[The following is the text of the campaign’s Labor Day 2013 flyer. You can find the formatted version being handed out at any Astoria street corner near you!–JK]
Q: What can a member of
New York City Council do for the Labor Movement?
First of all, as the new City Councilmember from Astoria, I can (and will) vocally support new union organizing. The best example of that is the nationwide movement of fast food workers. (Go to FastFoodForward.org to learn about the ridiculous sums of money that CEO’s of the big fast food chains “earn” — on average, about $25,000 a day! ) This new union of workers is right on target demanding a wage of $15 an hour. Their actions are bold, brave, and perfectly reasonable.
Second, I can (and will) advocate for prompt contract settlement for municipal workers who have long been working without contracts. We can cover the deficit this may create by raising the city’s Personal Income Tax 1% on residents who make more than $500,000 a year. If this doesn’t make the nut, we can put in place a graduated tax increase for those in the upper brackets — a higher percentage for those making $1 million a year, a still higher percentage for those making $2 million, and so on up the ladder until we’ve covered the cost of fair contacts for city workers. The idea that this could bankrupt some of the richest people on Earth is a joke. They can afford it, and the city needs the money.
Third, I can (and will) propose that New York City unilaterally raise the minimum wage for all workers. I’m not aware of any way that the State of New York or the Federal government could stop us from doing this. But if they threaten to do it, we should go ahead anyway. The battle that might follow would do us all some good, if only by drawing attention to the struggles of low-wage workers earning starvation wages while the people at the top are raking in record profits and obesity bonuses. (Ralph Nader has called for raising the minimum wage nationally to $10.50 an hour — what it would be, adjusted for inflation, if it stood where it did in 1968. See timeforaraise.org for more information.)
Millionaires and billionaires in New York — not all of them, but many of them — are always manipulating public opinion by way of the newspapers and radio and TV stations they own. They cry out that they’re being taxed to death, the poor fellows, and just can’t spare another nickel. And they expect us to believe that story.
But working people aren’t that dumb. In poll after poll, voters make it clear they want a fairer system than the one we’ve got in place right now. (See politico.com/news/stories/1112/84319.html for the proof.) The people who do the work in New York City — the organized and the not-yet-organized — need to take action to make this town a more fair, decent, and democratic place to live.
Go to KannForCouncil2013.WordPress.com for more information, and contact Jerry Kann at KannForCouncil2013@gmail.com to talk more about labor and other issues facing New York City.
And don’t forget to vote JERRY KANN, Populist Party candidate for New York City Council in District 22, Astoria, on Tuesday, November 5th.
Paid for by Kann for Council 2013.