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President’s Message

Mickey

MICKEY KASPARIAN
President

Voting Matters: Elect good Labor-Friendly Candidates Nov. 8

At a time of uncertainty in the world, we are on the verge of an election that will set our nation’s course into the next decade. You can have a say in the future of working Americans.

How is that, you ask? By voting.

We have an upcoming presidential election, which normally gets people out to vote. We have a list of Labor-endorsed candidates (see page 10.) so I urge you to educate yourselves and vote all the way down the ballot – from President to school boards and special districts, such as your local water boards.

It’s so important for us to vote so workers’ rights and the principle of equity do not erode so much that our social divisions cannot be repaired. In other words, we can’t let income and wealth inequality continue.

Voting is a tool we can use to stop the current atmosphere of social division. We simply must continue to protect our working families this November and every day.

When we elect candidates who have workers’ best interests at heart, we get laws passed that help our families and others. Such as, The Grocery Worker Retention Act that was carried by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. This law provides grocery workers with continuing their jobs for three months when a store is sold to someone new. Three months leads to job security.

There are also the new minimum wage laws in San Diego and the state thanks to our elected officials. In San Diego alone, we lifted up 172,000 workers by voting in June to raise the local minimum wage, including five sick days for all. In turn, we were able to raise wages for our grocery workers accordingly.

We cannot afford to sit by and let others make our decisions for us. Workers, modern industry leaders and government must work in accord, and the need for strong, courageous leaders fighting for working Americans is as important as ever, if not more.

Our economy is driven more and more by innovative technologies meant to create convenience, but convenience also can displace tens of thousands of workers. Whether it is self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, more use of robots at the ports, or the future use of self-driving cars and trucks to move goods and people, “disruptive technologies” do more than disrupt behavior, they disrupt working people’s lives and incomes.

This is a self-defeating process that our economy simply cannot sustain.

The combination of technological innovation, passage of free-trade agreements such as NAFTA and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and weakened labor laws, has led to a loss of income for many American workers and contributed to a rise in inequality. As our society becomes more unequal, democratic institutions start to fray. As a result, cries of mistrust begin to resonate more with the average American, because they aren’t reaping gain from innovation and free-trade pacts. This is another reason we need to vote.

We endorse candidates who support the issues that matter most to California’s working families, and we fight to de-seat those who have proven to be anti-labor. We also provide analysis on how ballot propositions and referenda would affect California’s working families.

Technology companies, government and labor can work together to create new productive pathways for training for the thousands of workers who have lost their jobs. More can be done to help move people into the “21st century” job-market. Legislatively we can make this happen by electing the right people.

We are a diverse union family — racially, ethnically, and politically — and while we may not all share the same political beliefs or preference for candidates, it’s still important that every UFCW member has the opportunity to express their views about the issues they care about the most.

I am confident we can protect working families if we just vote.