Union Rights Are Civil Rights

MLK-right-to-work

by Sean Raycraft

It began several years ago, on a balmy November afternoon, while eating lunch with some of my closest friends. We discussed the high cost of living here in Davis, and the surprising efforts of one small city in Washington to raise the minimum wage for airport workers to an actual living wage. We asked ourselves how amazing it would be if we could do something like that in town. None of us had experience doing anything political. A shop steward, a student, unemployed lawyer, and a stage hand. After that I became more than a shop steward. I became an advocate for the disenfranchised—for all working people who are struggling to make it, and feel like they have no voice. I have marched, organized letter writing campaigns and fast food worker strikes, demonstrated in civil disobedience twice, participated in panels, and have spoken at public events.

Activists and advocates like myself have helped to win paid sick days for all California workers, helped to win a statewide $15 minimum wage, and expanded paid family leave. We do not do this work because we seek recognition. We do this work because we believe our cause is just. When a friend of mine made a late night call informing me that I had been nominated for the Thong Hy Huynh Award for Civil Rights, I was stunned. It is true that I have worked tirelessly for several years advocating for low wage workers and their rights to form unions, but never did I think, or expect, that I would be publicly recognized for my efforts. After a few moments of disbelief and a few more of reflection, I concluded the City of Davis Human Relations Commission knows what Martin Luther King Jr knew and fought for. Union rights are civil rights. Dr. King was assassinated organizing and supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Those workers lived in poverty, and King knew that through the power of unions and collective bargaining they could live better lives.

In Dr. King’s famous “Three evils speech”, he discusses the evils of militarism, racism, and economic exploitation. The Fight for 15 movement addresses two of these great evils. If you ever have the chance to participate in a Fight for 15 rally or march, then you will see [ or maybe witness for yourself] that this is not just about the minimum wage. You will see Black Lives Matter organizers speaking out against racial injustice. You will see Dreamers, an Immigrant advocacy group, speak out against the fear caused by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You will hear undocumented workers speak out about being management’s threats to call ICE if they go on strike, report wage theft, or even speak to reporters. You will see fast food workers speaking out about sexual harassment, wage theft, and the need for a union contract. Without a strong union, these abuses are not reportable, and laws are not enforceable. I am proud to be a part of this movement.

I am honored to accept this prestigious award, and I thank the City of Davis, the Human Relations Commission, and Gloria Partida. In many ways, this award also belongs to the broader Fight for 15 movement. I feel compelled to state there are many other community activists who deserve this award just as much or more than I do. Brandon Buchanan and Kyla Burke have been extraordinary in their efforts, speaking out for marginalized communities on campus. Their work combating ignorance, intolerance, racism, worker’s rights, transphobia and a better UC should not go unrecognized. The challenges they face are greater, and the potential consequences for their advocacy are dire. I have only had to deal with being called names, receiving strange looks from the conservative crowd, occasionally harassed online, and I have experienced my own frustration at the lack of progress. In contrast, Kyla and Brandon face threats of violence, loss of academic scholarships, racist, sexist and transphobic insults on a regular basis. It is my hope that this small gesture on my part will give them a fraction of the recognition that they and their movement deserve.

Activism and advocacy produce their own rewards. The last few years have been the most meaningful and fulfilling of my life. I would encourage everyone who reads this to get involved in advocacy of some kind. You and your community will be better off for it. I will continue to advocate for worker’s rights, union rights and civil rights until we live in a more just and equitable society where everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live in peace, with dignity.

Sean Raycraft is a lifelong Davis resident, who works at a grocery store in south Davis where he proudly serves as a shop steward.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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68 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    I will continue to advocate for worker’s rights, union rights and civil rights until we live in a more just and equitable society where everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live in peace, with dignity.”

    My thanks to Sean for the article and for all of his time and hard work as well as to all of the others who advocate for causes they see as just with no anticipation of any personal gain, and at considerable personal risk. Your efforts make us a stronger, more humane society and for that you have my admiration.

