Living wage spreads economic expansion to reach all areas
Q. We have double-digit unemployment [here in Fresno CA]. How can we get an economic expansion that touches all areas?
A. There are a lot of answers to that. One is that California has one of the highest child poverty rates in the US. In 1980 it
was 15% of the children growing up in deep poverty. It is now 25%. That is unconscionable. If you add a near-poverty category, it goes up to 46%. Why?
The economy is booming in California, but the wealthy are taking most of the gains. So we have to
ask ourselves, what do we do?
A living wage. One-third of the nation’s work force does not work for a living wage.
Universal health insurance.
Deal with pesticides, herbicides, contaminated drinking water, hovels instead of affordable, decent
Where do we get the money for that? How about taking it from the corporate subsidies, giveaways, handouts, & bailouts and bringing it back into the neighborhoods and communities where that public investment is so important.
Source: John Ellis, The Fresno (CA) Bee
Oct 22, 2000
Repeal Taft-Hartley; strengthen unions
As for the ideas that inform that rhetoric, Nader calls for full public financing of all elections and the repeal of Taft-Hartley, which limits labor’s tactics and power, to spread and strengthen unions. He would demand equal credit, equal insurance,
and equal mortgage lending from banks and corporations. He favors a single-payer universal health care system like Canada’s.
Source: Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe, page D1
Oct 8, 2000
Unions struggle even in heart of union country
If you can’t win a strike in Detroit, that shows you totally rigged the labor laws are in favor of big companies.
Source: Edwin Chen, LA Times
Sep 5, 2000
Vote for a union supporter, not against Republicans
Appearing at a union annual convention, Nader offered himself as a strong alternative to Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. He promised to protect labor rights, fight for a higher minimum wage and push for universal health care. “Democrats
have the support of most unions without getting anything back. All they get is the phrase, ‘You’d better support us because the Republicans are terrible.”’
Source: AP Story, NY Times
Aug 29, 2000
Message to Democrats: Don’t take labor for granted
Ralph Nader was on a tear, railing against chief executives’ salaries, the corporate-dominated campaign finance system and cuts in factory inspections. Several of the steelworkers seated around him were
nodding, and then nodding again, in silent approval. “You’re the guys who work hard. You’re the guys who pay the taxes. You’re the guys who fight the wars, and then they say, ‘Tough. We’re closing the
Jul 23, 2000
Raise the minimum wage immediately
There is an immediate need to raise the minimum wage. In March of 1998, California’s minimum wage was $5.75 per hour, yielding $11,960 in gross annual income.
The California minimum wage, although higher than the national minimum, remains 26% less in spending power than the minimum wage in effect in 1968.
Source: Statement on Child Poverty
Jun 26, 2000
Functional wages are falling despite economic boom
There are about 47 million workers, over one-third of the workforce, making less than $10 per hour, many at $5.25, $6.00, $7.00, with no or few benefits. The majority of workers still, after ten years of overall economic growth, make less today, in
inflation adjusted dollars, and work 160 hours longer per year than workers did in 1973! Moreover, today’s workers have to spend more to get to work and commute longer distances. They pay more for what were family functions that were once free or
inexpensive. A record number of people are without health insurance. $6.2 trillion in consumer indebtedness to supplement living wages, and inadequate crumbling public works that serve the mass populace, from schools, health clinics, mass transits,
drinking water systems and other services. The lower unemployment rate is masked by low wages and millions of part-time laborers who are registered as employed if they work 21 hours a week and cannot get a full-time job.
Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech
Jun 25, 2000
Top CEOs make 415 times entry wages
Give them [corporations] too much power and they’ll run roughshod over you. No shame, no sense of boundary. Everything’s for sale.. Giant corporations have hijacked our democracy, have no allegiance to our country or communities, and are
increasingly controlling our government, media, childhood. These top CEOs are making 415 times the entry wage in their own company. You know what it was in 1940? 12. 1980? 40. Now, 415.
Source: George Skelton, LA Times
Feb 23, 2000
Limit executive salaries & perks
Shareholders, who are the owners of companies, should not have their assets wasted or worker morale victimized by executives who give themselves huge salaries, bonuses, greenmail, and golden
parachutes, self-perpetuating boards of directors, and a stifling of the proxy voting system to block shareholder voting reforms.
Source: The Concord Principles, An Agenda for a New Democracy, # 9
Feb 21, 2000
Student pressure can help oppressed textile workers abroad
Students [are starting to join] with labor and religious groups in the anti-sweatshop, anti-child-labor movement. Students will focus on large retailers, such as Wal-Mart, that buy merchandise from Third World nations that grind their workers to the
ground. Students have pressured retailers on campus and off to publicly disclose the factory names and addresses. Consumer dollars can speak power and truth. The alternative is to keep allowing the abuses that lead to obscene profits for corporations.
Source: “In the Public Interest” newspaper column
Aug 17, 1999
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