United Public Workers for Action
The UPWA is an organizing committee and network, formed in 2008 by San Francisco Bay Area union members and activists committed to bring public workers in the state together to challenge the current economic/budget crisis in California. The objective of the organizers is to develop a unified-statewide coalition and present an alternative political agenda to confront the economic/budget crisis in California in the defense of public workers and the recipients of public services. To inform public workers and the recipients of public services, the UPWA will provide educational forums on the root causes of the crisis and its political implications, and the organization’s alternative political agenda.
The UPWA advocates that the accelerating world-historic economic crisis of capitalism and its political and economic ramifications in California require the formulation of new political and economic agendas and strategies based on a collective response. This view is based on the belief that a unified organized labor is central to building a broad movement to achieve those ends. This includes organized labor putting its “house in order” and participating actively in coalitions with unions in the private sector, civil rights and human rights organizations, student groups, housing activists, environmentalists, and immigrant rights organizations, et.al. Importantly, there are 1.5 million public workers in the state of California, representing an enormous base of political power.
The UPWA agenda is premised on the recognition that in the United States the world historic- economic/ budget crisis is not being solved within the parameters of the established political- economic system. In California, the policies that come out of the Governor’s office and the state legislature have refused to deal with underlying structural (and ideological) realities, and are inadequate short-term responses which fundamentally benefit the wealthy and corporations at the expense of employed, underemployed, and unemployed workers and students. Moreover, the UPWA recognizes that the Democratic Party agenda and the agenda of much of the trade union leadership are in complicity with these outcomes, and that these forces have no plan to solve the crisis in the interests of workers and the recipients of public services. The UPWA also understands that, owing to the historic crisis, a political space is opening, not only in California, but world-wide. Significantly, this space provides the opportunity for a revitalized-democratic trade union movement, aligned with unions in the private sector, unorganized workers, civil rights and human rights organizations, student groups, housing activists, environmentalists, and immigrant rights organizations, et.al, to carry out independent political strategies in the interest of working people.