     

    1. Justice4All

      Thanks for your kind words Tia. I never expected recognition for the work that I do. Knowing that I can make a positive difference in the lives of people is more than enough. I felt it was important to acknowledge the efforts of some of the other organizers in our community who are doing a lot of really good civil rights work at great risk to themselves.

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      Do you believe that “Fight for 15” is the cause of increased use of robots ? Do you believe that companies will not be moving in this direction regardless of whether or not anyone is promoting and increased minimum wage if the owners believe that they will increase their bottom line through the use of automation ?

      I would once again propose that we consider a system such as a UBI where everyone is guaranteed a standard of living above the poverty level thus elimination  the need for any “fighting” in the economic sphere.

        1. Barack Palin

          Don’t you think companies know that and have figured out that the upfront costs of going tech will far outweigh the costs of paying having to pay low skilled and entry level workers a skilled wage?

  2. Marina Kalugin

    Congratulations Sean on your award …I understand I am a few years late to congratulate you.

    As someone who marched with my black friends back in the 60s and who was devastated when MLK was assassinated, I am quite interested in reading about your life and work…

    It also is fascinating to me what you are doing as your chosen career….knowing your parents as well as I had some decades ago, I am curious what their thoughts are related to your chosen activism.

    Of course, though I still live in the same house as when you and my son were in scouts together, oddly I have not seem them around nor you either…  Or perhaps, I wouldn’t even recognize you…

    I hope you are enjoying your day.

    Marina

     

     

     

     

    1. Justice4All

      Marina- My parents think Im nuts. They certainly do not share my politics. There have been many contentious thanksgiving dinners, and heated exchanges over the world view I have come to adopt, and the advocacy I have chosen to engage in. With that said, I think they understand it to some degree, and even mom has come around to agreeing with some of the policy positions. She didnt know for example that there were jobs where people did not have paid sick days in industries like food service. No one wants sick people handling their food. They still live down the street, in the same house. Mom and Dad are both retired.

      If you would like to get tea sometime, I would be happy to buy, and catch up. I love to hear stories about the 60’s generation and their activism. I find it empowering and inspiring.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        Looking forward to it, Sean.

        And, I always thought the world of your folks also…

        Fortunately,  my dad thought I was doing things for the Correct reasons, although we often didn’t see eye to eye on some topics.

        And, fortunately for me, my mother was obsessed with my sickly brother, so she had NO idea what I was up to…

        In my decades I have been on ALL sides of EVERY topic and what I have learned is that it is NEVER black and white and that things are often much more gray…

        And, also FOLLOW the money….in some cases it is UNION money and the UAW and Teamsters getting THEIR way…THAT, my friend is the assessment of some of the things that have gone on on campus in recent years…

        But, that is still ONLY the tip of the iceberg…

        What goes around comes around and Karma can be a bitch for some…

        History continues to repeat itself, as people forget the lessons of prior generations…

        Some of what I share here and on the other threads where people are also questioning my sanity is due to having been there and done that…and so much more…

        Enjoy this lovely day….and let’s catch up sometime…

        Marina

         

  3. hpierce

    Someone has opined that a “shop steward” is fully altruistic, and facing personal risk…

    I call BS… unless, the union doesn’t give a stipend or other tangible ‘reward’ to someone serving as shop steward… and beyond that, a shop steward, working for the same company of those other union members, will (unless they exempt themselves) in fact, benefit from wage, benefit, etc. concessions.

    Personal risk?  If anything under CA law, a shop steward/union leader is BETTER protected against employer ‘retaliation’ than those they serve.  Or, are you talking ‘physical risk’?  The history of many unions show that shop stewards are promoted, for no other reason than co-opting them.

    What portion of the employees’ salaries goes to union dues?  If there was no union tomorrow, their take-home wages would go up!

    Dad sought employment in the aircraft industry.  The rules were that the employer could only hire union members… the union would not let you join the union unless you were employed by that employer…  NICE!  Solution… slip the shop steward a $50, “off the books”, and a ‘work-around’ suddenly appeared… $50, in 1952, was real money to a young guy just being discharged from the Navy during the Korean War (he had already served 3 years in WWII, in the Pacific).

