Victory in Los Angeles

Victory in Los Angeles

We are proud to share the news about a major victory for our movement in Los Angeles, where the Coalition of LA City Unions has reached a tentative deal with the city after more than a year of tense contract bargaining. As many of you know, unions representing LA City employees teamed up with community and faith-based groups in 2014 to form the Fix LA Coalition, which sought to restore vital City programs and services that have been cut during the Great Recession. Fix LA called attention to how severe cuts by City officials had left garbage on the streets, sewage overflows, unfilled potholes, torn-up sidewalks, and untrimmed trees to afflict Los Angeles residents. At the same time, the coalition released a groundbreaking report detailing how the LA spends $334 million per year on fees to big banks – more than its entire annual budget for street construction and maintenance. Together, workers and community partners held rallies, protested, launched petitions, released reports, and even authorized a strike to persuade Mayor Garcetti and the City Council to invest in Los Angeles communities, not Wall Street banks. By using collective bargaining to leverage positive change, the Fix LA Coalition faithfully applied the principles of Bargaining for the Common Good to its campaign. The new contract agreement between the City and its workers is a huge victory for the Fix LA Coalition and those who believe in Common Good Bargaining. It features a first-ever commitment by the City of Los Angeles to add 5,000 additional employees by fiscal year 2017-18.  The City had reduced its civilian workforce by thousands as a result of the revenue losses from the economic crisis. It establishes a Commission on Revenue Generation to...
Illinois Carries Out Common Good Bargaining

Illinois Carries Out Common Good Bargaining

In the midst of a staggering budget deficit and revenue crisis facing Illinois, Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools, and while facing unprecedented attacks on unions by the private equity firm Governor, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana (HCII) have entered contract negotiations with Chicago’s Board of Education and the State of Illinois respectively. Rather than putting their heads down and just focusing on averting deep cuts in pay and benefits, the CTU and SEIU HCII are joining forces with community allies such as the Grassroots Collaborative to launch bold, transformational campaigns. CTU and SEIU HCII are wedding their contract fight to a broader community-labor coalition that is demanding progressive revenue solutions at both the city and the state level. Groups across the state came together last week to hold a convening on progressive revenue solutions. There they laid out a Progressive Revenue Platform that includes reducing exorbitant bank fees, recovering money from toxic swap deals, passing a progressive income tax, closing corporate tax loopholes, and winning a LaSalle Street tax on financial transactions in Chicago’s exchanges, among other things. Together the groups have held actions at bank branches, occupied the State Capitol with the Revenue Truth Squad, and gotten the State House of Representatives to pass a resolution calling for any cuts in services to be matched by equally proportionate cuts in bank fees. Last week, when the banks that were responsible for Chicago Public Schools’ toxic swap deals came to town for a Bond Buyer conference, the CTU and allies greeted them with a picket. The coalition is also leading the charge against the concerted effort...
Fix LA Coalition Presents on the Budget That LA Needs

Fix LA Coalition Presents on the Budget That LA Needs

In Los Angeles, city workers and community allies from the Fix LA Coalition have been mobilizing to call on the Mayor to reverse cuts to vital city services that have left piles of garbage, unfilled potholes, and sewage overflows in the streets and compromised the health and safety of LA residents.  The Fix LA Coalition has questioned why public officials siphon nearly $300 million to Wall Street each year but refuse to adequately maintain the City. On Monday, May 4th, the Fix LA Coalition presented to the Budget and Finance Committee about the devastating effect of budget cuts on the wellbeing of the Los Angeles residents and proposed bold solutions that would lift up all Angelenos: Stimulate the economy by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and cracking down on wage theft Save money and enhance public safety by stopping the use of higher-paid police officers to do civilian work Aggressively work to reform Prop 13 Negotiate better deals with Wall Street Use more of LA’s record-high reserves to hire more Angelenos into good, middle-class City jobs Check out the compelling Fix LA Presentation to the Budget and Finance Committee to see how you can make the case for a fair, progressive budget in your own city or...
Los Angeles City Workers Vote to STRIKE

Los Angeles City Workers Vote to STRIKE

Los Angeles city workers from SEIU Local 721 have voted to strike as part of their efforts to fix LA. With the support of the Fix LA Coalition, they are taking a stand to restore the vital city services and the thousands of middle class jobs that were slashed after Wall Street crashed the economy. Workers and community activists are also demanding that the City reduce the $300 million it sends to big banks each year and use the savings to pay for the crossing guards, trash removal, street cleaning, and tree trimming services that make Los Angeles clean and safe for its residents. Lastly, city employees joined the nationwide movement to call for a $15 minimum wage for all workers in Los Angeles. Read more in the Los Angeles...
Denver Classroom Teachers Association Fights Toxic Swaps

Denver Classroom Teachers Association Fights Toxic Swaps

In Denver last month, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association held a training with 200 members to educate teachers about the role that toxic swaps had played in draining hundreds of millions out of the district budget. Denver Public Schools was trapped in some of the most egregious predatory financial deals in the country and had to pay huge termination penalties to get out. One of the former school board members who voted to approve the deals in 2008 has now come forth as a whistleblower, demanding that the SEC investigate the...
Exposing Wall Street’s Predatory Behavior in Wisconsin

Exposing Wall Street’s Predatory Behavior in Wisconsin

The Refund America Project is working to expose Wall Street’s predatory behavior in Wisconsin, where public officials are pushing for austerity cuts on vital infrastructure such as public education. In its compelling report, RAP lays out a clear choice for Wisconsin’s elected representatives: “disinvest in education and other vital services, which hurts ordinary working people; or hold Wall Street accountable for its destructive effect on our economy and take action to get taxpayer money back from...