Category Archives: austerity measures

The economic crisis in the South

From a New York Times article

The once-booming South, which entered the recession with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, is now struggling with some of the highest rates, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

Several Southern states — including South Carolina, whose 11.1 percent unemployment rate is the fourth highest in the nation — have higher unemployment rates than they did a year ago. Unemployment in the South is now higher than it is in the Northeast and the Midwest, which include Rust Belt states that were struggling even before the recession.

For decades, the nation’s economic landscape consisted of a prospering Sun Belt and a struggling Rust Belt. Since the recession hit, though, that is no longer the case. Unemployment remains high across much of the country — the national rate is 9.1 percent — but the regions have recovered at different speeds.

Now, though, of the states with the 10 highest unemployment rates, six are in the South. The region, which relied heavily on manufacturing and construction, was hit hard by the downturn.

Economists offer a variety of explanations for the South’s performance. “For a long time we tended to outpace the national average with regard to economic performance, and a lot of that was driven by, for lack of a better word, development and in-migration,” said Michael Chriszt, an assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s research department. “That came to an abrupt halt, and it has not picked up.”

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Filed under Alabama, austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, immigration, labor movement, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, workers

Florida Workers and Students Fight Back!

by KurtFF8

All around Florida on Friday, students and workers help rallies and marches to voice their opposition to the anti-union attacks, attacks on women’s rights, students and education, and the environment.

Here is a list of videos and media coverage

News coverage:

Tallahassee Television coverage

Tallahassee FAMU newspaper coverage

Tallahassee FSU newspaper coverage

Pensacola coverage

Gainesville student paper coverage (also there is video coverage from the Alligator)

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Environment, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern United States, Students, Uncategorized

Fight Back Florida, March 25th

On March 25th, cities across Florida will be holding rallies and marches to demonstrate that Florida workers are going to fight back against the recent anti-worker measures introduced by the state legislature.

Rallies will be held in various cities around the state.  Check the website for more details http://www.fightbackflorida.com

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Students, Upcoming Events

Labor struggle heats up in Florida

[Originally posted on the PSL website]

 

March 11, 2011

Workers stand with taped mouths symbolizing the silencing of workers’ voices, Tallahassee, March 7.
Photo: Mike Chrisemer

As the state legislative session in Florida begins, the working class is increasingly becoming a target by lawmakers. The anti-worker state session began quickly, starting on March 7 when a senate committee held a hearing on SB830, a bill that would prohibit unions from automatically collecting dues from paychecks (a voluntary deduction that workers decide to have) and would prohibit dues money from being used in political activity.

Workers, students, and activists stood outside the meeting with tape over their mouths to represent the silencing of workers’ voices that this bill represents. The following day saw statewide rallies called “Awake the State,” which took place in 32 cities to oppose the attacks on workers by the state’s Republican Party. The event drew out over 10 thousand people statewide, dwarfing the Tea Party rallies in Tallahassee and elsewhere in the state.

These rallies were also held in opposition to the renewed attack on teachers and public education in Florida. Last year, SB6 would have pegged teachers pay to student test scores, ignoring the various factors that go into test results. However, due to intensive grassroots activism, then governor Charlie Crist vetoed the bill. However, a version of the union-busting bill has been revived in the new legislative session and is likely to pass.

Attacks on unemployed workers

In addition to the legislative attacks on collective bargaining and on teachers, hundreds of unemployed workers and their supporters protested in Tallahassee to oppose House Bill 7005, which cuts unemployment benefits. HB 7005 reduces the number of weeks of unemployment compensation from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, and also cuts the taxes imposed on business which are used to pay for unemployment. The bill passed the full house March 10.

It is estimated that 400,000 Floridians currently receive unemployment benefits: the state’s unemployment rate is about 12 percent. About 1 million people in Florida are without jobs.

The South is home to nine of the 10 states in the United States that have no collective bargaining rights for public workers, and Rick Scott recently made it known that he would like to see Florida become the 11th state (after having previously said that he did not want to go after those rights).

This shows the importance of organizing in the South, where workers are disproportionately denied a voice. Southern workers are now organizing in spite of these unfavorable conditions. While public sector workers in Wisconsin and Ohio fight to keep their collective bargaining rights, public workers in the South should begin fighting for those rights in the first place!

These anti-worker attacks follow attacks by governors across the country, as does the effort to fight back by workers. Only a fight back movement that advocates worker power can stop these attacks and move the workers movement forward. In Florida, workers are beginning to build a movement that will fight back!

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, State's rights, Tallahassee

A silent protest in Tallahassee

By KurtFF8

On Monday afternoon, a Florida Senate hearing was being held to discuss SB830, a bill which disallows unions from taking dues automatically through pay checks for public employees.  This bill also prohibits union dues from being used in political activity (source).  The AFL-CIO organized a silent protest outside of the committee room, with activists, labor members, and students taping their mouths shut to demonstrate the silencing they feel the bill would do to them.  Discussion of bill was later postponed due to “time constraints.”

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, Censorship, class struggle, Education, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Southern United States, Tallahassee, Uncategorized

Collective Bargaining in the South

By KurtFF8

A recent AP article points out that 9 of the 10 states in the United States that lack collective bargaining rights for state workers are found in the South.  The article points out that in places like Virginia, the drive is to move pensions from a government benefit for state workers to an investment in the private sector.

This is a Neo-Liberal move that is in line with the continued “enclosure of the commons” method of taking everything that is in the public sector and making it for profit in the private sector.  When unions are unable to negotiate for their own workers, the balance of power remains more firmly at the top with the most powerful of society.  As Leftists, we don’t merely want to call for a “balance of power,” however.  Our goal is to tip the balance in favor of the working class so it can itself achieve power for itself as a class.

The fact that the majority of states that lack collective bargaining for state workers fall in the South underlines the argument that organizing in the South should be a top priority for those who want to build the labor movement in general.

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Liberalism, Mississippi, North Carolina, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, Virginia

No Demolition! Hands Off Iberville! (New Orleans)

David Gilmore, the federally-imposed-administrator of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, want to make life even more miserable for working class New Orleanians by demolishing the Iberville Public Housing development. To add insult to injury they have given the contract to greedy developer Pres Kabacoff, who drove hundreds of poor families from St. Thomas and still, a decade later, has not built the 100 off site apartment he promised.  But, to carry out their crime, HANO, Landrieu, and Kabacoff need a multi-million dollar grant from the Department of Housing Urban Development. Join us Saturday, December 18 as we demand:

·         No to a HUD Choice Neighborhood grant to demolish Iberville

·         Yes to a massive public works program to rebuild Public Housing, Schools, Hospitals and Infrastructure

Press Conference, Rally and March

Saturday, December 18

12 Noon

Meet on neutral ground, corner of St Louis and Basin St.

Sponsor: Hands Off Iberville.  For more information call 504-520-9521

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Filed under African Americans, austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Event Announcement, Gulf States, housing, Human Rights, Louisiana, National Oppression, New Orleans, Public housing, Race, Solidarity, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events, workers