    Unions and shop stewards may be necessary evils, but I’d never lionize them…

     

    1. Barack Palin

      Activists and advocates like myself have helped to win paid sick days for all California workers

      I know of employers who took away sick days because of this legislation.  For instance, instead of giving 2 weeks vacation and 6 sick days a year the employer told workers that they now have 10 floating paid days off per year that they can use however they choose, if they want to use them for sick days that’s their decision.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        I know of employers who took away sick days because of this legislation”

        So is it your position that the legislation made them retaliate against their workers ? They could certainly have left the benefits the same as your statement clearly verifies with your use of the word “some”. Clearly all employers did not choose to penalize their workers for the actions of the legislators.

        1. Barack Palin

          No, but there are ways around the legislation as I outlined.  Business owners will do what they have to to remain in business or try and stay viable.  The example I cited actually happened to one of my family members.

      2. Justice4All

        Its true that companies may adapt to the sick days law in different ways. But on the whole, the good incredibly outweighs the bad. Giant companies like McDonalds, Target, Walmart, and Starbucks (the people who handle your food) now give their workers a meager 24 hours of sick time per year. No one should have to come to work sick just to keep the lights on.

    2. Justice4All

      So I probably should have clarified that I do not share the same kinds of risks that Kyla and Brandon do. I am protected by my union contract and the law, so its easier for someone like myself to speak out on behalf of dis empowered workers. The potential consequences for me doing as much pale in comparison to theirs. Nevertheless, being a shop steward in my union is not a paid position. Stewards are purely volunteers, who ensure the conditions of the collective bargaining contract are held up.

      As far as the whole “If there was no union, the employees would make more” is totally bogus. Recent studies have shown that for every dollar in dues a member pays, they typically get a six to one return on their money in wages and benefits above the non union competition. And union dues are tax deductible.

      Unions historically have not been perfect, but no institution is.

      With all that said, the point of writing this article was that I felt that its a great honor to receive this award, and I wanted to discuss the broader movement, and some of the stand out civil rights organizers in town who I feel deserve recognition for their selfless efforts.

    3. Tia Will

      hpierce

      Unions and shop stewards may be necessary evils, but I’d never lionize them”

      I believe that unions and shop stewards are human beings just as are employers. There are probably some who are in it for personal gain just as their are some who probable have altruistic intentions. Just as their are employers who will act in the best interests of their employees and those who will gouge for all that they can get from their employees without a single thought about the well being of said employee. This being said, should we consider employers as “necessary evils” ?

       

      1. hpierce

        I don’t lionize employers, either…

        Hitler, Attila the Hun, Vlad the Impaler were all humans…

        What’s your point?

        Or you just into the argumentative phase today?

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          I think that you know very well what my point was since you summarized it in your first sentence, “I don’t lionize employers either….” I was just pointing out that you had only mentioned one group while not including the possibility that the exact same sentiments could apply to both sides equally.

          And no, not feeling anymore argumentative than usual…..but not sure that anyone should find that reassuring ; )

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      union members’ inflated pay and benefits”

      And of course, executives and top administrators do not receive “inflated pay and benefits” ? But of course, their “business savvy and deal making” abilities make them worth it, while the people who actually do the work that makes the products are easily interchangeable and so of little worth… right ?

      Remember, unions like government would be completely unnecessary if all employers treated their employees in a fashion that valued their work and provided them with a living compensation and treated them with respect and compassion.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > Remember, unions like government would be completely unnecessary

        > if all employers treated their employees in a fashion that valued their

        > work and provided them with a living compensation and treated them

        > with respect and compassion.

        Remember, unions like government would be completely unnecessary if all employees refused to work for anyone that did not treat their employees in a fashion that valued their work and provided them with a living compensation and treated them with respect and compassion.

        P.S. Over the years I have worked for more than one employer that did not treat me well and I soon moved on…

         

    2. Justice4All

      At the risk of feeding the troll, this statement is totally nonsensical.

