On Friday, May 24, Local 1107 Vice President Joni Anderson, Local 1121 Financial Secretary Charlene Winchell, Local 1161 President Sharry Neidfeldt and Field Organizer Jason Whisler took the UE policy of “Healthcare for All” to the office of Congressman Ron Kind. Following up on UE members’ attendance at Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s “Congressional Cafe” earlier this month, a delegation consisting of Local 1135 President Malik Grant, Local 1111 Retiree Association Vice-President Ted Krukowski and Western Region President Carl Rosen met with the congresswoman’s Milwaukee staff on Tuesday, May 28.
UE Political Action Updates
On Saturday, May 18, UE members from Milwaukee-area Locals 1135 and 1172 attended a “Congressional cafe” hosted by Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Milwaukee to urge the congresswoman to support HR 1384, the Medicare For All Act of 2019.
UE leaders have been taking UE’s message that the Green New Deal must include action for good, union jobs to Green New Deal meetings. On May 4, UE General President Peter Knowlton spoke at a town hall meeting in Philadelphia organized by the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. In Erie, PA Local 506 Vice President/Recording Secretary Tom Bobrowicz was a featured speaker at a May 6 town hall meeting on “The Road to the Green New Deal.”
On Wednesday, April 24, State Representative Zack Hawkins Durham) and State Senator Wiley Nickel (Wake) announced that they are introducing legislation to overturn North Carolina's ban on public-sector collective bargaining, a goal long sought by members of UE Local 150. “We need to end this Jim Crow-era public-sector employee law,” said Nickel. “Public employees deserve equal treatment under the law and now is the time to give it to them.”
Since the 2018 midterm elections, the “Green New Deal” — a comprehensive approach to addressing climate change that would create millions of new jobs — has gained both visibility and popularity, as well as a certain amount of controversy.
When Bernie Sanders made a campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 14, all three of the local speakers on his program were from labor, and the last of them was from UE. Retired UE NEWS Editor Al Hart warmed up the crowd by reminding them that Sanders doesn’t just talk about being a supporter of labor, he has a long history of supporting UE and other union members.
On Wednesday, April 10th, longtime UE ally Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019. The bill complements the Medicare for All Act of 2019 introduced by Representative Pramila Jayapal in the House of Representatives in February. “The American people want, and we are going to deliver, a Medicare for All, single-payer system,” said Sanders, echoing long-held UE policy.
On February 27, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act. Jayapal introduced the bill with over 100 original co-sponsors and the “unprecedented support” of many major unions, who have finally joined UE’s longstanding support of a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system.
The U.S. has no legitimate claim to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries, to take sides in internal political disputes, or to undermine governments elected by the people. We have seen the disastrous consequences of recent U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and, through its alliance with Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. U.S. intervention in Venezuela can only bring further hardship and suffering, as followed U.S. support for the 2009 coup in Honduras that overthrew the elected government there and contributed to the stream of asylum-seekers now on our southern border seeking relief from that disaster.
The current federal shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, is an unconscionable attack on federal workers and all who depend on federal government services for safety and sustenance, from airline workers to food stamp recipients. It is also a sign of deeper problems in our economy and society, and the failure of political “leaders” from both parties to address them. Only a working-class movement, rooted in unions willing to stand up and take militant actions for the entire working class, can move us forward.