Karen Ocamb

California's Prop 32 Explained in Pictures & Video

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 31, 2012 5:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Bradley Whitford, California, Courage Campaign, Prop 32, Rick Jacobs, robber barons, union representation, unions and LGBT community, workers' rights

Once upon a time, rich men owned everything, holding sway over laws and commerce - leaving individuals to fend for themselves and accept whatever work they could find under often appalling, unsafe conditions. Only after the horrors of the meat packing industry were exposed to the general public in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle did government start to pay attention.
But the fat cat robber barons didn't care...
As long as they had their monopolies and their money...
And could control their workers...
And lobby and buy their lawmakers.
But workers started unifying and organizing...
Enduring brutal battles with police protecting the fat cats, and...
Protesting and striking for decent pay and safe working conditions.
Victory brought more than that.
At some point, unions started including domestic partner coverage and job protections for lesbian and gay workers in their contract negotiations.
But in 1981, President Ronald Reagan started a union-busting trend that continues up to today.
But even as the fat cat robber barons of today squeeze their workers...
Union members continue to protest and use a portion of their union dues to lobby and help elect politicians who support labor rights, as well as rights for undocumented workers and equal rights for LGBT people. Labor contributed significantly to the No on Prop 8 campaign in 2008.
The US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United said money is akin to free speech in politics, pitting the 1% of top money-makers and the interests of Big Business and their Super PACS against the 99% represented by the Occupy movement and other grassroots groups such as the Courage Campaign.
Now there's a measure on the California ballot on Nov. 6 - Prop 32, that the Courage Campaign says is backed by the fat cat Koch brothers - that intends to deprive unions of having a voice in politics. Let Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs and actor Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman on The West Wing) pick it up from here.

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