Going all-out in November in fight for our future

Secretary-Treasurer's Report - Spring-Summer 2012

What type of future do you want— for yourself, and for your children and grandchildren? Is it important to have a strong union to back you up? Is having fair wages, health care, and a retirement fund valuable? If you care about any of these things, imagine your future without them.

Today, the right wing, through corporations with unlimited spending power, is intent on destroying your right, as a union worker, to have any say in what happens in the political world. Once that happens, you’ll have far fewer rights where you work.

As always, California is the testing ground for right wing ideas on how to undermine your rights as a worker. In November, we’ll be voting on a ballot proposition known as the Corporate Deception Power Grab. While proposition proponents say it’s about taking special interests out of politics, it’s real goal is to take away your right to contribute to candidates of your choice through payroll deduction. Corporations will still be allowed to contribute unlimited amounts of money to Super PACs.

If this deceitful initiative passes, it will signal the end of labor laws and worker rights as we know them. Kiss off overtime after eight hours; kiss off workers’ compensation laws that protect you; kiss off your right to collectively bargain, or have a pension, or provide decent healthcare for your family. Over time, all of the benefits that we take for granted will be gone if we allow this proposition to pass. We need to fight back!

Local 853 does not take well to being bullied or run over by our employers or by those who have more money than us. We have a long and well-deserved reputation for fighting back. So how do we fight back against these bullies and corporate interests?

Voter Registration Drive

Our Local, through your Business Agents and Shop Stewards, has launched a voter registration program. Right now, just less than half of the members of Local 853 are registered voters. We need to increase this percentage to at least 75%.

To this end, we are asking every member to register to vote (even if you think you’re already registered) and complete a mail ballot Request form. The small task of registering and voting will go a long way toward maintaining our ability to have a voice in the governmental agencies that impact us and to have a contract that protects you on the job. We also ask that you make sure everyone in your household is registered to vote.

We cannot compete with the amount of money big corporations contribute to candidates and causes that undermine workers. But, we have people power. We just need to use it—and that means voting. This upcoming election is very important to the future of all working people, and we all have to do our part.

Elite Task Force fights for members

Local 853’s Elite Task Force has held several successful actions confronting employers who refuse to negotiate in good faith.

We have recently begun a campaign of leafletting restaurants to inform them and their customers about how badly Sysco Foods treats its workers in Modesto and Fresno who are simply trying to gain the advantages of union representation. The company has lied, cheated, violated the law, fired, threatened and coerced workers, all to keep them from gaining the rights to which they are entitled.

We will continue this fight until we bring justice to these workers and make sure that all of our employers understand that we will not put up with this type of treatment.