November 6, 2016
By Doug Cunningham
Workers Independent News
Washington, DC – Working people are the overwhelming majority in America and yet our issues have taken a back seat in this presidential election.
United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says these are the issues whoever becomes president-elect on November 8th, should focus on to really help working families.
[Leo Gerard]: “I would like to see the revitalization and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act as a minimum. I think we need to have a national campaign to raise the national minimum wage to a living wage. I think we’ve got to take an aggressive position on rebuilding America’s infrastructure.” 4700 workers TWU 234 workers are on strike at SEPTA – the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Pensions are one of the biggest issues.
The union wants worker pensions calculated like management pensions. Worker earnings for pensions are capped while management’s aren’t.
TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown told local reporters the worker position on pensions is not greedy.
[Willie Brown]: “The thing that gets me the most is when you consider pensions. We’re not being greedy. I think SEPTA slapped the ridin’ public in the face, slapped the taxpayers on the face when they told you they’re going to do pension reform. Instead of doin’ pension reform what they did is lined their pockets.”
Big business money – including millions from Anthem – is being used to fight hard against a very close ballot initiative in Colorado.
Amendment 69 would create single payer health insurance for all who live in Colorado – a Medicare for all kind of plan. called ColoradoCare.
Donna Smith of Health Care For All Colorado.
[Donna Smith]: “It’s very close. It’s just as close as a state can get. And we’re workin’ hard. We have just a few days to go and a lot of ballots are being sent in now. So we’re workin’ very hard to canvass and phone call and reach out to people.
But as you might expect the usual suspects are raising opposition. We’ve had insurance companies – Anthem has spent millions of dollars already and had committed to spending millions more.”
The Workers Center of Central New York is fighting hard for labor rights for farmworkers. They have a lawsuit in court right now charging that farmworkers’ constitutional rights are being violated by being excluded from labor law protections.
Carly Fox is with the Workers Center of Central New York.
[Carly Fox]: “It’s really important that as we talk about this lawsuit that we frame it in the context of what we’re tryin’ to do. Which is to build a movement of worker-led worker justice in New York state and throughout the country.
So it’s really not coincidence that this lawsuit has become possible on the heels of an incredible amount of organizing work led by the Workers Center of Central New York. And they’re focusing on organizing agricultural workers. Despite the fact that there’s no legal protection for the workers to organize, they are fighting and they’re working to organize their fellow co-workers.”