Poor People’s Campaign Defends Workers’ Rights – Sacramento



by Duane Campbell

Hundreds of tenants, low-wage workers, clergy, union members and community activists descended upon the California state capitol today in a show of collective power to demand that state lawmakers take action to address the state’s homelessness crisis and to combat the systemic racism and poverty in our communities.

Working families traveled from San Diego, Los Angeles, Salinas, and the Bay Area to join in this fifth successive week of nonviolent direct action.


California DSA Members at the Poor People’s Campaign  June 11, 2018

Speakers and participants included union workers protesting the attack on workers rights and their unions.   Anti-worker attacks – like Janus V AFSCME –  would create so called ‘Right to Work’ status for government workers in California and around the nation.  See demands below.

“ The greedy rich and the corporations backing Janus are coming after us because they know about our power in numbers, and they know what we can accomplish when we stand together,” said David Dunbar a SEIU Local 721 member from Los Angeles.

As the rally concluded, hundreds entered the capitol building to take their message directly to the lawmakers and to bear witness to their crisis when communities are torn apart by homelessness, poverty wages, systemic racism, and corporate greed.

Today’s event was one of thirty in state capitols across the nation and in Washington D.C.  This is the fifth week of the campaign.  The protests across the nation are organized to reignite the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 started by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and many others to challenge racism poverty and militarism.

Demands: Protect Workers, Their Families and the Right To Organize

The expectation of finding one good job and keeping it for a lifetime has been replaced by the need to jump from job to job, without secure benefits or steady income. Workers are increasingly bearing all the economic risk of corporate losses, economic downturn and unemployment. Jobs are not only outsourced, but they are also automated away. Low wages are the norm.


With no regular workplace, no reliable hours of work, workers struggle with record levels of income inequality, the rise of working homelessness, and an epidemic of discrimination and sexual harassment in low-wage industries. Low-wage women workers and workers of color are especially vulnerable to harassment and discrimination.

Despite California’s reportedly “full employment” job market, low-wage jobs increasingly trap families in poverty, push them into vicious cycles of pay-day debt and offer no hope for a better or more stable future. Meanwhile, these same forces behind the fractured economy have sought to undermine unions, the last line of defense against corporate greed. According to the California Labor Federation, “Labor unions have resisted this race to the bottom, fought to preserve the eight-hour day and lunch breaks, protected workplace safety standards, raised the minimum wage, and fought misclassification. If they can effectively silence the Labor Movement, nothing stands in the way of unabated greed and exploitation.”


Demand: Protect Right to Collectively Bargain. At a time of record income inequality, poverty, and attacks on workers’ rights, we urge elected officials to stand by workers and protect and strengthen their right to collective bargaining.


Demand: Guarantee Employment for Everyone Who Wants to Work and Require a Living Wage; Immediately Implement a $15 Wage as a First Step.


Demand: Protect and Promote the Right of Workers to Organize; Support Legislation That Reinforces The Right of All Workers to Organize, including SB 1402 (Lara) which offers protections for port truckers; & SB 1403 (Lara) which to ensure publically subsidized electric vehicle industry partners are fair and responsible employers; and, AB 3080 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) to stop forced waivers of workers’ rights through mandatory arbitration agreements.


Demand: Support Workers to Know Their Rights, including: SB 926 (Skinner) and AB 2079 (Gonzalez-Fletcher), which protects worker information, including right to be free of harassment and discrimination.


Demand: Enact Legislation To Extend The Statute Of Limitations For Enforcing Wage And Hour Violations: AB 2946 (Kalra), (6 mo. to 3 yrs).


Demand: Prevent Barriers to Work for People with Prior Conviction; Enact

AB 2138 (Chiu & Low), AB 2293 (Reyes), SB 1412 (Bradford).


Demand: Expand Paid Sick Time to At Least 7 Days; Expand the Length of Time Available for Paid Family Leave To At Least 3 Months; Establish the Right of Workers to Have a Fair and Predictable Work Schedule; Raise and Extend Unemployment Income. Immediately hold hearings as a first step.


Demand: Fully Fund Child Care and Raise Compensation Of Caregivers For Their Labor; Start by Funding an Additional 1,000-2000 Slots In the 2018-2019 Budget


Demand: Protect Pay from Predatory Loans and Debt-Collector-Take-All Policies; Enact SB 298 (Wieckowski) to cap levies on bank accounts;  Reintroduce AB 2500 (Kalra) to extend interest rate caps to larger loans, and Enact SB 2953 (Limon) and AB 3010 (Limon) to limit predatory practices in car title lending and for smaller loans.




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