      “Unions suck… money from hard working people in the private sector to pay union members’ inflated pay and benefits.” 

      Youre implying that union members get better pay and benefits than non union workers. What is wrong with that exactly?

      Your statement also contradicts itself, at least in the case of private sector unions. Yes, workers pay dues. But on average for every dollar workers pay in dues, they get six back in wages and benefits.

  4. Tia Will

    BP

    Business owners will do what they have to to remain in business or try and stay viable”

    But once again, the world is not solely comprised of intrepid business owners whose only motivation is to “remain in business or try and stay viable”. There are also business owners who are clearly manipulating any advantage they can to increase their own personal wealth while not giving a damn about whether their employees can actually support themselves and their families.  By dividing the world into “good guys and bad guys” and choosing sides as our society has chosen to do, we have created the current mess that we consider our economic system.

    How much better off would we be if we stopped spending our time “fighting” each other and worked collaboratively to ensure that first, everyone has enough, and then seeing how much more we can achieve when we actually work together ?

  5. Barack Palin

    By dividing the world into “good guys and bad guys” and choosing sides as our society has chosen to do, we have created the current mess that we consider our economic system.

    You mean the richest most coveted economic system in the world?

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      You mean the richest most coveted economic system in the world?”

      Richest, probably. Most coveted ?  Only by those who think it is fine for some to have more than they can ever dream of using, while others suffer from hunger, illness and homelessness.

  6. Marina Kalugin

    my EX was a MIG-PILOT for the Soviet Air Force….when the unions took over the rights and rules of UC Davis technical employees boy was HE ever causing issues here on Campus…

    HE refused to EVER pay a dime and HE made it so that one could opt out….

    According to those who lived in the Soviet Union during the worst days of the communist regime in charge and unions being in charge, and who defected and fled to the US, they have a VERY different view of unions.

    As I said, I am all over the board on many things….and yet, I understand why some things occur..

    Unfortunately, the “solutions” often have worse consequences and yet the only ones who REALLY win are the ones with the purse strings…

    Sometimes it is the CEOs, and other times it is the UNION Bosses…  BOTH of which have WAY too much power and too many friends in HIGH places…

    I always appreciate playing the devils advocate as, once again, the political and money game is stacked against the masses truly getting a fair shake …

    1. Justice4All

      So lets not think that American unions are anything like a one party leninist state. Its a pretty big false equivalency. Unions were not in charge of the Soviet Union, they were actively suppressed. Marina, youre old enough to remember the liberation of Poland. Trade unions were essential in bringing down the communist regime, along with the Catholic Church. The union was simply called “solidarity”. American unions are not a political party, a one party state, or authoritarian.

      While I certainly can understand why Soviet defectors would be wary of unionism, lets not pretend like they are even close to the same thing.

  7. Justice4All

    I feel like theres a whole lot that is being lost in this discussion. The point of this article wasnt to bicker about the finer points of unionism or union bosses etc. Its about the intersectionality of a budding movement. It combines economic justice, racial justice and gender equality, all wrapped up in a single movement. Its important that we remember that.

  8. Sam

    Sean,

    Congratulations on the award. You seem very committed to your cause. While I don’t agree with what your are advocating for (raising the minimum wage, not your helping the working poor) I respect your passion and effort.

    You had mentioned before about how Prop 13 helped to increase housing prices in California. I am unaware of how why that is and am very interested to hear why you think that is the case. Would you be willing to elaborate the reasons in an article?

    1. Justice4All

      Hey Sam,

      I have been thinking about writing about prop 13 reform for some time now. Its a complicated issue, with many abstract concepts that are sometimes difficult to summarize. But yes, I will likely be coming out with something soon. I want to partner with experts to make sure the facts are straight, and I am not omitting important aspects as to the impacts of prop 13. The Cliff notes version of prop 13 reform goes something like this:

      -Prop 13 was passed as a check on rising home prices in 79 so older people on fixed incomes could stay in their homes. Which was certainly a legitimate concern. However there were many unintended consequences.

