District Council Report
Quarterly Journal of the Southern California Pipe Trades

Winter 2012

Volume 23, Number 2




Once Again—When it Really Counted—UA Members Demonstrated Their Strength and Commitment!

Over the years, we have likened the strength and resiliency of the UA, and its members and families throughout Southern California, to links in a strong, enduring chain. A chain that provides mutual support and solidarity, but one that can only be as strong and effective as the participation of each individual UA member.

You—the brothers, sisters and families in the unions that make up District Council 16—are those links. You are the glue that holds our organization together. You are the engine that powers us forward—in the workplace and in the halls of political power. You provide the chain’s strength and make it unbreakable.

And, brothers and sisters, did you come through like champs in the recent elections!

Because of your outpouring of volunteer help in the weeks and months leading up to November 6, the UA—nationally and in California—and organized labor won some smashing victories!

Crushing that Awful Proposition 32!

As you know, this third attempt to muzzle the voice of organized labor and destroy the union movement in California was the most deceptive and far-reaching effort by corporate America and the radical right wing to kill us. They tried in 1998 (Proposition 226) and again in 2005 (Proposition 75), and we kicked their collective ass.

But Prop. 32 was far more dangerous: Under the deceptive title of Removing the Influence of Money from California Campaigns, its anti-working people backers really planned to cut off union financial contributions to political partisan and issue-oriented campaigns while allowing corporations to throw as much money as they chose into those races. And we all know that if organized labor could not contribute financially to elected officials and chosen candidates, we would be totally shut out of the political process. It’s not pretty, but that’s political reality.

So the UA did what it always has done: Relied on the strength and commitment of its members and families. Yes, we contributed a significant amount of money to the anti-Prop. 32 campaign (organized labor’s highest priority this election), but it was your volunteering, your enthusiasm, dedication and hard work, that helped turn the tide and beat back this evil attempt to gag us.

Working through your local unions and the Council, UA volunteers phoned thousands of voters, both in union and non-union homes. Other volunteers canvassed their neighborhoods and public places, reaching out to voters with our message about the deception and lies spread by the pro-32 crowd. Still other UA stalwarts walked precincts, registered new pro-union voters, and then got out the massive vote on Election Day.

Brothers and sisters, you made the difference! The overwhelming defeat of Prop. 32 by over a million votes, was your win, a well-earned, vital win for unions, working families, and simple political fairness. Congratulations!

Securing California’s Future

Along with crushing Prop. 32, those same UA volunteers—those strong links in our chain—contributed greatly to the passage of Governor Jerry Brown’s much-needed Proposition 30. As you know, Prop. 30 will provide billions of dollars to shore up our crumbling public-education system in California. Other than securing union rights and access to the political system, nothing can be more important than providing the best-possible, affordable education for every grade-school kid and student who wants to go to community or four-year colleges.

By extending—not raising—the current state sales tax, passage of Prop. 30 ensured that public schools in California will not become like those in, say, Mississippi. Passage of Prop. 30, and the work and time every UA volunteer put into that effort, means that our kids will have full school years, more textbooks and equipments, and, perhaps most important, they will learn in smaller classrooms than would have been possible had Prop. 30 gone down. Congratulations again on a job well done!

Re-electing the President

We did that, too, again with your volunteer help: Calling, walking, leafleting, and getting the right message out. President Obama, who has been a good friend to organized labor, all along was going to carry California, so both the state and county federations of labor were free to pour most of their resources into defeating Prop. 32 and passing Prop. 30. Still, it was gratifying to have the President win by a landslide here. In fact, it was the overwhelming California popular vote that finally allowed the President to pull ahead, once and for all, in the national popular vote over that out-of-touch-with-working-people Mitt Romney! Once more, congratulations to you!

Strengthening the State and Federal Legislatures

At the legislative level, our success in California was truly remarkable and, once again, it would not have been possible without UA volunteers and thousands of others from organized labor throughout the state.

In a political revolution unseen in California for decades, the Democrats will have what are called “super-majorities” in both houses of the state legislature. This means that they can craft and enact pro-working people legislation without big-business Republicans being able to stop them. It means that one or two die-hard right-wing Republicans cannot block passage of legislation designed to strengthen union rights, ensure jobsite safety, promote better education and healthcare, and clean up our environment! With Democratic Governor Brown in the statehouse, and two-thirds majorities in the state assembly and senate, we stand a very strong chance of really getting important things done!

California’s federal Congressional delegation has increased its Democratic majority as a result of the November 6 elections—including, to everyone’s surprise, capturing of a long-time seat in the staunchly pro-Republican bastion of San Diego (which just a few months ago handily approved harsh sanctions against its public employees!). We also elected Bob Filner, Mayor of San Diego which ensures PLA’S will provide U.A. jobs!

It was an all-around terrific night for pro-union Democrats, and it demonstrated once again how important it was for UA volunteers to join other unionized brothers and sisters in getting out our vote and getting our message across!

Every one of you volunteers did yourselves, your local union, and the UA proud! Outstanding work and commitment!


On the Job

As both the state and national economies slowly—and steadily—grow again, there was generally good news for UA members on the job.

  • We had no strikes or job actions at any of the sites where UA members work
  • California UA members lost no benefits, be they healthcare, safety or pension standards
  • The average number of hours worked by District Council 16 members reached a high not seen since September 2008.
  • Next year promises to be even better for UA members on the job in Southern California

There you have it, brothers and sisters. A positive, promising end-of-year report, filled with outstanding political triumphs thanks to your volunteering and efforts, and an increasingly optimistic jobsite situation for UA members. You all truly are the iron links in our chain of strength and achievement!

The entire staff of District Council 16 wishes every UA member and family a joyous, peaceful and safe holiday season and the very best of everything in 2013!

Winter 2012

Winter 2012

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Winter 2008

District Council Report Winter 2008

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