On April 16th of this year, as I worked with a group of IUPAT staff and members of District Council 51 on our Community Day of Action in Baltimore, Maryland, I saw a movement begin to happen. By the end of the day, as we finished our work, I began to see Facebook posts, emails, and text messages from all over North America showing the work our members did on that day in community after community, from coast to coast, across the United States and Canada. In that moment, I felt a great sense of pride in our great union. We were all united in giving back and strengthening our communities. Also, we were building alliances that link us with the communities we live and work in. Unfortunately, the labor movement alone is not large enough to effect all of the changes that benefit our members and all working families. However, together with all of the communities and various groups we are building partnerships with, we can speak with a powerful voice for the benefit of all families.
We are now in a season where we must use that voice in the political arena. The outcome of these elections, federal, state, and local, will have a great impact on whether or not we continue to invest in the infrastructure of our nation, raise the minimum wage, and implement policies that create middle class jobs in our nation.
I know many have become enamored with Donald Trump. Thinking he is a tough guy who says what he thinks. Don’t be fooled. He was pro-choice until it became politically expedient for him to be pro-life. He was for gun control laws until he felt it to his advantage to become the darling of the National Rifle Association. His divisive rhetoric is an old tactic used to divide people and get people to blame their problems on one group or another.
Don’t think that the money interests are neutralized because one candidate says he is spending all of his own money for the campaign. That was only partially true, and for the race for the nomination only. A substantial amount of money raised for his campaign to be the Republican nominee was from individual contributions. The rest he loaned to his campaign with the expectation that, now as the presumptive nominee, he will bring in funds to pay himself back.
In May, Trump hired a hedge fund financier to solicit campaign donations from “big-money” donors. In fact, this month Trump is already hard at work with the GOP to raise money for his campaign and the party by holding fundraisers in Boston, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and New York City.
Moreover, as part of the 1% himself, he favors policies that will be in his self-interest as evidenced by his tax proposal that further cuts taxes on the richest of the rich. His tax policies will stop our infrastructure investment and further deplete funding for education, social security, Medicare, and other programs necessary to maintain the middle class.
Some think that Donald Trump is necessary to our country because he is a business man and will bring his business acumen to running the country. Just remember that the most successful businessman to be elected President of the United States was Herbert Hoover, whose presidency was a disaster to the country. More important to us is that Mr. Trump and those he would surround himself with are anti-union and have no empathy for people who work for a wage each day.
The rest of this article will include some excerpts from my article in September of last year, but it bears repeating.
Don’t fall for all the hate mongering about Social Security, welfare, and undocumented immigrants. Our country is not going broke from feeding the poor and caring for the elderly; it is from huge tax cuts for the ultra-rich, and subsidies for their corporations.
Don’t fall for the claim that one politician is more moral than another. Morality is taught at home, and neither party has demonstrated the fortitude to truly support people of faith.
Don’t fall for the low wage, anti-union rhetoric that wages must be low to be competitive. If that were true, Walmart would have put Costco out of business years ago. The same is true for the German auto industry, which pays much higher wages than the U.S. auto industry and sells many more cars than U.S. auto makers.
So, educate yourself on the issues and where the candidate stands on them, from the president, to the Congress, to the state and local races, and then vote your pocketbook.
Further, what is good for the labor movement is good for you and your family. Strong unions elevate everyone’s standard of living.
Our country needs substantial new revenue by asking the wealthiest people in the country and the largest corporations, some of whom, in a given year, made billions in profits and did not pay any federal taxes, to pay their fair share of taxes. Not by stashing their money in tax haven countries, nor should they be rewarded for shipping jobs to countries with no labor, safety, or environmental standards.
Our country needs to take that new revenue and invest in rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water systems, power grid, real high speed rail and much more.
This issue of the Journal is dedicated to building communities. Nothing will build our communities more than the dignity of a good-paying job with benefits, like health insurance and a pension. That kind of economic stability strengthens families and strong families build strong communities.
We have the power to take back our country. To do so, we must speak to everyone we meet about the issues and what is at stake. We need to educate everyone we know. That is the only way to combat all the money and manure that will be spread in this election cycle.
We have to support the candidates that are most in line with the policies that will elevate the families of the IUPAT members.
Let’s do it! God Bless you all.