Unions: Sticking Together to Fight Corporate Power

I have been writing about the strike by California Kaiser Permanente security guards working for contractor Inter-Con Security, who are demanding that laws be enforced and their rights be honored.

SEIU sent out a press release on the situation, titled, Workers With No Healthcare Protecting Kaiser Facilities, Security Contractor May Be Misleading California's Largest Healthcare Provider.  In summary, the security guards at Kaiser are supposed to be provided with individual healthcare after working for 90 days, but it turns out that many are not.  The security contractor Inter-Con Security has found a way around the promise: they classify workers as "on-call" instead of permanent.

As more and more workers report that Inter-Con is keeping workers on temporary or "on-call" status for months or years, it's still unclear whether Inter-Con is misleading Kaiser or if Kaiser is simply turning a blind eye to these tactics which short-change workers.

And their families are not provided with health insurance at all.  The security guards -- paid as little as $10.40 an hour -- are supposed to buy it.  The result is that 41% of the officers who responded to a survey cannot.  And without paid sick days they cannot afford to take the time off to see a doctor anyway.


I am proud to be helping SEIU spread the word about this strike.  sfs-234x60-animated-v2

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Why They (And You) Need A Union

Yesterday I wrote about the security guards who are striking at Kaiser Permanente because their contractor-employer is engaging in illegal tactics while trying to block them from forming a union.  The guards work for Inter-Con Security Inc., which is contracted by Kaiser to provide security services.


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Security Guards Striking for the Right to Have Our Laws Enforced

There is a three-day strike starting today at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in California.  1800 security guards are striking for three days in an "unfair labor practice" action.  This strike is not against Kaiser and is not to ask for money or benefits; it is not even to form a union in the first place.  This strike is just to ask that our laws please be enforced. This may be a lot to ask for in today's corporate-dominated system, but they're asking for it anyway.

Here is some background:

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Blame Dems For Partisanship?

I've been seeing signs, and I thnk we're going to see a strong, nationwide Republican effort to blame Democrats for the partisanship in politics.  The Republicans have been saying "Dems are rabid Bush-hater partisans" as a ploy to win votes and I think this is going to become a drumbeat.  

People really are fed up with the rabid partisanship and nothing getting done for the public, and the Republicans understand this -- that's why they're being such rabid partisans.  They know that the public doesn't pay attention and blames everyone equally for it so they're building the pressure.  

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Use The Buzz To Defund Republicans

"The Buzz" is that Democrats will take back the House of Representatives.  USE THE BUZZ.  USE the perception that Democrats will have some clout soon to put fear into the corporate lawbreakers who are funding the conservative machine.  I have written about this before, saying,

Threatening now to investigate illegal corporate funding is a strategic move that fires a warning shot across the bow of the Right's corporate funding machine, and it will apply pressure even if it just leaks out, anonymously attributed to "Democratic leaders," because of the buzz-factor that is coming into play.
Now there are even more signs that the timing is right:

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People Want Transformational Change

One thing Republican rule has done is help a lot of people sort out their thinking.  People have had enough.  People are fed up with business-as-usual, and dysfunctional systems that allow wingnuts to gain power.  People are ready for transformational change. Half-assed namby-pamby measures aren't going to satisfy anymore.

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A Strategy to Shut Down the Right's Funding

bumped - Matt

There is more and more talk lately about Dems taking control of the House.  For example, Confident Democrats Lay Out Agenda,

Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power ...

... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, "You never know where it leads to."

And Rep. John Murtha made headlines the other day, when he said

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Bloggers Shouting "Wake Up"

bumped - Matt

In Administration tells Congress (again) - We won't abide by your "laws", Glenn Greenwald lays it out:

The reality is that the Administration has been making clear for quite some time that they have unlimited power and that nothing -- not even the law -- can restrict it. ... As I have documented more times than I can count, we have a President who has seized unlimited power, including the power to break the law, and the Administration -- somewhat commendably -- is quite candid and straightforward about that fact.
I think this is the key line:

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Funding A Counter-Attack Against The Right

DailyKos currently gets between 550,000 and 600,000 unique "visitors" per day.  This number grows into the millions during elections and breaking news events.  This is not "page views" where people who hit refresh are counted more than once.  This is unique "IPs" which means that none of these are counted twice, and in fact some of these are sites where a number of computers count as a single "visitor" for technical reasons, like NAT routers.  And the are plenty of people who do not visit every day, so the total number of people who visit DailyKos is much greater than this number.  Crooks & Liars is getting more than 135,000 a day.  Atrios more than 120,000.  Add Raw Story, Talking Points Memo, etc... and there are a lot of readers, some duplicates, but adding up to big numbers.  Any way you count it there are millions of progressive blog readers And there are millions and million more dedicated progressives who are not blog readers.

What would happen to the Right's stranglehold on America's public discussion if each and every one of those blog readers were in the habit of donating generously to the blogs they read, and to the kind of "Progressive Infrastructure"organizations that are designed to study and fight back against the Right? (more here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here...)  

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Abramoff Bribery Scandal Shines a Light on a Grave Threat to Democracy

Several organizations are calling for "reform" of the campaign-finance and lobbying system.  This is a mistake.  It is very important to understand that this Abramoff scandal is about breaking laws, not about any need for reform of existing laws.  But more than that, it is about an attempt to change America into a one-party state.

This scandal is about the leadership of the Republican Party creating a self-perpetuating system where public money is spent to promote a non-democratic, divisive, destructive ideology and perpetuate one-party control -- THEIR control -- of the country.  

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