      -The typical average single family home turns over ownership once every 7 years or so in northern California, meaning that the tax rates are reset to the new home values at that time. However the corporate tax rates on buildings and property have been stuck since 79. As a result, the share of the state budget coming from corporate property taxes has plummeted while the share paid by individual home owners has increased significantly. Corporations do not die, they simply get bought by another corporation, so even when there theoretically is a transfer of ownership, there isnt.

      -Over capitalization of the housing market is another serious concern. Because of prop 13, a perspective investor can predict his tax expenses over time as being relatively low, making rental homes in California a good investment over time. This has the effect of wealthy individuals, and in some cases hedge funds buying up properties not with the intent of living there, but extracting rent over time. It was especially great during the housing market booms, because you were extracting rent, and your asset was appreciating at the same time. This has the effect of raising prices, and making it more difficult for first time home buyers. Davis is a great example of this phenomenon.

      -Over time, you see the price increases steadily going up and up until it becomes totally unsustainable, and the bubble bursts, people lose their homes, are suddenly underwater on their houses etc.

      -Solutions, I would like to see prop 13 protections restricted to a single home per family, or maybe 2 for a vacation home or the like. I would also like to see the corporate property tax part removed. I should clarify by stating that I am not wholly sure about these solutions, and need to talk to my housing advocacy friends, but I think these reforms make sense.

      I have a personal example of how the housing market has impacted seniors in our community. My girlfriend’s parents recently retired, and they were looking to downsize. They could not afford to actually downsize, because their property taxes on a significantly smaller home were more than their fixed incomes could support. So they sold their home, packed up and moved to Oregon.

      I should also say that the #Fightfor15 is about so much more than a 15$ minimum wage. Its about anti racism, anti sexism, immigrants rights, black lives matter,, union rights, and basic human dignity. While the 15 part of the fight for 15 has garnered a ton of attention, unfortunately the other aspects of the movement are sometimes not publicized as much as they should be. I hope that answers your questions adequately, at least until I can find time to write the article.

      1. South of Davis

        Sean wrote:

        > Prop 13 was passed as a check on rising home prices in 79 so

        > older people on fixed incomes could stay in their homes.

        From 1969 to 1979 nicer homes in places like Burlingame and Palo Alto went from ~$50K to ~$250K.  With an average tax rate of 3% in the state property taxes went from $1,500/year to $7,500/year (a 500% increase).

        From 1969 to 1979 the CA minimum wage increased from ~$4K/yr to ~$5.8K/year (a 45% increase).  Things were so bad that a retired widow with a pension and paid off home could go back to work full time at above the minimum wage and still not make enough to pay the property tax bill.

        > However the corporate tax rates on buildings and

        > property have been stuck since 79.

        Someone in the Yolo County Assessor’s office may be able to get you the exact number of commercial properties in Davis that have not changed ownership since 1979, but in the 90’s in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties “most” (more than half) had changed ownership (and the taxes were increased to market).

        > Corporations do not die, they simply get bought by another

        > corporation, so even when there theoretically is a transfer

        > of ownership, there isnt.

        Most of the time when a corporation is sold the property will be re-assessed (a CA property is re-assessed any time “control” changes).  If it was possible for people to transfer ownership and keep taxes low the people buying all the Brinley property in town (and every other commercial real estate buyer) would do it.

        > As a result, the share of the state budget coming from corporate property

        > taxes has plummeted while the share paid by individual home owners

        > has increased significantly.

