I was invited by the local MoveOn.org council to speak at a tax day
rally. Shortly after my speech, I was approached by a Palm Beach Post
reporter who asked me if I had a copy of the text of the speech which
I promptly handed to him. I also met several people who complemented
me on the speech and wanted to talk more about the WIIU. We exchanged
information and hopefully we will work together in the future.
Here is the text of the speech.
Good afternoon, I’m speaking to you today as a member of two unions.
The Broward Teachers Union, and the Workers International Industrial
Exxon, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, General Electric,
Conoco, Chevron, Valero Energy, Citigroup, FedEx, Carnival cruise
line, and Verizon all have similar stories. They all spent millions
on federal election campaigns, tens of millions spent on lobbying,
reaped billions in profits, and paid little or no federal income tax.
Corporate profits shattered records in 2010, climbing to $1.68
trillion, up 36.8 percent in a year.
In Florida, Rick Scott proposed $1 billion in cuts to corporate income
and property taxes. “Florida already has one of the lowest tax burdens
in the nation and only lags behind South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming and
Nevada for the best business tax climate in the country,” “There is
very little to win in our race to the tax bottom.”
Governor Scott’s plans are to make up the shortfall at the expense of
education and public service workers. Scott’s K-12 budget for the
coming year is $1.75 billion less than in the current education
budget. With local school boards already experiencing dire financial
circumstances, the situation will be exacerbated. Public service
employees are to have their paychecks cut by 5% to pay for pensions.
In Broward County, we have not been able to negotiate a contract with
the school board for three years, which means we haven’t had a step or
raise for three years. Now the school board finally put an offer on
the table under which we would get our step, but teachers would have
to increase their workload from 5 to 6 periods per day in other words
a 20% increase in the rate of exploitation. If that offer is
accepted, the school board will be able to lay off thousands of
teachers in Broward county, and without a doubt, we will see similar
things happening all over the state of Florida. Teachers will suffer,
and the quality of education in Florida will decline.
Governor Scott is attacking the only institution left in society that
stands up against this kind of injustice, namely the unions. The
ominous union gag bill HB 1021 and its senate version SB 830 would ban
public employee unions from collecting dues through payroll deductions
and require unions to obtain permission from members each year to use
their dues for political activity. This bill would put enormous
constraints on unions’ ability to function.
Unionism has been under attack for decades in this country. We have
seen union membership decline precipitously, and we have seen a
corresponding decline in living standards of the working class despite
steady increases in productivity. And we have seen the resulting
increase in income disparity between the wealthy and the rest of
society. Now we are seeing those attacks intensify.
My union, the Broward Teachers Union is a good union that defends its
members and pursues liberal causes, but it is careful not to rock the
boat. The fact is that the wealthy elites, who control this country
and its institutions, are waging a class war against us, and the boat
needs to be rocked. My other union, the Workers International
industrial Union, is trying to rock the boat. It points out that
capitalism is in crisis globally, and the working class is under
attack. Our response is, organize everyone! No matter what your job,
whether it is currently unionized or not, whether you are full time,
or part time, skilled or unskilled, documented or not, active, or
retired, or handicapped, or unemployed, you are invited to join us in
the WIIU, a union for all workers. Furthermore the WIIU asserts that
the historic mission of unionism is to organize the working class to
put the means of production of goods and services under social
ownership and democratic control. In order to accomplish that, we
need not only one great union of the working class, but also an
accompanying political movement that will break the stranglehold that
capital maintains on the American political system. Even though our
industrial base has been decimated by decades of outsourcing of jobs
to cheaper labor markets, this country still has the productive
capacity to produce an abundance for everyone, and it can do exactly
that, if this enormous productive potential is put to work for the
benefit of all, rather than just for the wealthy elites who now
– by Scott Wallace, with permission