by Tim Paulson, Secretary-Treasurer
San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and our wonderful San Francisco Congressional representative has stated that when the President of the United States submits a budget to Congress, it is a direct reflection of the “values of our country.”
Anti-worker President Trump submitted his budget this month. His budget proposal calls for wholesale cuts to Social Security benefits for the elderly, Medicare, school financing and environmental protections. It also includes no provisions for infrastructure and re-building America…. The list goes on. Shameless.
And these budget cuts are proposed to make up the gap for the trillion dollar tax cut he and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky gave to the 1%: the rich corporations and individuals who didn’t need any of it and then paid for them to get elected.
“Make America Great Again” means ignoring workers and is a hoax. Those workers in the Midwest states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and others who have lost their jobs to the outsourcing of factory and manufacturing jobs who voted for Trump because they were frustrated with the current state of Washington, D.C. were snookered by his phony campaign. His rhetoric during the presidential campaign has turned out to be lies, and it is significantly clear that he has no priorities for union-trained construction workers. Trump’s values are clear. He doesn’t give a **** about you or me or our families. (Have any of you been invited to Mar-a-Lago, or whatever that goofy Florida place is?)
Some of you may be familiar with Samuel Gompers, one of our great former labor representatives who organized and brought many of our labor unions into the American Federation of Labor over a hundred years ago. He was head of the cigar makers union – go figure - before taking the reign of the new American Federation of Labor.
One of his more poignant speeches talked about “values.”
He stated and bellowed: “What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.”
And to provide a decent life for our families.
Ironically, as a fighter, he also proclaimed: “Reward our friends and punish our enemies.” As a labor organizer, I don’t forget that missive. That’s why we walk precincts and volunteer to participate in phone banks.
In California, we did that in seven Congressional seats and where. with the major support of labor, we were the most important state to help Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of the House of Representatives again.
Hopefully we will continue that political momentum and have a worker friendly President elected in 2020 to get rid of the knucklehead.
On another level, I have hired a new full time executive assistant. Her name is Sandra Duarte and is a true professional that I stole from the private sector. She is born and raised in San Francisco and comes from a union family. (Her father is a Transport Workers Union 250-A cable car operator.) We will soon be sending out an email to all the affiliates with her email and contact information and get the building trades office up and running at the level you all deserve. Thanks for everyone’s patience.
As reflected in the front page story in this edition of Organized Labor, our City and County unions are in full bargaining mode. Our Craft Coalition, co-chaired by me and President Larry Mazzola, Jr., have exchanged dozens of proposals over three bargaining sessions with the City, and we will be responding and getting into the meat of these negotiation as we speak.
City workers want a real raise after rolling over their contract for two years ,as well as sacrificing and taking furloughs during the downturns after the market crash. And I can report that all your business representatives are fighting hard for you.
I want to give a special shout out to my union, Bricklayer, Tilelayers and Allied Crafterworkers Local 3. Representative Steve Kantoniemi and Organizer Dave Tafoya delivered and provided to the building trades office in San Francisco a beautifully crafted marble slab for my new desk - cut, finished and polished by apprentices at the BAC training center in Tracy, California. I remember when I was the Tile apprenticeship coordinator when we laid the black marble slab at the entrance to the San Jose Building and Construction Trades offices almost twenty year ago. The Brick, Marble, Tile and Allied Craftworkers tradition of service continues.
Last note: I hope that you have a presence in Sacramento on April 1-2 where the entire California labor movement gathers for our annual legislative conference. State Building Trades and the California Federation of Labor workshops on Monday; meetings with legislators on Tuesday.