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PORTSIDELABOR  November 2012, Week 1

PORTSIDELABOR November 2012, Week 1

Subject:

Unions Win in Key Ballot Measures Around the Country

From:

Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Wed, 7 Nov 2012 20:07:10 -0500

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Unions Win in Key Ballot Measures Around the Country
Matthew Cunningham-Cook 
November 7, 2012 
http://www.thenation.com/article/171120/unions-win-key-ballot-measures-around-country

By far the biggest win of last night for labor in ballot
initiatives was in California, where a series of tax
increases (mostly on the wealthy) passed, preventing $6
billion worth of cuts to education and public services.
California Federation of Teachers President Josh
Pechthalt pointed out in a statement that "the people
have spoken: the best way to build a better education
system is to properly fund it by asking those who can
most afford it, the wealthy, to pay their fair share in
taxes." Indeed, California follows Oregon's example set
in early 2010, that if the issue is successfully framed
and with effective organizing, the public is willing to
vote to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund essential
public services
Unions were also able to beat back a budget bill in
California that would allow the governor to unilaterally
cut expenditures, and soundly defeated Prop 32, which
would have severely limited their ability to engage in
politics. But in other states around the country, unions
were able to score key gains, albeit with a significant
loss on charter schools in Georgia and a likely loss in
Washington State.

In Idaho, the Idaho Education Association (the state's
largest education union) soundly defeated Props 1, 2,
and 3, which would have eliminated teacher tenure,
instituted merit pay and made the completion of (often
for-profit) online coursework for Idaho students to
graduate from high school. Wealthy education "reformers"
from around the country had spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars attempting to get the propositions to pass.
In South Dakota, voters soundly defeated a similar bill
that would have eliminated teacher tenure.

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subscription for just $9.50!

In Michigan, proposals to enshrine collective bargaining
into the state constitution and to expand collective
bargaining to homecare workers failed. However, Governor
Rick Snyder's widely despised emergency manager law,
which allows him to autocratically appoint managers that
run roughshod over local democracy (and union
contracts), was defeated by a close margin at the ballot
box. A coalition of unions led by AFSCME Council 25 had
mobilized to defeat the bill.

In Oregon, unions mobilized to defeat an initiative that
would have eliminated inheritance taxes, and were
successful. They also were able to eliminate a corporate
tax loophole to provide $60 million more annually to
public schools.

In Alabama, a sneaky constitutional amendment that could
have potentially lead to the elimination of the
constitutional guarantee to a right to a public
education was defeated after the Alabama Education
Association and black political leaders mobilized
opposition. An amendment that further restricts the
ability to organize, however, passed.

All told, unions and their allies were able to score
important victories Tuesday night. As we had into what
appears to be another cycle of austerity, let's see if
they can keep the momentum going.

Read John Nichols on how turnout by labor won the
Wisconsin and Ohio Senate elections.

____________________________________________

PortsideLabor aims to provide material of interest to
people on the left that will help them to interpret the
world and to change it.

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