Labor's Edge Articles by Steve Smith
Economics 101: Raising Taxes on Wealthy Doesn’t Kill Jobs
By Steve Smith
In the run-up to the 2012 general election, the anti-Prop 30 fear mongering was reaching a fevered pitch. The sky would fall, said groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) and the corporate-backed National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) if Prop 30 passed. According to these groups, demanding the ultra-rich pay their fair share to protect California schools from devastating cuts would lead to economic catastrophe.
Teamsters President Hoffa Joins Effort to Pass AB 1897, Curb Abuses Against Temporary Workers
By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation
Since he entered the workforce 10 years ago, Jose Gonzalez has been designated “temporary.” Companies like Taylor Farms, the salad processing giant, use labor contractors or agencies to hire workers like Jose to do the work that makes the company profitable. Instead of making Jose a permanent worker with rights and benefits, these big corporations suspend workers in a state of insecurity. And when rights are violated, the companies absolve themselves of responsibility, pointing the finger at a subcontractor. In Jose’s case at Taylor Farms in Tracy, it’s damaging his future and robbing him of the American Dream. And millions of workers nationwide are in the same sinking boat.
Sacramento Bee Op-ed: Stemming Income Inequality Hinges on Investing in California’s Middle Class
By Steve Smith
There’s a new narrative emerging from right-wingers like Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio on the growing problem of income inequality. Rubio and California Republicans like Assemblymember Dan Logue are blaming inequality on taxes on the wealthy and government regulations that protect workers and the environment. Problem is, this new narrative is pure fantasy.
As California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski and Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty wrote in Saturday’s Sacramento Bee, Rubio and company have entered the Twilight Zone when it comes to their phony posturing on poverty and income inequality.
The Antidote to Income Inequality? Workers Standing Together
Earlier this month, President Obama called rising income inequality the "defining challenge of our time." The gap between the rich and everyone else is now the largest since the Great Depression. But many people still view income inequality in the abstract, because it can be tough to put a finger on how it impacts our everyday lives.
In a new Associated Press report, leading economists spell it out clearly. The income gap hurts us all and poses a major threat to the United States economy: "A key source of the economists' concern: Higher pay and outsize stock market gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Yet these households spend less of their money than do low- and middle-income consumers who make up most of the population but whose pay is barely rising."
California’s Unions Step Up for Veterans
My grandfather, a member of what Tom Brokaw coined the “greatest generation,” was a chief petty officer in the US Navy during World War II, fighting along so many others for nothing less than freedom itself. He made it back. Many of those he served with did not.
Upon returning home, he needed a job. While looking for work is never easy, he found meaningful employment first as a police officer in Washington state and then later at Caltrans in the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, putting veterans to work was a priority. Government partnered with labor unions and employers to create a pathway to careers for veterans who bravely served our country, defending the freedoms many take for granted today.
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