A WORD FROM PRESIDENT JACQUES LOVEALL
Our elected officials panicked and hastily passed an ill-conceived bill that could have painful consequenses.
The devastation of our financial system paints a tragic picture of unregulated greed and its effects.
I am sickened so many of our elected officials once again awarded the multi-millionaires whose reckless, self-enriching behavior caused this crisis in the first place.
Where’s the accountability? Where is the “bailout” for the millions of Americans who are hurting?
For decades, we’ve been told that we can’t afford to help children in poverty or make decent care available to the 50 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. Money couldn’t be found to fix our schools and our Social Security system. It’s too expensive to provide adequate assistance to veterans and victims of natural disasters.
And yet we’re able to find $700 billion to bail out Wall Street!
As Investment Chair of the UFCW Northern California Pension Trust Fund, I understand the importance of stable and growing markets. I also understand that important decisions on complicated issues must be made with care, based on thoughtful research and analysis.
I didn’t see much care and thoughtfulness in the days preceding the House and Senate votes on the bailout. After the House’s initial rejection of the bill, the legislation was reworked and passed within four days.
What we’ve gotten is a hodgepodge. It is hardly a blueprint for sound economic policy.
On Sept. 30, I wrote a letter on behalf of our members to the House and Senate, urging them to consider letting the next President — someone who has a fresh mandate from the American people — guide our nation out of the mess that was left by the current administration.
I told them that any bailout of Wall Street should be part of a comprehensive plan to assist our struggling middle and lower classes.
One notion I submitted for consideration is a United States Real Estate Corporation (USREC), in which taxpayers would receive stock in bailed-out corporations. The amount of stock would be proportionate to their families’ tax burdens in connection with the bailout.
This plan would create an open market in which those who would like to invest further in America’s future can do so easily. It would give Americans a greater voice in exchange for their contributions and sacrifices.
And it would help assure taxpayers that they could eventually see a return on their investment.
For too long, the concept of an “ownership society” has been abused to promote the interests of the wealthy over the needs of everyone else. It’s time to give all Americans a greater chance to own a piece of their country’s future.
I pledge to use the energies of this office to ensure our membership and all taxpayers are shown the consideration they deserve as this process moves forward.
UFCW 8-Golden State
|A new generation of working Americans is turning the Labor Movement around, and UFCW 8 is helping lead the way.|
After more than 25 straight years of decline, Union membership is gaining in the United States.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that America’s Unions added about 311,000 members last year, raising the Unionized share of the work force for the first time since the bureau started collecting membership data in 1983. Union membership now totals approximately 15.7 million.
Two-thirds of the increase occurred in California, where more than 200,000 workers joined Unions in 2007. UFCW 8-Golden State has been a trailblazer in California’s revitalized Labor Movement.
Last year, UFCW 8 was recognized by the UFCW International Union with its Growth Award for excellence in organizing. In particular, the recent Food Maxx campaign, which brought 1,300 new workers into the Union family, was spotlighted as a model of organizing for other Unions to emulate.
UFCW 8’s latest successes have brought in yet another 1,000 new members at 13 Save Mart stores in Central California.
Nationwide, Union jobs in the retail industry increased from 5 percent of the work force in 2006 to 5.2 percent in 2007.
In other industries, construction Unions increased their membership faster than the rate of job growth, with membership jumping from 13 percent in 2006 to 13.9 percent in 2007. Membership in the private health and education sectors grew from 8.3 percent to 8.8 percent.
|In an editorial titled “A Hopeful Year for Unions,” the New York Times praised the BLS report as the “one sliver of good news” for working Americans in a season of mortgage crises and looming recession.|
“There is little doubt that American workers need Unions,” the Times wrote, noting that wages today are about 10 percent lower than they were in 1973, after adjusting for inflation. While profits have soared, the share of corporate income that goes to workers is at its lowest point since the late 1960s.
The Times blames the deteriorating status of American workers on the decline in Union membership. “Employers have become more aggressive about keeping Unions out,” the newspaper observes, correctly. At the same time, “competitive pressures from globalization, deregulation and technological change have resulted in the loss of many Union jobs.”
So, why the latest good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics? The Times cites “the renewed emphasis on organizing workers by some of the nation’s largest unions” — including the United Food and Commercial Workers — “that split off from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win coalition.” Change to Win was founded on the principle that organizing is the key to reversing the declining fortunes of America’s working people. Consequently, the coalition’s member Unions — the UFCW, Teamsters and the SEIU, among others — have redirected funds and energy toward bringing more Americans under the banner of Union membership.
Now, with a renewed sense of purpose, we have begun the process of turning our great country around. A new chapter is being written in Labor history, and our members are up to the challenge.