San Diego Labor Council Comes Out in Support of Occupy San Diego

by on October 3, 2011 · 38 comments

in Civil Rights, Labor, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Editor: We have just received this Statement of Support by the San Diego Labor Council for the Occupy San Diego movement and its efforts.

From Lorena Gonzalez, the San Diego and Imperial County Labor Council’s Secretary-Treasurer, regarding the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Occupy San Diego” campaigns that we look forward to participating in:

“The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO is proud support the “Occupy Wall Street” and associated “Occupy San Diego” efforts. As a coalition of local unions, we work hard to remind media, elected officials, our members and the general public that the economic crises too many people are facing today were not caused by the third-grade teacher, the grocery clerk, the sanitation worker or the firefighter.

Our economic crisis was caused by the greed on Wallstreet, CEO’s whose pay is 300 times that of their average worker and big banks who have caused a foreclosure nightmare for middle and working class Americans.

We will stand with those who seek to bring attention to the real economic problems that regular San Diegans and Americans face.”

 Lorena Gonzalez

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

dave rice October 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

This whole mess is getting interesting…me likey.


mike turco October 4, 2011 at 12:16 am

Unions are just another special interest group. How many people are in unions? Get real you are being used. Corruption is the enemy.


Pat H. October 10, 2011 at 2:28 am

If you graph the decline of the middle class over the last 30 years or so you will find that it corresponds
almost exactly with the decline of unions. Sure, unions have their faults but there’s a reason the Repugs
are trying so damn hard to wipe out the unions in this country and that’s because they are still one of the
few organizations we have that stand up for the working class and occasionally even win a few battles for
us 99%ers.


Fred Williams October 4, 2011 at 3:06 am

Don’t trumpet the labor union’s support! This isn’t about them, so don’t let them climb on the genuine bandwagon.

Over the last several decades, the union officials have colluded in bringing us to this situation. Allowing them to subvert this movement is counter productive.

Gonzales should be welcome to participate, and get the word out…as a private citizen. When she speaks as the local labor boss, she should be told she’s part of the problem, not a helpful addition to the cause.

The Tea Partiers got taken over by the religious right Republicans. Don’t let public employee union bosses and the Democrats take over this movement…their leaders are NOT part of the 99%, but mere handmaidens to the 1%.


Frank Gormlie October 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Fred, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Occupy San Diego welcomes the support from unions and from the San Diego Labor Council. Unions are NOT the problem, and public workers unions are certainly not the reason we’re out in these Occupy actions around the country.


Fred Williams October 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Frank, my friend, how about this…simply make it clear to everyone, that the Labor Council supports Occupy San Diego, not the other way around.

This kind of policy allows anyone, of whatever political persuasion, to support the important goals we all share, and hopefully prevents these “supporters” becoming the de facto leaders.

My concern is that as soon as Gonzales turns up, she runs to the cameras, and tries to make it about HER issues as a long time professional politician working closely with the Democrats. Gonzales wields enormous influence in San Diego already. I object to that just as strongly as I would to the NRA showing up, declaring support, and then monopolising the microphone to make it all about guns.

They’ve already got their pulpits and have been preaching for years. It’s time for the other 99% to be heard.

An important point we need to remember is that the people who currently have power (Gonzales is a member of this tiny group in San Diego) have not done much to deserve our respect and admiration, so allowing them to parasitically and cynically declare their support, while perhaps subverting the goals we share, must be resisted…Republican, Democrat…makes zero difference.

All the best to you Frank, and deep respect. Are you the spokesman for Occupy? If so, who appointed you? I speak only for myself — and I’m deeply concerned if professional politicians and spokespeople are already deciding who’s in and who’s out.

While Gonzales is a fine person who I respect and perhaps even agree with on occasion, as an official representing her organization she should be unwelcome…she cannot stop herself from trying to take over to the benefit of her own goals, which must be resisted.


(You may want to revise your opinion of unions in San Diego….the leaders, especially Ron Saathoff, have been disastrous for the city and workers, cynically raising benefits while simultaneously underfunding the system to divert tax money to things like ballparks and stadiums for billionaires, meaning now we must close parks and libraries…don’t lay down with these dogs if you want to avoid fleas! I’ve been watching their antics for over two decades, and they’re part of the problem, working to rip off the rest of us. Don’t trust them, whether they’re claiming to support working people or billionaires, they’re part of the same system.)


annagrace October 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Fred- if you read the letter from the Labor Council, it clearly states that they will be present to SUPPORT Occupy Wall Street San Diego. You are entitled to your “concerns” and do not have to repeat them. Really, we heard them. And we will certainly be reporting back.


