Corporate powers steamroll Florida voters

"The voters, damn them, have got to be subverted."

“The voters, damn them, have got to be subverted.”

You won’t find that autocratic principle taught in any civics class, but it’s one that America’s corporate powers openly embrace when local democracy offends them. Just ask the voters of Orlando, Florida, who recently felt the sting of such arrogance.

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A grassroots coalition called Organize Now had collected 50,000 signatures last year to put an earned sick time referendum on their county’s November ballot. It was to be a citizen’s vote on whether employers should let workers earn a few days each year of paid leave to be used if they fall ill or must care for a sick family member.

“Whoa!” shouted the bosses of Disney World, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and other super-wealthy, low-wage corporations in Orlando that provide minimal or no benefits – “we can’t allow that.” So they leaned on the county commissioners to knock the referendum off the ballot. However, the scrappy Organize Now bunch took ’em to court – and won. The people’s victory was too late for last year’s election, though, so the court ordered that the referendum be put on the 2014 ballot.

So, all set, right? Not so fast, shouted the corporate powers, as they scuttled off to Tallahassee, demanding that the GOP governor and state legislative leaders deliver a “Kill Shot” to those pesky voters back in Orlando. Sure enough, the obsequious, corporate-hugging politicos obliged in June by enacting a brutish, democracy-smashing law called “state preemption.” It autocratically usurps the right of local governments (and local voters) to enact paid sick leave benefits.

Still, it’s not over, for the corporate subversion of The People is not real popular, and maybe not legal. Organize Now is pushing back and pushing ahead. Keep up with them at www.orgnow.org.

“Scott blocks sick-time vote in Orange, statewide,” www.orlandosentinel.com, June 14, 2013.

“ALEC-Orchestrated Bill in Florida Would Block Cities From Making Paid Sick Leave Law,” www.thinkprogress.org, April 3, 2013.

“ALEC-Orchestrated Bill To Preempt Paid Sick Leave Passes Florida Senate,” www.thinkprogress.org, April 29, 2013.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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