Reacting to Senator Bernie Sanders’ announcement this morning that he is suspending his 2020 presidential campaign, UE General President Carl Rosen said that “In his two presidential campaigns, Bernie Sanders highlighted the way corporations and billionaires have corrupted our democracy and showed that by standing together, working people can successfully fight back. He has fundamentally changed American politics, making pro-worker policies like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and strengthening workers’ ability to join unions central to political debate.”
Secretary-Treasurer Andrew Dinkelaker said, “Even though Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign we are heartened that he has committed to keep leading on issues important to our members. UE will continue to work with him in fighting for justice for working people, especially as our nation deals with the ongoing health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” UE’s officers recently endorsed Sanders’ Priorities for the Next Coronavirus Package, as have several UE locals, including Local 203 (City Market grocery workers in Burlington, VT), Local 243 (Sargent Lock manufacturing workers in New Haven, CT), and Local 896 (University of Iowa graduate employees in Iowa City, IA).
Sanders’ leadership is not limited to legislative action — for over 30 years he has actively supported UE and other union members in their workplace struggles. Most notably, Sanders brought valuable national attention to UE Locals 506 and 618’s first-contract struggle with their new employer, Wabtec, in early 2019. “Bernie Sanders brought national attention to our nine-day strike and struggle for a first contract with Wabtec last year,” said UE Local 506 Vice President and Legislative Action Chair Tom Bobrowicz. “It was clear from our interactions with him that his priority was helping us win a fair contract.”
Autumn Martinez, the president of UE’s Northeast Region (which includes Vermont) and of UE Local 255 in Montpelier, VT, said “The Sanders campaign has shown working people throughout the country what workers in Vermont have long known — that Bernie Sanders believes that every working person deserves health care, work with dignity and education, and he will fight with us to achieve it.”
UE Director of Organization Gene Elk notes that “The success of Bernie Sanders’ campaign is part of an upsurge of militancy by working people, especially young people, that goes well beyond the ballot box and extends into the workplace. UE is committed to helping any workers who want to organize their workplace as part of continuing the fight for justice for working people.”