AFSCME activists met in Miami this spring to share the knowledge they’ve gained fighting privatization.
Council 79 members, including Pres. Jeanette Wynn and members from 24 locals, participated in the Push Back Summit to Save South Florida. The event launched a joint effort by AFSCME and Council 79 to increase membership in South Florida and protect public services.
Outsourcing, in which private companies get paid tax dollars to provide services, is a grave threat to Florida. AFSCME Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders briefed the activists on similar battles across the country.
“Corporate-backed, corporate-hacked politicians like Rick Scott are going to take the microphone and say that privatization will save us money,” Saunders said. “That’s a lie, plain and simple.”
Participants left with kits that included a list of warning signs that public officials are considering privatization; sample leaflets for the community; tough questions to ask city councils about privatization; sample contract language and other tools for pushing back. Sixty participants committed to march on April 28 with Local 199 to call attention to the dangers of privatization.
Note:Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders with Janice Coakley, president of Local 3293 (North Miami Beach). (Photo by Gaston De Cardenas)
In the United States, worker rights and civil rights have a deep and historic connection. What is slavery, after all, if not the abuse of worker rights taken to its ultimate extreme? A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, recognized this link and, as early as the 1920s, spoke passionately about the need for a black-labor alliance. Civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, Randolph’s protégé and an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr., joined his mentor as a forceful, early advocate for a black-labor coalition.
The very title of the famous 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” conceived by Randolph and organized by Rustin, reflected their black-labor perspective. Two years later, they founded the A. Philip Randolph Institute, to solidify the black-labor alliance.
With prodding from Randolph, the AFL-CIO came to recognize the deep connection between labor rights and civil rights. The civil rights movement has moved similarly, acknowledging organized labor as by far its strongest ally. In 1961, King spoke to this, declaring that “Negroes are almost entirely a working people. Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, quality education and healthcare. That is why blacks support labor’s demands and fight laws that curb labor.”
Union Plus is brought to you by Union Privilege, established by the AFL-CIO to provide consumer........
Years into the recession, millions of America’s workers remain unemployed or underemployed.
The average CEO pay of companies in the S&P 500 Index rose to $12.94 million in 2011. Overall....