Friday, March 30, 2012

Woo-hoo! SB 469 killed in GA!

At midnight in Georgia we celebrated a tremendous and unexpected victory for labor, civil rights groups, religious groups and the Tea Party. The heinous SB 469 bill -- anti-union, anti-free speech and un-American -- died when the legislative session ended.

We're relying on our fabulous tweeps in Georgia -- @erictheteamster (Teamster Eric Robertson), Teamster @JimNichols and @JennAudrey (Jennifer Kauffman of the AFL-CIO) -- for the news. The bill would have criminalized picketing and interfered with a worker's right to decide to join a union.

Last night @jennaudrey tweeted:
Sine die! Georgia session over and anti-free speech bill #SB469 is dead! #WeAreGA! #1u #stateSOS #p2 #ows
We were up against a powerful enemy. The bill was sponsored by four members of ALEC, the corporate conspiracy supported by the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) writes bills for state lawmakers that are good for corporations and bad for ordinary people and democracy. SB 469 had ALEC's fingerprints all over it. Here's the New York Times' Paul Krugman recently on ALEC:
What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.
In defeating SB 469, Teamsters Local 728, led by President Randy Brown and energized by organizer Ben Speight, deserves huge props. They did extraordinary work bringing attention to this attack on our rights and reaching out to allies in the community. Without them, SB 469 would have passed through the House and Senate like poop through a goose. A handful of people made an enormous difference.

A big lesson from this amazing victory is the power of social networking -- especially twitter -- to inform and mobilize allies you didn't know you had. You may not find more passionate or effective tweeters in the union than Eric and Jim. It's hard to imagine this victory without twitter. So folks, get tweeting!