        Part of this is due to prop 13, but a big part of it is less and less companies coming to CA to open or expand a business in one of the worst states in the US to do business.  In 1969 Chevy was building Camaros in S. Cal and Ford was building Mustangs  in N. Cal.  No one is going to build a massive new auto factory in CA today.

        http://www.cnbc.com/id/100843287

        If you really want to kill jobs in the state working for a $15 minimum wage “and” working to get rid of Prop 13 is the best way to do it…

         

         

        1. ruralknight

          Congrats Sean…interesting debate here. I belive your point here is about creating/fostering a more equitable society/California. Today’s Prop 13 reform movement will do exactly that and allow for more investments into our public infrastructure. Check it out: http://www.makeitfairca.com

          “How do corporations and wealthy commercial property owners keep their taxes unfairly low?
          First, because the taxable value of a property is set at the time of purchase and artificially limited to a 2% increase in value each year, a big corporation could be paying just slightly more in property taxes today than they did in 1978—even if their property has become far more valuable.
          Worse, some companies actively work to get around re-assessment even when a piece of property changes hands. Under legislation associated with Prop. 13, if over 50% of ownership is transferred to one new owner, the property is then re-assessed. Some corporations and wealthy commercial property owners will break up the ownership of a piece of property across several sub-corporations so that no one sub-corporation owns more than 50%. So even though the property has been bought and sold, the new owners are paying taxes under the old assessment value.
          This is fundamentally unfair—it allows many big corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to pay less than they should, leaving Californians with less funding for important community priorities, like schools and local services, that benefit everyone.
          It’s important to note as well that businesses benefit when we invest in making improvements in our cities and towns. They see more consumers, are able to attract employees and are able to sell their property at a higher value. All businesses should fairly contribute to the improvements that allow this all to happen” – quoted from the website.

          We need to elect public officials who are willing to fight the good fight on equality…those who are willing to remove the 3rd rail of politics and tackle Prop 13 reform. Who in our Assembly race is willing to do that?

        2. South of Davis

          ruralknight wrote:

          > big corporation could be paying just slightly more in

          > property taxes today than they did in 1978

          Using the “rule of 72” at a 2% increase something will double in 36 years.  Since when is MORE than doubled “just slightly more”?

          P.S. I agree that we need to make changes but unless you want people to reject everything you have to say you should try and be as honest as you can and use real numbers (like Marina did below).

          P.P.S. To Sean you should try and meet Marina for tea since she seems to be a very wise woman who knows a lot more about how things work than most people…

        3. Justice4All

          Thanks for the link Rural Knight. Personally, Ive sat in on several candidate interviews for different entities in the AD 4 race, and some have come out in favor of prop 13 reform, but I simply do not believe them.

          One of the reasons I have been working so hard to improve conditions for working poor people is because of the skyrocketing costs of housing in California. If housing costs half of what it does, a 10$ statewide minimum wage would be just fine.

      2. South of Davis

        Sean wrote:

        > My girlfriend’s parents recently retired, and they were looking to downsize.

        > They could not afford to actually downsize, because their property taxes on

        > a significantly smaller home were more than their fixed incomes could support.

        > So they sold their home, packed up and moved to Oregon.

        If they bought a typical Davis home in the mid 80’s they probably paid about $75K.

        The “property tax” (not including any parcel taxes or other add ons) back then would have been $750/year.

        In 30 years at the 2% Prop 13 increases the annual property tax would be about $1,400/year (many people seem to think taxes never increase under prop 13).

        There is a nice little home in Woodland for $199K that would have property taxes of $2,000/year.
        http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/122-Elliot-St_Woodland_CA_95695_M27166-25718

        Did they really move to OR just to save $50/month in property taxes, or were there a lot of other reasons?

        1. Marina Kalugin

          As a lifelong activist who moved to Davis in 1970, I am going to be moving OUT Of Davis when I retire….which is soon but not soon enough for many on the UCD campus right now….   LOL

          I purchased my first house when I was working for peanuts for a local non-profit on my PELP from UCD….in 1979….when the houses were first skyrocketing….for $59K.

          I wish I was smarter and would not have sold THAT house, as it is now worth over $550K.

          No matter WHAT I have been involved in and what causes I have been in the midst of since those early days, I can NO longer afford to live in Davis when I retire.

          Mostly it is due to having gotten remarried to someone who doesn’t know the word CONSERVATION.

          In a recent month our water bill was close to $180 for an average of WAY more than the average Davis user….it was ALSO raining and I was away on business much of the month by myself,  and we also spent TWO long weekends away that month.

