2011 Columns From the President

Jerry Brown is Governor Once Again; Let's Get to Work!

January 2011 - On January 3, 2011, Jerry Brown, the 34th Governor of California, was sworn in as our 39th Governor, and in his inaugural remarks, he was strikingly blunt and honest about the enormity of our state's problems, and the incredibly difficult challenges that lie before us. Former governor Schwarzenegger has handed off to Brown an 18-month deficit of $28 billion, a staggering number even in the context of government budgets. (Read More)

Business and Labor Agree: Now is the Time to Build

February 2011 - Something so unusual that it is almost unheard of happened recently. The AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who usually disagree on everything, actually found themselves in complete agreement and said so. (Read More)

Workers Must Stand United as Right Wing Launches All Out Attack on Unions

March 2011 - As crowds of more than 50,000 union workers swarmed the Wisconsin state capitol recently to protest that state's Republican governor's attack on them, a Republican Congressman from Wisconsin named Paul Ryan mused, "It's like Cairo has moved to Madison." (Read More)

As Republicans Do Nothing, Kochs Keep Controlling California

April 2011 - As I'm writing this at the end of March, it looks like California is not going to have a state budget for a long while, because that's the way out-of-state billionaires who have scared and intimidated the Republican puppets they control want it. (Read More)

A Light at the End of the Tunnel? Maybe, But We Cannot Give up the Fight

May 2011 - Our terrible national recession, born from the George W. Bush era policies of coddling Wall Street billionaires, and made worse in California by the anti-worker fervor of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is now approaching five years old. (Read More)

Balgenorth examines "Life Without Unions?"

June 2011 - The Los Angeles Times recently published a harrowing and heartbreaking report about how thousands of children in India, as young as eight years old, are forced to work in coal mines, or else face starvation with their families. The wealthy owners of the mines value their cheap labor, the story explains, because "their small bodies are well suited to the narrow coal seams." It goes on to describe how the kids crawl into "rat hole" shafts, then, lying horizontally, hack away with picks and bare hands for hours. Then they emerge dragging their product behind them, "their faces and lungs blackened by coal." (Read More)

More Anti-PLA Efforts are Underway as the War on Workers Targets California

July 2011 - It's official now here in California. The anti-worker extremists have declared war on all of us in the Building Trades; on our jobs, our livelihoods, and our futures. As you are reading this, they are out there gathering signatures to place measures on the 2012 ballot to ban Project Labor Agreements in the City of San Diego, as well as in both the City and County of Sacramento. (Read More)

ABC's Sham Study Debunked Before it is Released

August 2011 - It looks like the anti-worker extremists at ABC have gotten too devious and underhanded for their own good. Recently, they paid one of those right-wing propaganda outfits with a deceptively neutral name to produce a study that would show the world that Project Labor Agreements increase the cost of school construction. (Read More)

Billionaire Tells Congress to Stop Coddling the Billionaires

September 2011 - Since the early days of the George W. Bush administration, reasonable people have been pointing out the irrationality of his policy of coddling billionaires with huge tax cuts. I've complained about it more than once in this space. Yet the craziness continues. Even after President Obama's election, with Democratic majorities in Congress, Republicans were still able to hold federal budgets hostage by filibustering, and have consequently kept the Bush era tax breaks for the super-wealthy in place. (Read More)

Legislature Seizes Initiative to Protect Local Governments' Freedom to Choose PLAs

October 2011 - Sometimes in the ring, after a fighter has received some painful blows, he'll come out in the next round with a fresh strategy and new energy, surprising his opponent with an unexpected urgency and purpose that swings the momentum, and ultimately results in victory. (Read More)

Like Predatory Insects, Extremists Appear Every Seven Years to Silence California Workers' Voices

November 2011 - There are some species of cicada, a fly-like insect, that emerge from the ground every seven years and attack crops, shrubs and trees, often leaving great damage in their wake. They're known for a uniquely loud and grating buzz. Similarly, in California, another form of insect-like life, extreme right-wing corporate billionaires, seem to emerge every seven years to attack the voices of California workers. And to workers, their buzz is more annoying than the cicada's. (Read More)

High-Speed Rail Will Restore California's "Pioneering Spirit"

December 2011 - "This project" the New York Times recently reported on California's High- Speed Rail plan, "goes to the heart of the state's pioneering spirit, recalling grand public investments in universities, water systems, roads and parks that once defined California as the leading edge of the nation." Then, after explaining all the benefits of better transportation, a stronger economy, a boom in employment, a cleaner environment and a higher quality of life, the Times summarized the simplistic opposition of a Republican politician who said: "It's a boondoggle." (Read More)

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