In our regular weekly feature, we take a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
Thousands of members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), other local labor union members, parents, students, community groups and elected leaders are taking to the streets today to fight back against actions taken by Gov. Tom Corbett and Mayor Nutter’s cronies to further dismantle and defund the Philadelphia public school system. In a shocking example of what happens when anti-worker politicians get elected, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers lost their contract last week through a unilateral decision by Gov. Corbett’s and Mayor Nutter’s appointees.
It's an election year and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote against a whole host of extreme candidates who support policies that limit rights, make it even harder to afford a middle-class life and pad the pockets of their corporate buddies. One of the "Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections" is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
Jake Long, chair of the Harrisburg Region Central Labor Council’s COPE committee and a baker by trade, does not spend most of his days in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, but it did not take him long to form an opinion of the proceedings surrounding the court’s review of the state's contested voter ID law.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.
Remember the state fiscal crisis, when state treasuries were running out of money because revenues (aka taxes) were down and cuts to education, health care, public safety and roads were the flavor of the day?
One of the little known factors behind this loss of revenue to state treasuries—and this is hard to believe—is that in 19 states, with Pennsylvania on the verge of becoming number 20, corporations are pocketing workers’ state income taxes instead of sending the weekly withholding to the state where it could be used to help pay for education, health care, public safety and roads.
When working people come together in political action and successfully fight to elect lawmakers who back working families, they are at least guaranteed someone who will listen to their concerns. But in too many cases corporate money has propelled politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to office where they turn a deaf ear to working people.
In this cross-post from Working America’s Main Street blog, Ruth Oditt shows that even the loss of thousands of jobs and the economic devastation of communities isn’t enough to move Corbett to act, let alone listen.
Working America members, teachers and unemployed Pennsylvanians on both sides of the state delivered more than 1,000 handwritten postcards to Gov. Tom Corbett’s regional offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. We wanted Corbett to know the drastic, widespread and ultimately disastrous results of the budget cuts he enacted last year. We wanted him to make good on the rhetoric used in his first year, which called for “shared sacrifice.”
A recent memo from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) deputy chief of staff Luke Bernstein to other top staff and supporters says that in discussing Corbett’s first year in office, they should compare his “successes” to failures of other first-year governors, including Walker and Kasich.