Fred Williams October 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Right on, Annagrace. Thanks for responding.

I’ll probably continue to repeat this warning though, whatever the political affiliation of the organization involved.

Just please be careful. It’s these early decisions that matter the most. San Diego’s political players are wolves who are well-practised at pulling on the wool and hoofs costume.

I agree, there’s enough on this topic here now. I’ll drop it. Point made. Thank you, again, for acknowledging my concerns.




mike turco October 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

I take it back about unions. Even though I am not a union fan, I welcome their support.


obecean October 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

The above posts are not from KUSI’s Mike Turko. They are from a ‘net troll.


Katie D. October 5, 2011 at 3:12 am

@ Fred ~ We don’t have a spokesperson. However, Frank has been attending our meetings and is correct in that we welcome union support. We welcome all 99%.


Fred Williams October 5, 2011 at 8:11 am

Thanks Katie…no disrespect intended toward Frank or anyone else doing the heavy lifting of organizing.

Union members are certainly part of the 99%. Union leaders in San Diego…I’m not so sure they’re not more likely to be part of, or beholden to, that shameless 1%.

I sincerely hope none of the “usual suspects” take over. That’s my sole concern. No beef with unions per se. Grateful to anyone assuring me it’s under control…just want to make sure this is paid serious attention now, later will be too late.

Remember, the same individuals and institutions in San Diego who publicly claim to be oh-so-concerned with the downtrodden, like the notorious CCDC or the Housing Commission, are set up mostly to siphon money away from the 99% in San Diego directly into the 1%’s pockets. If these kinds of charlatans are allowed to infiltrate and assume the reins, it’s game over.




Lucid October 5, 2011 at 7:23 am

Plain and simple everyone except for the richest 5% who own 50%+ of the wealth should be marching. Union or non-union, christian, jew, muslim, hindu…. whatever. It comes down to the fact that over the last 30 years wages for the average worker have remained unchanged when wages for the typical CEO has gone up over 3000%. Its about asking for the people who have made the most profit to give back to the people who lost the most.


Fred Williams October 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

True, so very sadly true that the workers have been getting shafted.

In San Diego, their leaders sold them out, plain and simple. In exchange for accepting higher benefits and retirement, “sometime in the future”, they kept quiet about how the pension was under-funded and how the redevelopment agencies were bleeding the city dry.

Those guys, the ones who betrayed everyone in San Diego, union member or not, are the friends of the exact same people leading those same unions today. Nothing has changed. They cannot be trusted…which is a very sad, but true situation.

Why did San Diego city workers get shafted? Ask someone like Ron Saathoff…he was part of the group that deliberately set up the dirty deal.

Being a union leader in San Diego is something very different from union leadership anywhere else…they should be kept far, far, far away from legitimate citizens protesting how our democracy has been stolen because they helped to steal it in the first place.




mr fresh October 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

Can you explain to us just how Lorena Gonzalez (AFL-CIO SD Secretary) is connected to the bad deals that wee made a decade ago? Or are you simply hoping that nobody calls you on your trollish tantrum?
This is not to say that Unions haven’t screwed up. But this 99% fight is about all their members, and if the leadership doesn’t take a stand, the rank and file will. So, IMHO, your comment was crafted with the idea of introducing doubt or cynicism, of promoting disunity.


Fred Williams October 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

Mr. Fresh, please accept my regrets if it appears that way to you. That’s not my intention. If any one of the current crop of so-called “leaders” in San Diego showed up (with the honorable exception of Donna Frye) I would be pointing out the same pattern, same relationships, same sad history…

Please consider the pivotal role Gonzales already plays in deciding who gets the funding and campaigners for San Diego’s city council. She is responsible for putting more than a few of them there, and they know it. She’s perhaps used this leverage wisely, better than her predecessors, but regardless…she’s part of the 1% from my observation of how she plays the game. She’s a major power broker in San Diego, not part of the dispossessed.

Remember, she personally took the lead in denying a candidate labor support in a tight race specifically and solely to block Donna Frye from becoming Council President…do you still admire her so much now? (See: VOSD archives, 2008, District 3 election controversies.)

So while she appears to be on the right side, there are serious doubts. I’m advocating, for this very reason, than ALL current “leaders” in San Diego be held at a hands distance and not allowed to influence the direction this goes in.

If that’s cynical or doubtful…well, I cannot change my nature nor the facts of how San Diego finds itself in such a dire situation, partly due to the action or inaction of its union leadership…and I don’t think anything will truly happen if we allow those folks (who are far more cynical than me) to take over. Nothing is more sure to pollute and eventually pervert the goals we share, my friend.

Let’s be careful.




