Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's Solidarity Saturday: What to do

That would be today, when tens and probably hundreds of thousands of American workers will join rallies in all 50 states to hold the line in the war against workers. (If you haven't found a rally yet, go here, here or here.)

Teamsters have the whole protest drill down: show up sober, dress for the weather, bring water and keep your hands in your pockets so they can't accuse you of violence.

But we do have some more advice:

1. Bring a camera, still or video. If it isn't captured in video or photographs, it didn't happen. And make sure you send the results to us (

2. Don't use vulgarities, either written or verbal. The Tea Party is just dying to call us racist, uncivil "union thugs."

3. Remember the message: We're protesting anti-worker (not "anti-union") legislation that would weaken protections for middle-class families.

4. Share fun facts with each other and any reporters who show up:
  • Total compensation (including benefits) is 6.8 percent lower for state employees and 7.4 percent lower for local workers with comparable education and experience (EPI).
  • Wages are more than $5,000 a year higher in states that have maintained protections for unions.
  • You are 52 percent more likely to die on the job in states that weakened union protections.
  • There is no relationship at all between job creation and laws that weaken unions.
  • Nevada has weak union protections and the highest unemployment in the country.
  • Arizona has laws that weaken unions and the second-highest poverty rate in the U.S.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of Texas's public-sector workers are covered by union contracts, but the state has a $25 billion deficit over the next two years.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received $43,000 from the Koch brothers, in addition to $5 million from the Republican Governors Association, which in turn received $1 million from the Kochs and another $1 million from billionaire Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch.