Friday, August 1, 2008

Wal-Mart's Anti-Worker Tactics Continue

The Wall Street Journal today reported that anti-worker mega-company Wal-Mart is holding mandatory meetings where they strongly encourage their employees to vote against Democrats in November.

According to the WSJ:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

The article claims that Wal-Mart's reasoning behind the move is to stop passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Wal-Mart has stooped to a new low in trying to force their employees to vote Republican.

I wonder if these mandatory meetings where they "informed" their employees of how they would like them to vote were any different than the intimidation and other practices that are used to prevent employees from forming a union.

I shouldn't be surprised since it is just another example of Wal-Mart doing everything it can to prevent the fair treatment of their employees.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the CDP

John Chiang, our Democratic State Controller, is standing up to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm writing to ask you to stand up with him.

Unfortunately, in the midst of a looming multi-billion dollar budget crisis and a protracted budget battle, Gov. Schwarzenegger has decided that the best thing he could do was put the screws on our state workers by attempting to withhold all but $6.55 an hour of their pay until a budget is signed.

Despite withering criticism from almost every corner of California since he announced this scheme last week, Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed an Executive Order mandating it.

Not only is it extremely unfair and mean-spirited to force state workers to involuntarily loan the state money during a time when everyone is feeling the pain of our struggling economy, it's also not even Arnold's call to make.

According the non-partisan Legislative Counsel, it's our Controller not our Governor who has the authority to decide these types of things.

Fortunately we have a fighter in our Controller John Chiang, who has declared that he will stand up to Arnold's unfair and unproductive gimmicks and pay our state workers what we owe them.

Please stand up to Arnold and stand with Controller Chiang by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today.

Over the last few days, over seven thousand of you have signed our petition supporting John Chiang in his courageous stand against Arnold Schwarzenegger's irresponsible and unwarranted plan to slash the pay of state workers.

Now we need to step it up.

Today we're asking you to take your support for Controller Chiang to the next level. Please send a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining why you support John Chiang and oppose Arnold Schwarzenegger's harebrained scheme to use state employees as pawns in the budget impasse.

There will almost certainly be lawsuits filed about this, but right now the fight is in the court of public opinion. The Letters to the Editor section is one of the most widely-read sections of any newspaper, and politicians take what appears in that section very seriously.

The California Democratic Party has set up a web page that makes it easy to write a letter to the editor on this topic. Just go to We have sample letters, talking points, and some pointers to help you get started.

This fight is not only about the wages of our state workers. It's about the differences between Democrats and Republicans. It's about leaders like John Chiang who are trying to be productive and politicos like Arnold who only engage in stunts. It's about who we are as Californians and whether we are going to allow our state to act as though a civil servant who puts in an honest day's work doesn't deserve an honest wage.

Please take a moment and send a letter to your newspaper today.


Sen. Art Torres (Ret.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tony Young Recall effort

According to today’s UT,

San Diego City Councilman Tony Young has become the target of a recall effort in part because he supported the ouster of Carolyn Smith, president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.

The Fourth City Council District has always been a fractious place. You’re either loved or not. Mediocre popularity is not tolerated. Tony Young has been in this zone of “not exactly loved but above tolerable” for a while. I was only a matter of time before someone tried this. All that was lacking was a pretext.

I personally don’t think this recall has the legs to work but the Fourth is anything but predictable and I wouldn’t be very surprised if it did pick up steam from the dissatisfied.

The question isn’t if there are enough names out there; it’s about getting them. Besides, I think the scare of a recall will help keep the office focused on their task at hand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Teachers, Now State Employees...Governor Likes Playing Budget Games with Other People's Pay Checks

While we have always known that Governor Schwarzenegger does not think too highly of worker's rights, he recently announced a plan that would make the state's 200,000 employees the lowest paid workers in all of California.

Under the Governor's proposed executive order, which could be signed at any minute, state workers' pay would be slashed to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until a state budget is passed.

Luckily, State Controller John Chiang has stood up for all of the state's workers by openly defying the Governor's plan. While the Governor states he must do this to bridge the gap until a budget is approved, the Controller contends that the state has enough money on hand to cover bills through September.

In the meantime, state workers are asking for help from all Californians. Members of SEIU Local 1000 will be holding informational picket lines at DMV offices tomorrow starting at 7:30 a.m. If you have time, stop by to support all state workers. The offices are located at:

Chula Vista
30 N. Glover St., Chula Vista
(near N. 4th Ave. & Hwy. 54)

El Cajon
1450 Graves Ave., El Cajon
(near Hwy 67 & Bradley Ave.)

San Diego -- Clairemont
4375 Derrick Dr.
(off Genesee Ave. N. of Balboa Ave.)

San Diego -- Otay Mesa
6111 Business Center Ct.,
(off Hwy. 905 & Corporate Center Dr., 2 ½ miles E. of I-805)

Monday, July 28, 2008

U-T R.I.P.?

Because the Union-Tribune isn’t exactly coving it’s own sale, the Voice of San Diego had this bit from Randy Dotinga’s article:

"Given the devastation and uncertainty in the industry, it is unlikely that a public company would make a large purchase right now, as they would have their head handed to them," said Lauren Rich Fine, a retired Merrill Lynch newspaper analyst who teaches at Kent State University.

Instead, analysts think the most likely buyer would be a private company or a group of investors. But even that's a long shot considering that the few newspapers on the block aren't attracting offers.

At this point, everything is speculation, of course. Details about the U-T's financial condition are hard to come by since it is privately owned and not required to release data publicly.

One thing is clear, however: Battered by sharp falls in subscribers and advertising, the nation's 21st-largest newspaper is not in a position of strength. Its bid for buyers seems to be a sign of desperation.

"It defies all reason to want to sell the newspaper now, unless they believe that things are only going to get worse from here," said Alan Mutter, a media analyst and former newspaper executive.

What I find interesting is that even though San Diego is the 6th or 7th largest city in America, the U-T has the 22nd largest circulation of the country’s major dailies.


Maybe the free-marketers on the editorial board should do a piece on how their own newspaper’s inability to compete, especially in a monopolistic situation, is a sure sign that they shouldn’t be in this business in the first place.

The Voice the San Diego is regularly scooping them with one-tenth of the resources and nowhere near the same size of staff, although with layoffs at the U-T there may now be parity.

Diversification of portfolios, especially when it comes to revenue streams, is a basic lesson in business. I guess the management at the U-T thought it better not to try to improve their product beyond the superficial.

Well, the market has spoken.

Sunday, July 27, 2008