Frank Gormlie October 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

Fred, just for the record, Lorena Gonzalez is one of the best labor leaders in the history of San Diego. The fact that she and the Labor Council have come out this early in support of Occupy San Diego – even before the “occupation” – speaks to her far-sightedness.


Fred Williams October 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Frank, that’s your opinion. The “record” states something different, as I’ve explained already.

You’re also missing the point. This isn’t about Lorena Gonzales…it’s about the people already in power today trying to take over the movement for themselves. It happened to the Tea Partiers, which is now little more than a wing of the religious right.

We don’t want to see this effort turn into a mere proxy for the left, so politicians and union bosses, who are proven servants of the 1%, should be kept at a distance.

It’s that simple, Frank. Don’t let Lorena, or anyone else currently holding power in San Diego, usurp the movement. If you like her personally, that’s wonderful…don’t let it cloud your political judgement though. Her official involvement is more likely to hinder than help in the long run.




Will Dawson October 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

The apathetic nature of the local population will make this a non event. Protest in San Diego? Not if it looks like rain, does not have free parking, and won’t take too long. If Starbucks is handing out free latte’s you might get a few hundred.
That the Labor Council supports it in words is typical of their stance.
How about 20,000 union members take the day off and participate! Fat chance of that. As usual Gonzalez SPEAKS A GOOD STORY but lacks in any amount of follow up and action.


Frank Gormlie October 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Will, hopefully you will be wrong. There have been over a 100 people attending the planning sessions alone. I agree that organizing in San Diego can have its challenges, but hey, why be so cynical. Don’t cut off your nose despite your face. And ENOUGH of the dissing of Gonzalez!!!


mr.rick October 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm

It seem as if the Unions are learning from past mistakes. In the old days when we were trying to stop a war, they weren’t with us that much. So hopefully the are a little more aware than 40 years ago.


Allen Lewis October 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I’M NOT SAYING THIS IS MY VIEW, but a lot of people think that this “Occupy Wall Street” is the start… (This is also pushing the one world order to occur faster….Tension between two major groups; stress build up, and eventual violence…will lead to martial law. Our current govt is behind this…and wants this warfare, since it will lead to more and more govt power…It has nothing do with gaining something for the have nots and needy. The “99%” in the end will get less freedom and the top will rule completely. It has happened before in Germany and Russia, but this time it will be global…Look at what is happening.) It is being said this is the beginning of the “One World Order”


doug porter October 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

“A lot of people”…= “please do nothing it must be a conspiracy”.
Does that mean the status quo is acceptable? And who are these “lot of people”? Funny how so few of them write or speak on the subject…. oh, yeah… I get it… they’re “afraid” of the Black Choppers coming in the night or their tin foil hats are screwed on backwards. What a pile of paranoid donkey-doo…


Allen Lewis October 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Thank you Doug, like I said this is not my view, but with the union ( who I feel is just as corrupt as our government) jumping in and others with there agendas… what the Just sayn.


mr.rick October 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Whats wrong with a one world order as long as the “People” are running their own world. Getting all worked up over the term of One World Order is kind dumb. We just need to make sure that the general population is who is in charge.


Allen Lewis October 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Mr. rick, you make a good point…but it doesn’t work that way, maybe in a perfect world. We don’t live in that world, there will always be big $ running things. If things keep going the way they are we will be picking up our garden tools to continue the fight…


mr.rick October 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm

We can do that too. Fight ,I mean.Also garden tools are also good for growing real unpolluted food and not feed the system. Where you (Wa.) and I am(Tn.) it’s an easy grow. And also the best thing we can do for the environment is buy used clothes. That is according to the CEO of Patigonia. And I subscribe to that totally.


Riset October 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Of course it will be more difficult to get 99% to agree on one point than to have 1% agree on several… Keep pushin


Riset October 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm

God Bless Steve Jobs for helping create the tools to author true Democracy. RIP my friend


Allen Lewis October 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

What does Steve have to do with this? He was just a smart guy with bad management skills. “lucky him,” he’s dead…Get real… were talking about the future of the living.


Allen Lewis October 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Know that I have had a few IPA’s and a bool or two of kick ass bud, I want to ask Mr. Rick where his home town is. Yes I do shop second hand, but do you know who started Patagonia? his name is Yuvaun Shard,( I’m sure the spelling is wrong) but he was just a rock climbing guy that started a company that became “big business” and most if not all the stuff he sold was made over sees. I am a 25 year rock climber that know him in Yosemite Vally in the day. Things are not what they seem.


