This week workers are descending on Sacramento to protest the Republican legislators’ unbelievable ability to do nothing to about our state budget. Led by the California Teachers Association, workers will be joined by teachers, students, parents and other public workers to demand that schools and vital services be funded.
Here in San Francisco we will be mounting a day of action on Friday, May 13th at 4pm at Civic Center Plaza (across from City Hall) to support the actions in Sacramento. See the flier (and all other notices) on the Labor Council’s website. In addition to the rally we will also have tables set up where we can call fellow union members in targeted Republican Assembly and Senate districts and ask them to urge their representatives to vote for a fair budget that doesn’t target schools and other vital services. We want this to be as large as our April 4th march through the Financial District. Similar events will be taking place in San Diego, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. Please turn out your co-workers, fellow union members, neighbors and family members to support California, public education, and worker rights.
Also, for Labor Council delegates, mark your calendars for Monday, May 16th, when we will be holding a Mayoral Forum with a select panel of leading candidates. This event will take place from 6-8pm at the Plumbers Hall and will be for our delegates and affiliate leaders. This Forum should be the perfect educational setting to hear the ideas these candidates have regarding the future of San Francisco. Many of the candidates have been previously endorsed by us for other offices so this November’s election might be quite a show. Note: We will not be endorsing at this Forum.
Speaking of education, I had the opportunity during my vacation in Vietnam last month to meet with my good friend, Kent Wong, from the UCLA Labor Studies Department. Kent arrived in Hanoi the same night I arrived, along with Elaine Bernard, Chair of the Harvard Trade Union Program; Abel Valenzuela Jr., Chair of the UCLA Cesar Chavez Chicano Studies Department; and Greg Mantsios, Director of the Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies at The City University of New York. We were picked up by leaders from the national Vietnamese General Federation of Trade Unions whom I had visited with Kent three years previously. The San Francisco and Alameda Labor Councils and the Asian Pacific American Labor Association have twice hosted leaders from the VGTU for labor exchanges as well. Kent had organized this conference with American and Vietnamese labor scholars to exchange ideas regarding organizing policy, the role of labor education and labor law between the two countries—one country controlled by capital and the other gradually allowing corporations to “invest” in its economy. They invited me to participate before I continued my vacation.
I was feeling guilty about taking a vacation while thousands were marching in Madison to protect collective bargaining—but at least I would spend the first two days of my vacation talking to those in Vietnam who were discussing how collective bargaining and union recognition needs to more thoroughly integrated into government economic policy. Vietnam is still an agricultural society, a developing nation, and during my previous trip I heard much about how Vietnam learned from the debacle of the collapse of the Soviet Union where workers were thrown under the bus. But this was a vacation and I spent the next two weeks wandering throughout the north in Hanoi, Hue, Danang, and Hoi An, and Ha Long Bay, as a traveler, not at work, and had a chance to relax and get refreshed for the battles ahead in San Francisco and the United States when I got back. (One focus was to set up this blog.)
Two other notes:
- Buy tickets to our June 9th Committee on Political Education fundraiser at the San Francisco Hilton where United-HERE Local 2 just settled their contract. Contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve tickets and program ads. We are honoring Assemblymember Fiona Ma for her 100% labor voting record in 2010, as well as acknowledging some of the many affiliate unions who did extraordinary turnout for last November’s election. Please put this event on your calendar. We will need resources for THIS November!
- We begin this week with the SF Giants sweeping the Colorado Rockies at beautiful AT&T Park. Sweet.