The California Supreme Court on October 4th found that the Governor did not have the authority to impose furloughs. But wait for it….wait for it… because the legislature approved the budget with the furlough order in place the legislature gave its concent to the furloughs and therefore at least 17 months of the 18 month furlough were legal. The legislative majority is “aghast” as they did not realize they were giving the authority to the Governor when they approved the budget deal in 2009.
The Court also found that the Governor can line item veto programs even after the budget is passed. Some describe this as the rise of the imperial governorship in California. The governor cut all sort of social programs to the detriment of the weakest among us and the courts have now backed him on this theft from the people.
The SEIU tries to paint this a a mixed victory because the furloughs can only be imposed with the consent of the legislature. While workers lost tens on thousands of dollars some lost homes, cars, some lost their families under the pressure and the union tops shrug it off like a win!
Bottom line the Courts line up with the Governor against the workers. No matter how the SEIU tries to paint it we got fucked while our unions fiddled around with lawyers who promised us the furloughs were illegal and we would win in court.
When the furloughs first were put on us this writer approached my union (CAPS) and said what will we do to stop the furloughs. Our union (a glorified legal firm) said they would sue. I told them that they would loose and that this was a dead end strategy to put faith in the capitalist system’s courts because these courts act in the interest of the capitalist class and not the workers. I explained that the capitalists are trying to drive down our wages 15% and that the furloughs are the first step in crushing our unions. The union tops pooh-poohed my comments and dismissed the call of the inter-union organizing committee (a rank and file committee at CDPH) for strike action.
Now we have lost over 45 days of pay (about 15%) of our pay over the last 20 months. This is money we will never see again. Had we gone out on strike for only a small fraction of this time we would have changed the political landscape in California and given the working class across the country and the world much needed inspiration to fight the cuts we are all facing.
Our unions leaderships have shown that they are out of touch with reality. They place faith in the courts and in the political parties of the capitalist class. This is putting a knife in the back of those who pay the dues. Our unions today are no longer fighters for the working class they are little more than dues collection agencies filled with class collaborators who provide little more than free tickets to the parking lot of Lego Land and Magic mountain.
These leaderships need to be run out of the union halls and replaced with real fighters who are not afraid to use the power of the class the ability to STRIKE! This means we need to crush Taft Hartley by direct action uniting all public workers in massive united strike action. Look to Spain, to Greece, to the workers in China! All across the world workers take militant action but here we obsequiously accept free parking at Lego Land and useless lawyers as fair trade for our union dues. Something has got to give.