Council 36 Hosts Gubernatorial Hopefuls

The statewide AFSCME California politial endorsement process kicked off at Council 36 on Saturday, March 10, as dozens of leaders and rank-and-file members of affiliated unions addressed gubanatorial hopefuls and other candidates on issues of importance to working families. Carson's Ana Meni, Council 36 Chair of the Political and Legislative Action Committee, Carmen Hayes-Walker, President of the 5,000-member LA City clerical and support Local 3090, and others asked prepared questions including:

Janus v AFSCME: What can California lawmakers do to control the damage in a post-Janus labor landscape? How would you work to level the playing field for working families in these times of record income gaps and a disappearing middle class?

Retirement Security:  The scapegoating of teachers, firefighters, social workers, 911 emergency dispatchers, librarians, sanitation drivers, tree trimmers and countless other public service providers, has become a national pastime since the crashing of our economy by big banks. Meanwhile, underfunding, questionable investment decisions, imperfect assumptions on market returns, declining interest rates, and the structure of defined benefit plans have led policy-makers to a crossroads on pension policy. Would you embrace additional so-called “pension reforms,” such as the 2012 PEPRA law? What assurances can you give that you would fight to assure that every worker could look forward to a secure retirement?

Outsourcing: Contracting out has created instability in the public sector workforce, a reduction in quality of many services (including public safety), wage suppression, labor exploitation and other issues.  Under what circumstances do you support the contracting out of public services? 

Water: The California Water Fix is experiencing difficulties with the project in regards to the infrastructure disputes and funding challenges.  What is your position on the new Tunnel project and what would you like to see happen?

MMBA: Would you amend this law so that what is currently advisory would become a mandate? This AFSCME Council 36-sponsored bill, signed several years ago by Gov. Brown, mandates that a labor representative for a public employee unit can call for fact finding in the case of a bargaining impasse with a local public employer.  However, the law stops short: Gov. Brown left the public employer with the authority to take fact finding reports into account on purely an advisory, non-binding, basis.  Would you support and sign an amendment to this law, which would make it consistent with the 40-year-old binding language in the the CA Education Code, so that these findings are binding rather than merely advisory? 

Sustainability: How would you work with both labor and climate change activists to assure a sustainable economy and sustainable future in California? Are there policies that you would champion that benefit the interests of both workers AND the environment?