As our nation pauses to observe Labor Day this week, you have to wonder what the future holds for American workers. Rising income inequality, a dwindling middle class, the growth of low-wage jobs without benefits, and unemployment rates that remain uncomfortably high should make us wonder whether we’ve allowed the American Dream to become a mythic fairy tale.
While these realities are certainly dire and downright depressing, they are not insurmountable.
Last month, President Obama began laying out a plan to rebuild America’s manufacturing base and shore up job security with good wages in stable industries. He called for rewarding companies for keeping jobs at home or bringing them back to the U.S. And, he said that we can and must train workers — especially those left farthest behind by the economic downturn — to get on new career tracks that lead them to the middle class.
The voices of doom and decline say that high-speed rail cannot be built in California. They’ve tried to stop the forces of progress by calling high-speed rail “a boondoggle” and “a waste.” This is not a new phenomenon. Enemies of progress said the same thing about the Golden Gate Bridge, built in the middle of the Great Depression. They screamed “boondoggle” at every major public works project in the 20th century while California was constructing a world-class infrastructure of freeways, dams, bridges and aqueducts that fostered a golden age of middle-class growth.
The labor movement rejects the voices of doom, because we have a vision for California. We know it’s time to invest in California’s future, starting with construction of high-speed rail.
Wednesday, the voices of progress and investment won a significant victory — Governor Brown signed SB 1029 to fund construction of a high-speed rail system.