August 17, 2005

Labor-related ballot measures
among topics at conference

The political clout of labor unions is the focus of the labor conference “Democracy and Divisions in the House of Labor” set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Orchard Suite of Sacramento State’s University Union. An additional session will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. the same day in the Walnut Room of the Union. The free conferences are being sponsored by the University’s Labor Studies department and are open to the public.

A number of speakers will be present, including Washington Post columnist and Los Angeles Weekly political editor Harold Meyerson. Several Sacramento State faculty and staff will also be speaking including university librarian Rhonda Rios Kravitz, Sociology professor Charles Varano, Criminal Justice professor Cecil Canton, and Multi cultural Education professor Duane Campbell.

The group will address several measures involved in California’s Nov. 8 special election, including Proposition 74, which is aimed at increasing the probationary term for new public teachers; Proposition 75 which would regulate public union dues when funding political operations; and Proposition 76, which would “change the minimum school funding requirements and limit state spending” and also give the governor the ability to cut certain educational programs and local services.

“The Labor Studies faculty believes that democracy is a basic process in any decision and that democracy begins with us discussing the divisions within labor and the attacks on labor,” says Campbell. “We offer this conference to promote a dialogue and understanding among members of the campus community.”

Over the last 22 years, national labor union membership has been on the steady decline. In 1983, more than 20 percent of all U.S. wage and salary workers were union members. In 2004 that statistic had fallen below 13 percent. Today, California holds the highest union population in the United States with more than 2.4 million members, in both private sectors and government employment.

For more information about the conference, contact Campbell at (916) 278-6618 or by e-mail at campd@csus.edu. For media assistance contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

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