under its union busting governor. If you piss off the tax payers they will make you pay at the voting booth.