Category Archives: Tallahassee

Alabama surpasses Arizona with racist anti-immigrant law

by KurtFF8

Alabama recently passed a new anti-immigrant law that many have described as “more harsh” than the controversial anti-immigrant law in Arizona that essentially promotes racial profiling (this argument is focused on the fact that folks can be questioned for being “suspected of” being an undocumented worker).  Georgia recently passed a similar law, making the South the center of the immigration debate.

As usual, both sides of the “mainstream” debate fall short of getting to the real issues at heart: the real manifestations of racism, and international labor relations (see NAFTA as an important variable to immigration itself).  Even the “liberal” arguments against these laws are full of sentiments like “well immigrants do the jobs no one else wants to do for that price.”  This line of logic is just as problematic as the more “overtly racist” arguments by the far-Right, in that the “servant class” role for undocumented workers is seen as justified or not problematic itself.

Florida also recently attempted to pass a similar law, but the state legislature as not unified and faced a strong activist response (with the Florida Capitol looking a lot like the halls of the Wisconsin Capitol for a few days).

These laws need to be fought with a mass movement based on solidarity and workers power.

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Filed under Alabama, class struggle, Florida, Georgia, Human Rights, immigration, Leftists in the U.S. South, racism, Southern United States, Tallahassee, workers

The Florida Legislative Session

by KurtFF8

The following video was produced by the Florida AFL-CIO about the actions that workers took to fight back against the reactionary legislature in Florida.

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Filed under class struggle, Corporations, Florida, Gulf States, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern United States, Students, Tallahassee

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