Public employee union members want to halt the assault on their jobs and benefits
By Brenda Barros, Riva Enteen, Joe Jacskon, Renee Saucedo, Dave Welsh, David H. Williams and Claire Zvanski
OPINION The Guardian started out right on Proposition C and D:
"Our initial instinct was to oppose both of these measures... There's a basic unfairness about all of this that bothers us ... city workers are being asked to give up part of their pay — but the wealthiest individuals and big corporations in San Francisco are giving up nothing. It's part of the national trend — the poor and middle class are shouldering the entire burden of the economic crisis, and the rich aren't suffering a bit."
It's too bad that the Guardian editors didn't stick to their guns.
We all know why decent pensions and health care cost so much: corporate greed. And the identity of the corporate criminals who are driving the economy into the ground is no secret. It's the Wall Street banks and financial speculators. It's Bank of America and Wells Fargo. It's the corporate CEOs. It's the insurance companies.
All workers, whether they work for the city or not, have a right to affordable medical care and a decent retirement.
Take Ethel, who retired 10 years ago after working for the city for more than 20 years and collects a pension of only $17,000 a year. Both Prop C and Prop D would take money out of her check. Some city workers qualify for section 8 housing — Prop C and D would take money out of their paychecks too.
None of this is rocket science. But the corporate media pounds away daily at public employees and ignores the shenanigans of their buddies in the corporate boardrooms. And far too many fall for this bait and switch, or are just too confused to stand up and fight back.
Now, with Propositions C and D, the downtown bigwigs and their lapdog politicians are taking advantage of this confusion to sock it to the victims, and make workers pay for the party the rich have been having at our expense.
Unfortunately, there are those among us who think we should concede many of our hard-fought rights in order to appear reasonable and fend off future attacks.
Making these kinds of concessions is like putting a little blood in the water, and hoping that the corporate sharks will be satisfied. But the reality is that when sharks taste blood, they just get hungry for more.
The editors of the San Francisco Chronicle, the mouthpiece for Wall Street and its minions, said pretty much the same thing in a recent editorial:
"San Franciscans should have no illusions," wrote the Chronicle editors. "Props C and D offer only modest down payments on the reforms [sic] that must be pursued... The very fact that business and labor leaders are supporting Prop C... sets the stage for... further reforms [sic] that will almost certainly be needed..."
Of course the "reforms" that the Chronicle is demanding are just more attacks on workers' rights. That's why many political leaders, including former Supervisor Chris Daly and Ted Gullicksen of the Tenants Union -- opposed both Propositions C and D.
Enough is enough. Let's take heart from the Occupy Wall Street movement. After decades of Reaganomics, Bushonomics, and Democratonomics, it is high time to draw the line, stand up to Wall Street, and fight back.
Join former Supervisor Chris Daly and Tenant's Union leader Ted Gullicksen, and: Vote NO on C! Vote NO on D! Tax the Rich!
Brenda Barros is vice-chair, Social Economic Committee, SEIU 1021. Riva Enteen is a member of SEIU 1021. Joe Jackson is co-chair of the S.F. African American Employee Association. Renee Saucedo is a member of SEIU 1021. Dave Welsh is a delegate to the S.F. Labor Council. David H. Williams and Claire Zvanski are retiree members of SEIU 1021.