          Our house has TOO many oak trees and a small lot and a HUGE “singlestory” roof line blocking the sunlight, so we could NOT get solar.

          Our PGE bill for THAT month was over $300….

          Thus, we are heading to the countryside not far away…and my house will be upgraded and rented out…

          We will have our OWN water and be OFF the grid…my dream….and also may save my marriage…   LOL

          In Oregon there are NO sales taxes, and one could afford water and afford solar and afford SO much more than one can no longer afford in Davis.

          But, also Davis is NO Longer the kinder, gentler place it was back in the 70s.

          The idiot superintendent (thank god HE left before I started the recall campaign) and the majority of idiots on the School Board, who have NO sense of anyone who may be brilliant as obviously THAT does NOT apply to them or ANYONE in THEIR family..

          The only one with ANY sense was Sundar, but the fact that SHE capitulated at the end, means SHE needs to go also.

          managed to kill the GATE program while I was so busy trying to keep my uncle alive last year.

          The fact that THOSE idiots actually thought that COMMON CORE was a good idea…

          I just simply CANNOT believe what the hell is going on in this city…with TRUE incompetents running amuk…

          SIGHHHHHH….

          Now, don’t get ME STARTED…    LOL

          Marina

           

           

           

           

  9. Marina Kalugin

    Hopefully the point of this article is NOT lost.

    I do admire Sean for his activism and desire to speak out, inform, and participate in moving things in a direction where people are better off.  And, I am pleased to see that he is recognized for his efforts.

    There are a myriad of ways to accomplish certain goals.   One can agree with the need to attain the goals and not necessarily with some of the methods that some are proposing.

    In areas of SF or Oakland the minimum wage is now $18.  Now, there is hardly a soul who can afford to live on the $18/hr in San Francisco and actually afford to pay rent, etc..  Instead, many people are commuting from elsewhere into the city to do the lower paid work that the higher earners in that city do not need.

    As a result, prices on everything from rent to parking in areas adjacent to SF are now also skyrocketing.

    Oakland is now the second priciest housing market in the mainland US>…although there are many welfare recipients and a lot of low income families who truly struggle,  a lot of violence and gangs also.  Right next to pricey unreachable real estate.

    Compare that to many areas of the US< where one can still buy a house for less than $100k….and there are many such places even in CA>…

    The economies local to those areas survive on much lower costs in general.

    A $15/hr minimum wage in those areas will crash those local economies……

    And, that type of local lower cost of living is throughout MOST of the US.

    Once again, one size does NOT fit all.

    UCOP President Napolitano has decreed that the minimum wage at all UCs for all workers including student assistants will be raised to $15 over a several year period.

    Simple economics will show that the number of lower paid student positions and such will dwindle.  If there is a grant with a certain budget per year, and which could support X employees at $10/hr…and the grant budget will not have a possibility to even be increased, then therefore there will be fewer students earning the $15/hr.

    How to resolve those issues is beyond the scope of this discussion.  It is merely a simple observation which I have seen for decades, and the choices are not so cut/dry.

    Marina

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  10. Marina Kalugin

    PS>  The so -called “two party state” in the US is a farce just like the one party system in communist countries.

    There is SUCH pressure in those countries to vote and one could lose a job and/or be ostracized if one doesn’t participate in the charade…. Close to 100% voter turnout is bragged about.

    In the US, the contributor lists of the dem and repub party finalists is usually practically identical.

    Monsanto, Big Pharma, big food and so forth support both the finalists and it hardly matters who the puppet is who is elected.

    With the rampant campaign fraud, which has been very well documented over the years, even if someone who is independent has the support of the populace, too much goes on that an independent simply will not be “elected”.

