Column: About that fantastical rhetoric from Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris



So, at this level, we’ve clearly reached peak political fantasyland.

I do know, I do know. That in all probability wasn’t the takeaway Democratic Celebration activists and union leaders had hoped to ship with Wednesday’s little bit of political theater, starring Vice President Kamala Harris returning to the San Francisco Bay Space to rhetorically rescue her longtime frenemy Gov. Gavin Newsom.

However what can I say? I’m a realist.

I’m unsure how else to consider the various gushing remarks in regards to the enviable energy of California’s post-pandemic financial system, and our insurance policies that guarantee residing wages and secure working circumstances. Or, as Harris insisted, that “Gavin has at all times understood that if you wish to carry up America, you’ve obtained to carry up working folks.”

It was absolutely a coincidence that the vice chairman’s phrases appeared like these of President Biden, who, from the White Home, touted “employee energy” as important to “constructing our financial system again higher than earlier than.”

“As an alternative of staff competing with one another for the roles which might be scarce,” Biden mentioned proudly, “everyone’s mad at me as a result of now — guess what — employers are competing to draw staff, having to boost pay.”

Let’s get actual for second, we could? As a result of issues aren’t that nice for everybody.

Regardless of Democrats’ many valiant coverage efforts — from implementing paid household go away to the kid tax credit score — we’re nonetheless in actual hazard of constructing again an post-pandemic financial system that’s as uneven and unfair because it at all times has been to folks of shade on the backside of the revenue scale.

Not that almost all Californians consider Republicans, with their shortsighted, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps ideology, are higher geared up to deal with these points. In any case, it wasn’t Newsom whom homeless folks angrily chased out of Venice on Wednesday; it was his would-be alternative, conservative speak present host Larry Elder.

However assuming Newsom prevails in subsequent week’s recall election, it stays to be seen what extra he can do for the various working class folks — significantly Latino and Black folks — who’re struggling to make ends meet and, in some instances, are on the verge of eviction.

Longtime civil rights chief and labor activist Rev. James Lawson Jr. was sounding the alarm about this in a dialog we had means again in July, just some days after the UCLA Labor Middle was renamed in his honor.

He calls it “plantation capitalism.”

Regardless of my optimism, Lawson wasn’t solely satisfied of what we’ve all been listening to for months: particularly that staff, throughout the board, are regaining energy over employers. That the post-pandemic labor scarcity is just a operate of choosy People who’re reassessing what circumstances and what pay they discover acceptable to go to again to work.

For positive, assist needed indicators are in every single place, and employers giant and small are determined to fill open positions.

Hiring bonuses not even appear to do the trick. Now it’s all in regards to the incentives. Goal, for instance, is providing to pay school tuition. Applebee’s is providing free meals. And Amazon, ever ingenious, is selling that individuals who apply to be supply drivers received’t be screened for hashish.

“I recognize the second by which we dwell, the adjustments which have begun,” Lawson advised me. “However I see that the size of the adjustments that should occur being longer sooner or later.”

He cited the extra difficult experiences for staff of shade, significantly Black girls. Certainly, girls, basically, have borne the brunt of the pandemic economically.

“Plantation capitalism says that working folks don’t have to be handled as folks,” Lawson mentioned. “They’re extra of a commodity and property than they’re human.”

Now knowledge point out he is perhaps proper.

In keeping with the most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment fee for Black People jumped from 8.2% in July to eight.8% in August. The reason being that whereas extra Black folks have been working in August than July, the quantity in search of jobs was even increased.

Furthermore, the unemployment fee for the opposite teams dropped in August. The general fee was 5.2%, and for white People 4.5%.

William Spriggs, chief economist for the AFL-CIO and an economics professor at Howard College, questioned how determined employers actually are to search out staff when so many Black People can’t discover work.

It’s why the Brookings Establishment warned this month that the new, post-pandemic labor market alone received’t reverse longstanding racial disparities within the jobless fee.

As Spriggs put it to a number of journalists, it’s “the self-evident discrimination within the labor market revealing itself.”

There are also the anecdotal tales.

On a latest Wednesday, I listened to 2 Black girls speak in regards to the racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation they’d allegedly skilled, spelled out in a pair of lawsuits filed in opposition to their former employer, the Chateau Marmont.

“People who find themselves Black have needed to undergo this stuff,” April Blackwell mentioned, chatting with a small crowd of supporters from the again of a flatbed truck parked within the shadow of the famed lodge because the solar started to set over Sundown Boulevard.

Her phrases echoed these of Thommi Gross.

Being who I’m on the skin — my pores and skin tone — being a lady, we’re not believed,” she mentioned. “We’re working twice as laborious for much less pay and we’re proven that we’re not as useful. So it’s actually irritating. It’s disheartening. It’s dehumanizing.”

Nobody on the Chateau Marmot returned my request for a remark, in all probability as a result of the protest was nothing out of the extraordinary.

It was merely the most recent such demonstration organized by Unite Right here Native 11, which has been calling for a boycott ever since a whole bunch of Chateau Marmont workers complained they have been laid off with out insurance coverage or severance, simply as COVID-19 instances have been exploding final 12 months.

Each Gross and Blackwell lamented that their claims shall be dealt with in non-public arbitration, somewhat than the place they have been initially filed in state courtroom. It’s a destiny that, regardless of legislative adjustments and the #MeToo motion, continues to disproportionately have an effect on girls and staff of shade.

It’s a reminder of simply how a lot in regards to the labor market is extra difficult for our folks.

If Newsom survives the recall election — and polls more and more point out that he’ll — his problem shall be to dwell as much as the reward that Harris bestowed upon him on Wednesday.

“I need Black girls to be valued within the office,” Gross mentioned. “I need any worker who seems like they’re not in a secure house. That they’ll come to their employer, they usually get the help and the safety they want.”

That’s your dose of actuality for at the moment.





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