Join us for a rally and march on Sept 21 in solidarity with the People’s Climate March in NYC calling for sustainable jobs to retool our economy with clean, renewable technologies as a solution to both the economic and environmental crises.
We can’t rely on politicians who’ve been dragging their feet for decades. We can only rely on ourselves and the grassroots movement we’re building.
Here in the Pacific NW we face a number of fossil fuel projects that threaten the lives of people and the environment – explosive oil trains, coal trains, and the construction of coal export terminals. The false dichotomy between jobs and the environment must be rejected. Let’s stand together – environmentalists and labor – to demand investment in renewable energy not fossil fuels.
We need jobs that pay living wages and allow families to live with dignity. We need to create and expand work that promotes healthy communities and a healthy planet. We need to fight to ensure there is a just transition for those workers whose jobs are replaced by a new energy economy.
March and rally location TBD.
Want to get involved or endorse the event?
Contact us at Rodriquez00@gmail.com
One of my great-grandfathers, Rudolf Leo Schirra Sr., was born in Rammstein (no joke), Germany in 1876. He emigrated to the US in 1889 and for the rest of his life lied about being born in Chicago, apparently to avoid immigration questions.
Okay, so why care? Well, Rudolf Senior was a labor organizer from about the time he got off the boat. His family were traditionally bakers, and he worked in bakeries in Philadelphia. Conditions were great. So awesome were the owners of the bakeries that they hired thugs with whips, ostensibly to keep the rats in check. I am not joking. When you see the sign, “The beatings will continue until morale improves” remember that in the 1890s and 1900s, that wasn’t actually a joke.
Prior to the Wagner Act being passed in 1935, trade unions in the United States weren’t illegal per se, but neither was it illegal for factory owners to hire thugs to ‘break unions’. Whenever I see Westerns or old movies lionizing the Pinkertons as some sort of proto-detective agency, I want to scream. The Pinkerton Agency was originally a corporation made up of thugs, literally. By 1890, the Pinkerton Agency had more armed men than the United States Army. You can look that up. The entire reason for the existence of the Pinkerton Agency was to infiltrate unions, break skulls of strikers, and generally be a private army for millionaires like Andrew Carnegie. And until the practice was outlawed in 1893, there was quite a bit of overlap between the Pinkerton Agency and the federal government, which contracted with the Pinkertons to “detect and prosecute those suspected of violating federal law”.
The Pinkertons were merely the best organized of the thugs hired by factory owners to literally beat and kill strikers. There were many, many others.
I mention this because Rudolf Senior was the General Organizer of the International Baker and Confectioners Union in Philadelphia. He gave speeches across the country and was instrumental in the investigation of child labor violations in Indianapolis in 1903. He was one of three delegates to the American Federation of Labor conference from at least 1905 to 1917. Rudolf is recorded as comparing union shop conditions in Philadelphia to non-union shops. Union shop workers were getting $3 a day for 10 hour days and non-union shop workers were getting $2 a day for 14 hour days in 1905. In 1924, he was trying to get a Mexican union off the ground. By 1925, he had moved to California and was a supervisor of the California State Federation of Labor. He was instrumental in securing decent labor conditions in the Stockton factory of the Gravem Inglis Baking Company, later renamed Sunbeam Bread.
He was therefore not popular with corporate CEOs and factory owners, considering he organized multiple strikes and boycotts against National Biscuit Company (use the first few letters of each word to find out what they are called now), McKinney Breads (bought out by the General Baking Company which later became General Foods) who were using child labor, among other nasty practices. In fact on multiple occasions they took contracts out on him. I don’t mean, “hey, lawyer dude, let’s draw up a contract with Rudi Schirra”, I mean “here’s $5000 to bring me the head of Rudi Schirra”. He slept with dual revolvers and was shot at quite a few times. Labor organizing didn’t just involve guys with placards, it involved guys with baseball bats, knives, and guns.
Rudi was a tough guy. He married Barbara Bildner, who had a club foot. One day, an asshat walked into the bakery and asked “hey, Rudi, how come you married a cripple?” Rudi was slicing bread with a bread knife and my grandfather had to prevent him from using the bread knife on the asshat. He later became a police officer and was shot by an overzealous bank guard during a robbery. Rudi not only didn’t die, he beat up the bank guard for wounding him.
So, Happy Labor Day, all. Remember all those that fought for decent working conditions, eight hour days, and 40 hour weeks. It wasn’t easy and unions were absolutely necessary then, and continue to be!
Massachusetts militiamen with fixed bayonets surround a group of strikers during the Lawrence, Massachusetts Textile Strike of 1912. Source: Wikipedia.
Washington Conservation Voters is too kind to Steve Litzow and too cruel to the Democratic coalition
Washington Conservation Voters has given an endorsement to Republican Steve Litzow of the 41st LD.
But WCV’s own data shows that Litzow’s 2014 legislative environmental score is below 50 (42 out of 100). See WCV’s scorecard and the tables at the end of this article. Litzow’s Lifetime Score is a bit better, 61 out of 100, at rank #25 out of 55.
Because of Republicans’ razor-thin control of the state senate, the 2013 – 2014 legislative session was a disaster.
Do WCV members not care about labor rights, women’s rights and other issues?
No doubt, Washington Conservation Voters wants to demonstrate that it’s a bipartisan organization that is willing to support pro-environment Republicans. But, get real. Even if Litzow has cast some pro-environmental votes — and in 2014 he barely did — the harm that comes from his supporting the Republican caucus on issues of economic justice, labor rights, education (charter schools), social services, and women’s rights far outweighs his piddling support for environmental issues.
Single-issue advocacy groups divide the Democratic coalition and perpetuate Republican control of the state senate.
State Senators ordered by WCV 2014 score (With Steve Litzow highlighted at Rank 27)
State Senators ordered by WCV Lifetime score (With Steve Litzow highlighted at #25)
Many political cartoons have a little guy on the bottom corner making snarky comments. Chris Tombrello and Chad Lupkes suggested that Pat Oliphant may have invented this form [snarky comment guy]. His little penguin was named Punk. Chris thought the insets might be called “cartouches”, but the term doesn’t quite fit. (See http://oldprintgallery.wordpress.com/tag/cartouche/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartouche_%28disambiguation%29 .)
I propose calling the little cartoon commenters “snarkies.”
I added a snarky to the bottom left of my image about Bill Gates, in response to Elizabeth Hanson’s observation that Gates’ donations to education often supported a corporate takeover of public education.