    Marina

     

     

     

    I doubt that neither will make it and if one does, then they should really watch their backs…

  11. Marina Kalugin

    The problem is that Corporations are given the same rights as “individuals”…
    I am a HUGE fan of prop 13 for People and Families.
    THAT loophole should be CLOSED for corporations…as they are NOT people and should NOT have those rights.
    And, they don’t NEED the protections as do individual families…
    If not for Prop 13, CA would be like NJ…  where the prop taxes are many times ones mortgages and people who inherit THEIR family home with NO mortgage cannot afford to retain the house due to the horrific prop taxes.
    Once again, not all black and white…

  12. Jerry Waszczuk

    “THAT loophole should be CLOSED for corporations…as they are NOT people and should NOT have those rights.”

    Marina

    Mission impossible

    J.

      1. Barack Palin

        Unions won’t be able to stop them.  They can try and picket them but it won’t have any effect, people will still get their fast food there.

        1. Barack Palin

          The models of self-service haven’t always panned out.

          If Wendys can keep their prices down due to automation that will result in them getting more customers than other fast food establishments that have to raise their prices in order to pay higher wages.  The end result is other fast food restaurants will take on the Wendys model resulting in less jobs.  This is what everyone has stated will happen and now we’re seeing signs of it.  You saying it won’t occur is just wishful thinking and stubbornness of not admitting that you might be wrong.

      2. Adam Smith

        I don’t remember a lot union pushback when the grocery stores and some other retail outlets like Home Depot moved to self checkout.  I for  one don’t really like the self checkout, but I think it is taking hold.  Same thing has been happening in the banks for years….fewer and fewer tellers, more and more ATMs.  I don’t understand why you would think it would be any different in the restaurant world.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        “There’s a whole world of people out there who eat fast food and care about prices.”

        are you equating the US to the whole world?

        the whole world does not eat the US fast food….

  13. Marina Kalugin

    most young people have not been trained in the lost art of cooking and budgeting and stretching one’s dollars…. we eat real food for less than the time and money wasted on the food-like substances the government claims is “just as good” as the real stuff

  14. Marina Kalugin

    the whole world would not be able to afford Wendy’s nor in-out  they eat real food that they grow and have way fewer health issues than the most expensive country on the planet and which is the 38th down the line on “SICKNESS”….

  15. Marina Kalugin

    again, follow the money….why are 95% of the soybeans GMO and subsidized commodities?   and traded on the commodities markets?   and one cannot pick up hardly a can or a box and not see it in there… that garbage is subsidized while organic farmers struggle…

    1. Barack Palin

      The article is about unions and the $15 minimum wage movement.  What you’re are getting into is off topic and a whole other conversation.

    1. Barack Palin

      LOL, I think it’s you who needs to get a clue.  The topic isn’t GMO’s, subsidized commodities, soybeans, organic farmers……………………….

  16. Marina Kalugin

    I support the $15/hr wage for those areas where the cost of living is high and there are lots of high-paying jobs…  as always, things are never black and white….the $15/hr wage will crash those locales where the economy is barely surviving with the $7.25 wages…

    I find it fascinating that those who cannot see the forest for the trees think that none of these topics interrelate…

  17. Marina Kalugin

    unions are the reason for many of the ills currently in the economy….unfortunately, the teams of attorneys for the UAW/Teamsters  (who are way out of their blue collar roots representing the TAs at UC)  for example cannot hold their own against the teams of the educated and the attorneys for the UC for example….and decisions they have pushed through have resulted in fewer TA jobs for many of the non-science departments….

    In the 1980s (or was it 90s)  there was the most incompetent person as the “president of AFSCME” clerical….that incompetent boob cost me personally many thousands of dollars in decisions which she thought made sense… multiply that across all of the clericals and ONE stupid decision cost millions in service credit and pay for ALL clericals…  even when I was a clerical I could analyze the options way better than the union reps  ..and the only ones who really suffered were the clericals who were abysmally unrepresented and could not opt out..

    This particular story is related to the CAP accounts.   My husband at the time, who was not represented, ended up with more than $30K in that account when he retired….due to compound interest at 8.5%….  instead I was forced to reduce my time by 5% for each of 4 months…. and so was each other clerical……

    is this more ontopic for ya?

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