November 3, 2012

Open letter to Voters from Labor Activists: VOTE GREEN



Working Americans and organized labor face an unprecedented bipartisan attack by the Democrats and Republicans in this November’s elections.
As long-time labor activists, we urge a vote for the Green Party national ticket of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

The cornerstone of Jill Stein's Presidential campaign is a Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal includes strong support for workers’ rights, including the rights to a living wage, to a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal. It supports real financial reform, not only to make the rich and large corporations pay their fair share of taxes, but to establish democratic control of our economy rather than leaving Wall Street in the driver's seat.

For more than three decades, there has been bipartisan agreement to shift more income and wealth to the richest Americans, while living standards for the rest of us have declined. Income inequality has reached levels not seen since 1927 – right before the Great Depression. The economic crisis caused by the greed and misdeeds of Wall Street resulted in a trillion-dollar bailout of bankers, while the housing foreclosure crisis was ignored.

With more than 25 million Americans out of work, the response of politicians at the state, local and national level has been to cut spending for education, housing, and the safety net, threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to protect tax cuts for the rich and wasteful military spending. Democrats like Governor Cuomo in NY have joined with Republicans like Governor Walker in Wisconsin to make public employee unions into public enemy number one, seeking to slash pensions and wages while laying off teachers and other workers.

Democrats are always the “friend” of labor – during election season. Yet it was Bill Clinton who gave us NAFTA. The Democrats in 1947 gave us the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act – and they have defeated changes to it ever since.
Barack Obama promised a $10/hour minimum wage and the Employee Free Choice Act for majority card-check union recognition –  but failed to push either once elected.
The labor movement in every other industrial nation has built its own political party, independent of corporate money and control. They have organized the working class majority to take political power  for the benefit of workers and economic justice. They have secured single-payer health care, affordable public transit, free public college education, secure pensions, four to six weeks of paid vacation for all workers, paid maternity and free sick leave, and labor laws that protect their rights to organize and strike.

It is time for labor to practice the politics of courage, rather than the politics of fear and appeasement.  We must support candidates who back labor when they run against the two corporate parties.  We urge a vote for Jill Stein and the Green New Deal and Economic Bill of Rights this November.
Yours in Solidarity,
Jim Moran, Director (retired), Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health

Justin Harrison, CWA Local 13000 Unit 1 President
Allan Herman, IATSE Local 927 Executive Board member
Steve Edwards, former president, AFSCME Local 2858 (ret.) Chicago IL

Tom Crean, chapter leader, United Federation of Teachers, New York City
Marty Harrison, Executive Board member TUHNA/PASNAP (Temple University Hospital Nurses Association/ Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals)
David Myron, Michigan Education Association (MEA/NEA); Former Local President, Perry Education Association
Mike McCallister, National Writers Union Local 1981, Former Chair, South Central Wisconsin Labor Party
Charlie Hoyt, Labor Activist, New York, NY
Hugh Giordano, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152 Mays Landing, New Jersey
Sunyata Altenor, Committee of Interns and Residents New York City
Charles Post, Professional Staff Caucus New York City
Warren Davis, American Federation of Government Employees Local 2006 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (retired)
Eric Hoyt, Graduate Employees Organization, Amherst, Massachussetts
Karen Young, Newspaper Guild, CWA New York, NY
Frank Jackson, GEO-UAW 2334 Amherst, MA
Howie Hawkins, Teamsters Local 317 Syracuse, New York
Barry Eidlin, United Faculty and Academic Staff, Madison WI
Marie Stolzenburg, Teaching Assistants Association, AFT Madison, WI
Nick Limbeck, Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago, IL
Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network New York, NY

Ron Dicks, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, San Francisco, CA

Ashok Kumar, Labor Activist, Former member Dane County Board, Madison, WI

Brian Rothgery, Labor Activist, Milwaukee, WI

Patrick Burke, Western Mass. Jobs with Justice, Springfield, MA

Charles Levenstein, Massachusetts Teachers Association (retired)

Isaac Silver, labor activist, Chicago, IL
Jonathan Fluck, Actors' Equity Association, New York City

Danielle Albert, Labor Activist, New York City

Chris Robinson, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 Philadelphia PA

Trudy Quaif, Public Employees Federation steward (retired), Albany, NY

George McAnanama, Transport Workers Union Local 100 (retired) New York City

Jonathon Flanders, International Association of Machinists, LL 1145 Troy, NY

Neal Pritchard, United Steel Workers Local 1000, Corning NY

John Ailey, Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), IL

Mike Whalen, UNITE-HERE, Local 17 (retired) St Paul, Minnesota

Gordon McClelland, Labor Educator, Carpenters (retired), Guilderland NY
Francesca Gomes, Delegate, United Federation of Teachers, Brooklyn, NY

Genevieve Morse, Shop Steward CSU, Massachusetts Teachers Association,
National Education Association
Kshama Sawant, American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, Seattle, WA
Sarah & Ben Manski, American Federation of Teachers, Madison, Wisconsin
Seamus Whelan, MNA/NNU Massachusetts Nurses Association/ National Nurses United
Frango Akrivos, Teamsters Local 1L New York

Greg Beiter, Shop Steward, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587