2018 Politics Starts on Labor Day as Fight for 15, SEIU Start Voter Engagement Drive

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Next year’s politics are starting this Labor Day, as political hopefuls planned to join Fight for 15’s mass walkout of fast-food workers and hospital and nurses’ aides on September 4, Fight for 15 And A Union said. And that group and the Service employees also will use the day to kick off what they call “a massive voter engagement drive” in advance of next year’s races.

The walkouts are planned for more than 300 cities across the Midwest, especially those where factories once supplied well-paying jobs but where lower-paying hospitals “now reign,” the two groups said.

Along with the walkouts, the two groups also plan to campaign “to unseat anti-worker politicians” and elect “leaders who support the $15 an hour minimum wage, union rights, universal health care, racial justice and immigration reform,” they said.

Among the hopefuls who plan to join them, Fight for 15 predicts are SEIU Local 199 President Cathy Glesson in Iowa, who is so pissed-off at the GOP’s antics in Des Moines and D.C. that she’s thrown her hat into the Democratic gubernatorial race there.

Also expected to campaign with the fast-food and health care workers are Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Jerry Springer in Ohio, incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania and former Wisconsin Fire Fighters state President Mahlon Mitchell.  Walz is an Education Minnesota member.

The Illinois AFL-CIO, over objections from several unions, endorsed Pritzker, a multi-millionaire, to combat vicious anti-union GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime multi-millionaire hedge fund manager. Rauner made destruction of Illinois public worker unions his top goal via budget shenanigans, as has right-wing Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., who seeks re-election.

Randy Bryce, an Ironworker running to unseat U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., planned to join Mitchell and workers in Milwaukee. The Rev. William Barber and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry planned to march in Chicago with the gubernatorial hopefuls and the workers. Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minn., a Bernie Sanders supporter who is deputy Demo-cratic National Committee chairman, will join striking McDonald’s workers in St. Paul. 

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work