Allen Lewis October 6, 2011 at 12:11 am

I’m thinken that most that has posed on this issue ARE OUT IN SPACE. Don’t you get it ? !!!!! were f..k ed if we do or f..k ed if we don’t. YEA I’m drunk and stoned but that’s how I’m thinken right know….


Allen Lewis October 6, 2011 at 12:15 am

It has taken over 200 years to set up the propaganda that most believe in today. Do you really think you can change it over night?


Lorena Gonzalez October 6, 2011 at 8:50 am

Fred, Rest assured that the Labor Council has no plans to take over the occupation. We simply are in support – as labor has begun to be across the nation. Yes, I hope “my issues” are highlighted… you know why? My issues are the issues of the 99% – putting people back to work in self-sufficient jobs, increasing the living wage and saving the middle class, respecting all workers even those in the service sector who often work for minimum wage without healthcare or retirement, empower workers and students and the unemployed to stand up and demand change, require big business and corporate America (especially those that benefit and are subsidized by Government’s decisions) to provide a living wage with health care and retirement security. Yes, I hope that others will feel as strongly about “my agenda”

I do plan to attend some of the events, but don’t worry, it is not to get media attention… It is to take my 15 year old activist daughter who has been encouraging other kids from her high school to get involved as well. When you ask her what she wants to do in life – she says “Start a Revolution. Make people realize they shouldn’t be corporate slaves. Divorce economic standing from social standing.” I kind of like that – and want to encourage her to learn from others and grow and be part of the revolution that we see happening slowly here. So, maybe you can spread some love and come by and teach my daughter about your issues too.

In Solidarity,


Fred Williams October 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

Thank you for responding, Lorena,

I’ll take you at your word. When the reporters show up, recognize you, and attempt to interview you, rather than telling them your talking points, you’ll introduce them to someone else who has something to say. (I expect this will be someone you agree with, that’s natural.)

I hope you’ll make the point to the reporter, repeatedly if needed, that you’re supporting the protests, and not the other way around. Please, if you’ll be so kind, educate your colleagues that repeating the Tea Party transition from genuine movement to tool of those already in positions power will not be productive at all in the long run. (You might tell them, “Don’t smother the baby!”)

You’ve been in politics for…well, most of your adult life. In addition to the labor union, you’ve worked on the staff of the Lt. Governor, were appointed as an alternate to the Coastal Commission, and you attended Stanford, Georgetown, and UCLA.

You’ve seen the corruption in San Diego first hand. I think you should tell the citizens of San Diego:

* Which former city officials (names please) do you believe are primarily responsible for the current situation? Should they be prosecuted? In particular, will you tell what you know about Ron Saathoff’s role? (Now the law suits have fizzled out, I think you’re obliged to comment, especially if you want to genuinely help the 99% figure out how we got where we are today.)

* What can you tell the rest of us about San Diego’s current municipal bonds…how close is the city to default? This is a nationwide problem. The SEC already charged San Diego officials with fraud in connection with municipal bonds, but that’s all gone away through the magic of our justice system. Again, can you name the people who should be held responsible for this? We’re going to pay, and pay, and pay…educate people on who really took that money, even if it annoys some of your supporters. (The ballpark fiasco, and your organization’s support for it, should be mentioned I think.)

* Would you comment on the practice of hiring former reporters as political workers? Is it right that the Mayor has “special assistants” whose primary qualification for the job is skill in massaging the news and their previous employment at the UT, resulting in fawning and misleading coverage? Has your organization ever done the same in its hiring, perhaps resulting in your own favorable relationships with the media?

* What was the reason you opposed Donna Frye for Council President? (Do you think she should return to politics, and perhaps run for mayor?)

From the looks of the activity on this page, you could comment here to answer these questions, which I ask sincerely, to ensure the widest number of people know your views…as a private citizen who is setting a good example for her daughter.

Knowing your views on these topics would make San Diegans better informed, and better prepared for what we all have to deal with as a society, which is repair the mess made in the last few decades. You’ve been intimately involved in the process during this same time. Please tell us what you know.


Fred Williams


Frank Gormlie October 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

Fred, you are awfully demanding. Before Lorena says anything, perhaps you should tell us who you are, where or what city you live in, what children you have, what colleges you went to, and why you have such a demanding stance.


annagrace October 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

Fred, you are using this post to relentlessly promote your issues with the labor unions and Lorena Gonzalez. I don’t have an issue with you posting a comment expressing those issues. But you are manipulating this forum to go beyond simply stating those issues. Lorena read your comments and has courteously responded. That is evidently not enough for you. It appears that you not only want to have the last word but to put your words in Lorena’s mouth. Not going to happen Fred.
With all due respect, I am asking you to stop chewing on this same tired bone. This isn’t the place for it.


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