Are Non-Profits and Corrupt Labor Unions Co-Opting the People’s Struggle through Advocacy of Anaheim Districting?

By Arhi Uexurini
The Rebel Press

After the uprising triggered by the killing of two young men by the police last year, district voting has been sold to the people as almost a magical formula to address police abuse and other issues that Anaheim working class communities deal with everyday. According to the partisans of this quick-fix solution, a more diverse representation,“latino” specifically, in the city council would result in a local government that would better serve the people and be more accountable to its constituency. The measure seems to be gaining support to the extent that even Disneyland has spoken in favor of it.

However, not everyone agrees with this plan or with the politics of some organizations behind the proposal.

John Earl, a local journalist and a former union employee who advocates for union reform, has criticized the involvement of organizations like OCCORD whose staff and Board of Directors include executives and ex employees of labor unions notorious for their corruption.

Photo of John Earl by the Rebel Press

Last year, Earl posted on a social media website a response to OCCORD’s CEO Eric Altman’s statements at a press conference in support of partitioning the city into electoral districts.

“My response to efforts by hotel union to organize Anaheim communities:

A message to Eric Altman: I hope that the city gets district voting that isn’t gerrymandered to make things even worse. Even with the added risk of cronyism that might help bring more equal representation–more so in the long run, but probably not much.

“The real key is the hotel union that you used to work for and that shares control of the organization you currently work for–the same union I once worked for (then called HERE). That union is the biggest obstacle to progress for Anaheim working class people because it is corrupt to the bone; if it weren’t, it would have been much more successful in helping to organize what is a virtual political gold mine of grass-roots ‘power of the people’ in the Disney Resort area.

“How pathetic that the hotel union has failed to organize much of anything because it has been preoccupied with its own internal power grabs instead of the needs of the workers; and now, it and the other local corrupt unions seek to co-opt community grass roots efforts. Same old same old. May the people wise up and join the IWW or start a real union of their own, rejecting the CEO wannabes at UNITE/HERE who worry much more about their own job security and wealth than the workers.”

In a video interview Earl gave to The Rebel Press, he elaborates on his response and, in this first part of the conversation, he also suggests advocating for the right to vote for undocumented migrants in the city, a general strike in the Disney Resort area and other more radical measures to challenge the political and financial powers as opposed to the minor administrative solutions proposed by sell out liberal politicians, non-profits, and the like.

John Earl is the publisher and investigator of Surf City Voice, an independent news blog about water boarding (resources control) in Orange County. He was also the editor of The Orange County Voice, not to be confused with the Voice of OC. Before that, he helped organize for immigrant rights in Costa Mesa with Colectivo Tonantzin. He was a researcher and organizer for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, Local 681 from 2000 – 2002. Subsequently, Earl helped lead a reform movement in that union.

View and hear Part I of the interview with The Rebel Press here.

About Surf City Voice

John Earl is the editor of SoCal Water Wars (previously Surf City Voice.) Frequent contributor Debbie Cook, a former Huntington Beach Mayor, is board president of the Post Carbon Institute.