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Can Unions Protect Us From Oligarchs? Let's Hope So, Because No One Else Will



In an e-mail to her supporters this week, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, currently the progressive candidate for an open L.A. congressional seat, wrote that "After two-years of being in the pandemic, we’ve seen over 47 million employees leave their job for better opportunities. Their message is clear: They want better emotional and mental health that comes with better work-life balance. I’ve heard the message of my constituents and Californians loud and clear. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation to cap our state’s work week at 32 hours-- or four days-- for large companies with more than 500 employees. I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo, not only will a 32 hour week increase productivity and give people more quality time with their loved ones, but it will create jobs. The five-day work week came about thanks to organizers and workers fighting for decades for what’s right. The pandemic has changed how we work, team, and our work structure should recognize that. So many people are working upwards of 60 to 80 hours a week with limited pay, while large companies see record-breaking profit."

She promised, that if elected to Congress, she will fight for a national 4-day for week-- and for economic justice in general. Blue America has endorsed her and you can contribute to her campaign here. Her opponent, Robert Garcia, is a conservative Republican who switched his party designation when he realized conservative Republicans have no future in L.A. electoral politics-- the same way the fraud who's running for L.A. mayor, Rick Caruso did. Robert Garcia and Rick Caruso are both still corrupt conservatives... just pretending to be Democrats and there are some idiots who actually fall for their acts.



Yesterday, writing for Vanity Fair, Hunter Walker and Luppe Luppen wrote about Bernie's efforts to turn the Democratic Party back into being the party of working families and unions and standing up to corporate greed (instead sucking up to it). This has been Bernie's own message for his entire career. "But now," Waker and Luppen wrote, "the moment has changed, with unionization efforts making headlines in industries from media to retail. The unionization of an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island-- a first for the company that Bezos founded, which has harshly fought previous efforts and has vowed to challenge this one-- represents a watershed... [I]t is time for the party to embrace what he has long been arguing for and make backing unions a core part of their pitch to voters. They must decide, Sanders said, whether to 'become a party which stands for the working class of this country' or to 'remain a corporately controlled party beholden to [their] wealthy campaign contributors and to the corporate media as well.'" I doubt Biden, Pelosi and Schumer were thrilled to hear that.


“To turn your back on the working class, in general, is political suicide,” Sanders argued, later adding, “It is good politics to become strongly involved in the labor movement [and] support workers in their organizing efforts…I think it’s the right thing to do from a policy position. It is also very, very good politics. And I think if the Democrats don’t do that immediately, they are going to look at a very, very bad 2022.”
Democrats do acknowledge this political reality, to an extent. In the 2020 presidential primary, most of the Democratic candidates had visited a picket line to show their support. Union organizing is why Democrats win in states like Nevada. So why, Sanders is asking, do Democrats stop there?
On the campaign trail in 2020, Sanders provided a hint of what the labor landscape would look like if he were to win White House, vowing to “double union membership in [his] first term.” That hasn’t quite happened since Biden took office at the start of last year; however, there have been signs the labor movement could be rebounding after decades of stagnation and decline.
The National Labor Relations Board has reported that, during the period from October 2021 to March of this year, petitions for union representation were up 57% from the prior period, reaching the highest level in 10 years. Yet despite the recent high-profile successes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the percentage of workers represented by a union had dropped by 0.5 percentage points between 2020 and 2021.
Sanders urged Biden to do more. “To his credit, Biden has talked more about unions than any other president in my lifetime,” said Sanders at the rally outside the Amazon facility in Staten Island on Sunday. “But talk is not enough. What he has got to do is start inviting these guys to the White House…unions that are organizing all over this country. And make it clear that he is on their side, and that he is going to do what he can to support labor organizing throughout this country.”
... While top White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress attempt to resurrect the doomed negotiations with Manchin and Sinema, Sanders is focusing his efforts on making the labor movement’s recent momentum last. He said his team has maintained “a nucleus of the campaign,” roughly 10 staffers, who are heavily focused on supporting labor efforts, connecting with workers at a variety of the flash points of unionization, including at companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s and universities across the country where poorly paid adjunct faculty are organizing.
“I think we should move to a system where, if 50% of the workers in a bargaining unit plus one vote to form a union, they have a union. End of discussion,” Sanders said. “And then you have to have the strong legislation that prevents companies from stalling out negotiating a first contract, which is a very serious problem.”
While he is clearly proud of his own efforts, Sanders credited the workers at various companies for driving the movement.
“The energy for all of the labor activity that we are seeing now-- and there is a lot of it-- is coming from the grassroots, not from the labor establishment,” Sanders said, noting that the Starbucks union is independent and the Amazon union is “completely locally grown.”

Commenting on Bezos, Bernie noted that "This is a guy who’s worth, I think, $180 billion, a guy who, in a given year, pays nothing in taxes. A guy who, in a given year, has Amazon paying nothing in taxes and who has spent millions trying to make it impossible for his workers to join unions. He gets richer and richer. He’s very excited, you know, about going off into space... He owns these mansions and yachts. He has a $500 million dollar yacht. And yet he’s resisting the ability of his workers to earn decent wages and live and work under decent working conditions."


A good-night thought? Mitt Romney (Thursday): "Desperate polls call for desperate measures: Dems consider forgiving trillions in student loans. Other bribe suggestions: Forgive auto loans? Forgive credit card debt? Forgive mortgages? And put a wealth tax on the super-rich to pay for it all. What could possibly go wrong?"


Bernie, an hour later: "Mr. Romney supports 'bribes' in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy and billions in welfare for corporations, but is shocked by the idea that working Americans might get help paying off student debt. I know he thinks corporations are people, but does he know people are people?"


Oligarch Caruso's yacht (l) and oligarch Bezos' yacht (r) cost half a billion dollars each

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