Pulaski, Art


Art Pulaski is Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, which represents 2.1 million members of 1,200 manufacturing, service, construction, and public sector unions.

Scrutinize Wasteful Corporate Tax Breaks Before Cutting Vital Services

By Art Pulaski, California Labor Foundation

For every cut the state is asking seniors, those with disabilities, workers and low-income Californians to absorb in the May Revise, there’s a wasteful corporate tax break that’s draining much-needed revenue. The cuts proposed today aren’t borne of necessity; they’re the result of a failed system that protects tax giveaways for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of California’s most vulnerable. That’s inexcusable.

It’s clear that budget stability can’t be achieved without additional revenue. Voters must approve Gov. Brown’s revenue initiative this fall to stave off even more devastating cuts to schools and public safety. But to create long-term stability, the state has to eliminate the maze of loopholes, carve-outs and tax-dodges that corporate lobbyists have written into law over the years, many through backroom deals as leverage in previous budget negotiations.

Proposed Foreclosure Settlement Would Benefit Wall Street, Not Main Street

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) and the Big Banks teamed up to propose a multi-state settlement to address the foreclosure crisis. But based on the terms described in numerous media reports, the deal appears to be a settlement for the banks, not a settlement for the middle class. The people of California need real relief, not a quick settlement that lets the banks off the hook.

This Labor Day, Let’s Unite to Fight for the Middle Class

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

There’s a threat to America’s economic future that’s so overlooked it’s gone almost unnoticed amid the endless debate over the debt ceiling and federal spending: massive income inequality.

This Labor Day, the gap that separates the very wealthy from the rest of us is as wide as it was in the Great Depression. Since the economic collapse of 2008, workers have suffered through joblessness, home foreclosures, reduced wages and benefits and a sustained assault on our right to collectively bargain. Did you notice that corporate profits are soaring and Wall Street bankers are receiving fatter bonuses than ever? And we wonder why our middle class is disappearing before our eyes.

Strong Unions Mean a Strong Work Force

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

"Collective bargaining ... has played a major role in America's economic miracle. Unions represent some of the freest institutions in this land. There are few finer examples of participatory democracy to be found anywhere."

Those aren't the words of AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka or President Obama. It may come as a surprise, but that's a quote from a 1981 speech given by Ronald Reagan.

To be sure, Reagan's relationship with unions was complicated, and, at times, quite contentious. But there's no question that he understood the value -- even necessity -- of collective bargaining. He remains the only president in history to have also served as the head of a union, the Screen Actors Guild.

REPUBLICAN SUPPORT

Why Wisconsin Matters to ALL Workers

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

I recall vividly my first union job. At the age of 16, I joined the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union as a supermarket clerk. I remember the good wages in my first paycheck and the sense of pride I felt when I received my first union card.

Back then, about a quarter of all private sector workers were union members. Collective bargaining allowed us a path to a better life. The standard of living rose, not just for those of us in a union, but even for those who weren’t.

But today, too few workers have the right to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Years of assaults by corporations on the freedom to join unions have taken a terrible toll.

Time to End the Enterprise Zone Boondoggle

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

When it comes to dealing with our state budget crisis, California voters are clear on one thing: Let’s eliminate wasteful spending. So you’d think the elimination of a failed program and billion-dollar boondoggle would be a no-brainer. Think again.

An annual billion-dollar giveaway to big, profitable corporations is bad enough. But when the program also fails in its goal of creating jobs, it’s time to say goodbye.

Yet, as soon as Gov. Jerry Brown announced his proposal to end the Enterprise Zone tax credit program, corporate lobbyists and consultants started clamoring to save their golden goose.  In theory, there’s nothing wrong with tax credits for businesses to help create jobs. With unemployment hovering at 12.5%, we need all the help we can get. But, in practice, the Enterprise Zone program has failed miserably.

Time to Help Brown Stay True to His Call for Loyalty to the Community

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

As I listened to Jerry Brown’s inauguration speech on Jan. 3, something he said struck a chord. “A Philosophy of Loyalty,” he called it. “Loyalty to the community that is larger than our individual needs.”

This is a concept that unionists share. It’s one of the fundamentals of our movement. But it’s a value under attack. Tune in to talk radio and you’ll hear a bombastic host inciting his audience against government. In the corporate world, the enduring loyalty is not to community, but to executive compensation.

Labor Day Kicks Off Final Push in Battle for the Soul of California

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

This Labor Day, California is at a crossroads. We can either continue the economic race to the bottom – exacerbated by corporate policies and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s slash-and-burn budgets – or we can chart a new course to rebuild California from the bottom up.  The heart of California’s economy, our workers, are struggling with near record unemployment, stagnating wages and devastating budget cuts that are eroding the California Dream.

This November, Californians have a critical choice to make about which direction our state should take to deal with the enormous challenges we face. This election is simply a battle for the soul of California.

In the race for Governor, the choices couldn’t be starker.

Jerry Brown for Governor: The Right Choice to Renew California’s Promise

By Art Pulaski
California Labor Federation

In this election, working people don’t have a choice. We have an imperative.

Jerry Brown has spent a lifetime fighting for working families. Meg Whitman, on the other hand, has spent her adult life as one of the corporate elite, advancing Wall Street’s disastrous agenda. Whitman’s plan to corporatize our economy would lead to more devastating cuts to education, health care and the safety net. She’d cut tens of thousands of jobs, making an already severe recession much worse. She’d strip workers of important protections like meal breaks and overtime pay.

More than 500 union members and leaders from across the state gathered in San Jose this morning committing to reject Whitman’s hostile takeover attempt of California and elect a proven, experienced leader and fighter for working families, Jerry Brown.