Pam Johnson (SEIU Local 250-Kaiser Hospital) wearing the shirt
that explains the big Union presence at the Living Wage City Council
Hearing. Though few if any Union members will benefit directly from
the ordinance, Union members support living wages for fellow workers
and know that it takes unified action to make this sort of thing
Jackie Goldberg, Assemblyperson from LA is speaking to the crowd
here, while Bill Camp (Central Labor Council) holds the umbrella.
LA is a Living Wage city. Jackie made the point that people should
be able to live on what they earn. She cited the example of the
Staples Center in LA, where billionaire developers and millionaire
athletes got a sports stadium subsidized by the city of LA. "Why
can't we subsidize the working people who provide services to the
city by giving them a living wage?" she asked.
More than 75 groups supported the Living Wage Campaign, among them
ACORN, Mercy Housing California, Midtown Clergy, Mosaic Law Congregation,
Peace Action, Gray Panthers, Emergency Food Bank, and the Sacramento
Labor Council to name just a random few.
Despite the diversity of support, a "Sacramento Bee"
editorial on 1/9/03 claimed that the Living Wage Ordinance would
benefit unions rather than the working poor, implying that unions
were supporting this issue to improve their own condition. During
the City Council Hearing, union member Matt Kelly, (Building Trades)
spoke to the insult union members felt at the Bee's implication,
reminding the Council and all present that unions had fought for
the rights in the workplace that most in the room now enjoyed.