Don't Let the State Legislature Off the Hook
Raise the volume of protest against budget cuts that hurt workers and the poor
The April Week of Action, organized by labor and community groups, was an inspiring show of mass opposition to Governor Gregoire, the state legislature, and their plans to make ordinary people pay for a budget crisis they didn't create. The huge protests sent a clear message: the state's role is help people survive, not boost profits. Popular chants at the rallies were "Tax corporate profits" and "Close tax loopholes." Yet soon after protesters headed home, Democrats began unveiling bills to gut education, attack ferry workers, slash aid to the poor, and more.
We can't let our powerful protests be forgotten. It's time to raise the volume of opposition, encourage it to spread, and let politicians know they will be held accountable for their actions. With only days to go in the official Legislative session, every voice counts!
At the last meeting of Sisters Organize for Survival, activists developed a list of five things that can be done immediately to impact this legislative session, which may end as soon as April 24. The first three actions involve calling the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
Top five actions to impact the 2011 Legislative session (and beyond)
1) Support the union rights of 1,600 ferry workers. Call the hotline to tell legislators to remove language from House Bill 1516 that could potentially contract out ferry services to private corporations, although it preserves bargaining rights. Urge them to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 5742, a Wisconsin-style bill, pushed by Democratic Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, that attacks collective bargaining rights and scapegoats public workers for chronic under-funding of the ferries. The Inland Boatmen's Union is calling for a massive mobilization to stop the attacks on ferry workers.
2) Tell legislators to VOTE YES on HB 2078. This bill closes tax loopholes for some Wall Street banks and out-of-state shoppers. Revenue would help fund kindergarten through third grade education. This bill, introduced immediately after the protests, is clearly a result of demonstrators refusing to buy the line that legislators are powerless to close loopholes. Tell them this is one step in the right direction--they should go further to close all tax exemptions for large businesses.
3) Demand that lawmakers oppose an "all-cuts," anti-labor budget. There is no excuse for a state budget that slashes vital services, destroys public education, and degrades living standards. Legislators should close more tax loopholes and tax corporate profits instead! When the budget comes to the floor, make sure politicians know that voting NO is the only acceptable action.
4) Urge unions to hold politicians accountable. Bring a resolution to your union local that calls for withholding contributions to legislators who vote for a budget that hurts the most vulnerable and undermines public workers. It's time for unions and community groups to stop supporting anti-labor candidates of either the Democratic or Republican party.
5) Continue to hit the streets! Keep your picket signs ready to raise more heat through pickets, protests, walkouts and strikes! Pledge not to accept flimsy excuses from politicians who abandon poor and working people. Continue to push for a labor-community coalition that is open, democratic and grassroots. Build on the momentum of the April Week of Action for the remainder of this legislative session and beyond!
For information on upcoming actions and meetings of Sisters Organize for Survival, a campaign of Radical Women, visit SistersOrganizeforSurvival.org, email RWseattle@mindspring.com, or call 206-722-6057.
Donations are warmly encouraged. Mail checks payable to Radical Women/SOS to 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118. Or donate online at www.SistersOrganizeforSurvival.org