Kaiser

Tim Paulson, headshot

It’s time for a change! Please vote to elect Joe Biden to be our next president! Please vote to make our own Kamala Harris our next Vice President.

Please look at the union Building Trades’ endorsements in this issue. For other counties, call your union for their endorsements on candidates as well as local and state ballot measures. If you care about the public sector trades folks in our unions vote Yes on F in San Francisco to stave off furloughs or wage cuts.

In San Francisco we have good relations with some of our employers. But many of us don’t. The new hot shot companies – UBER and LYFT – who have put Prop 22 on the ballot (NO ON 22!) think that their employees don’t deserve health care, Social Security, unemployment insurance or workers compensation if they get injured. And they are spending $200 million dollars on TV ads and other false mailings to get their new business model to overturn the Supreme Court decision that stopped their anti-worker practices. We don’t work for scraps as independent contractors. We need a voice at work and drivers for these companies can barely make ends meet. NO ON 22! If this passes employers in all industries will start to avoid hiring halls and look for “independent (sic) contractors” to take our work for less.

When I was a young business agent with the Bricklayers and Tilelayers union I used to write an article during contract negotiations. It was called “Bobby.” It was about a guy then, but today, if I wrote it, it would be all genders.

When “Bobby” is young and chasing around to find a spouse all Bobby wants is to cash in his check and money in his pocket. “Bobby” would go to union meetings and sitting with his pals they’d yell from the back of the room (where they’d stashed the beer), “Put all the money on my damn check!!”

“Bobby” gets married and has a kid. When the union representatives call for a meeting to discuss how to allocate the wage increase, “Bobby” screams, “I want better healthcare. Put the money into my health plan!”

“Bobby” has worked for 30 years straight. Her/his body is getting weary. “Bobby” gets the union meeting notice to discuss the $4.00 allocation of negotiated hourly increases. “Bobby” sits in the front row and screams, “Put the money into my retirement. Don’t forget us old folks who need money when we retire!”

I am getting close to being that “old folk.” I have earned good middle-class wages during my career. Never got rich. I have a good health plan – though it is still too expensive and most people don’t have what I have. In a few months I will have access to a bunch of pensions from all the places I have worked so I won’t starve and live the last phase of my life with a decent amount of cash in my pocket. And despite Donald Trump and the Republican politicians failed attempts to eliminate and give away my Social Security benefits to their Wall Street bosses, I will also get a Social Security check to help in my retirement.

This is why I belong to a union. I have a voice at work. If the bosses, like those at Walmart, have the only voice, we would be all be pulling wire, laying pipe and brick, troweling cement and moping hot tar on roofs for only a fraction above the minimum wage.

Elections have consequences. Voting is the most non-violent act an American can undertake.

Please vote! Be safe.
And wear your damn masks!

aflcio 18 – opeiu29

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