Union members will campaign on Labor Day for Bernie Sanders for President

Labor for Bernie

Press Advisory

  Sept. 3, 2015

As grassroots support continues to surge…

Union members will campaign on Labor Day for Bernie Sanders for President

labor for bernie conference call poster

National “Union Members Call” with Bernie set for Sept. 9!

Union members across the country will be out in force on Labor Day promoting Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president and his vision of putting people before profits.

At Labor Day union gatherings, supporters will pass out “Why Workers Support Bernie” flyers, hold signs, march in parades, and sign up more members to be part of the grassroots political revolution.

“By showing the depth of grassroots support for Bernie, more local and national labor leaders will seriously consider his candidacy,” said former CWA President Larry Cohen who will be barnstorming for Bernie at events in eastern Iowa Sunday and Monday.

Click here to see a Round-Up of some of the local Labor Day activities to support Sanders.  Sen. Sanders will be speaking at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.

As of today, over 7,000 union members have signed a letter supporting Sanders and another 25,000 have donated money or volunteered for the campaign.  Labor for Bernie now has 10,000 “likes” on Facebook with posts frequently reaching over 100,000 people.

The energetic National Nurses Union has endorsed Sanders as well as nine local unions.  Click here for an up-to-date list of union endorsers.

On Sept. 9 at 8:30 PM (Eastern time) thousands of union members are expected to join labor leaders for a national “union members call” with Bernie Sanders.  Participants will hear a short message from Bernie, get reports on grassroots labor activities to build support for the campaign and have an opportunity to volunteer.  Union members
RSVP for the call here.  More details about the national conference call will be released soon.

For more information, contact: laborforbernie2016@gmail.com or Larry Cohen 202-215-1118 larry@berniesanders.com

Labor for Bernie 2016 is a volunteer effort neither funded nor directed by the Sanders for President campaign. To join this grassroots mobilization, download useful organizing materials, or learn more about Bernie’s past and present support for workers and their unions, go to: www.laborforbernie.org


Sanders Supporters in SEIU Urge Union not to Endorse Clinton

by Annie Kami

SEIU No Early Endorsement1

Driven by fears that the powerful SEIU labor union is close to announcing an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, a contingent of Bernie Sanders supporters within the union is petitioning the organization’s international executive board to hold off on endorsing a candidate.

With SEIU’s executive committee set to meet in mid-September, a growing number of hard-core Sanders supporters have become more vocal about urging union brass to withhold a Democratic primary endorsement at this stage in the race. Close to 300 SEIU leaders, members, retirees and staff have signed the petition urging the union to hold off.

“[Sanders’] campaign is drawing thousands into a movement around the very issues we support in our day-to-day organizing,” the petition reads. “To make an early endorsement of Hillary Clinton would put our union in direct opposition to this growing movement … [and] working against Sanders in the primaries will only alienate and confuse many SEIU members who are actively engaged in various movements, including the Fight for $15, immigration and higher education reform, Black Lives Matter, and many more progressive causes.”

Some SEIU members are publicly affiliated with a volunteer group called Labor for Bernie and worry that the union’s endorsement for Clinton would hamper their activities.
“I’m sure that members and local staffers like myself are not going to be dissuaded from our enthusiasm for Sanders,” said Rand Wilson, communications director for SEIU local 888 in Boston, who volunteers for Labor for Bernie. “The union’s support for another candidate will definitely have an impact on the kinds of roles that we can play at the grass-roots level.” The SEIU’s Sanders supporters say they back the Vermont senator because he has been a champion for their cause for his entire career.

An SEIU spokeswoman said the union has no timetable for an endorsement and is still in the process of engaging and polling its members on whom they support in the presidential race, and what issues they care about.

Top SEIU officials are also keenly aware of the revolt among rank-and-file teachers who publicly called on the American Federation of Teachers to withdraw its endorsement of Clinton last July, claiming there had been little internal discussion with teachers before the union backed Clinton. At one large local SEIU affiliate, staff were told to quell dissent from Sanders’ supporters, a labor source said.

With 2 million health care workers, public service workers and property services workers, including food service workers, SEIU represents powerful political muscle and is one of the biggest labor players in the race. The union has been leading the “Fight for 15,” to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In the 2008 Democratic primary race, there was also disagreement at the local levels on which candidate to endorse. SEIU allowed local unions to endorse on a state-by-state basis in the fall of 2007. In February 2008, the executive board endorsed Barack Obama.

This time around, Clinton has been actively courting the union, hoping for its full backing. Last June, she called in to a conference of fast-food workers in Chicago, and appeared to lend some support to their push for a $15 minimum wage without officially endorsing the campaign. “We have to stand firmly together and united on behalf of your right to organize, your right to bargain collectively, your right to fighting together for the higher wages that reflect the value of your work,” she said on the conference call. “For me, this is as important as anything else that I’m going to talk about in my campaign for president.”

At a campaign stop in Los Angeles last month, she met with a small group of home health care workers and told them she supported improving their working conditions and boosting their wages.

An SEIU spokeswoman said the union’s core 2016 platform includes the fight to raise wages and a path to citizenship for immigrant families and that the endorsement process is fluid, with no dates set in stone.

For now, the union is taking its time in polling all of its members: The union has hosted national telephone town halls, in which over 50,000 members participated, and conducted national member polls as well, officials said.

Some SEIU officials have warned that the Sanders faction is only a vocal minority among union members. Internal polls show Clinton coming out on top, SEIU officials told POLITICO — 75 percent of members felt favorable about her, when compared with other Democratic candidates.

Reposted from POLITICO


Workers Take Most of the Risk

Robert Reich

Robert Reich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Upsurge in Uncertain Work
Robert Reich
As Labor Day looms, more Americans than ever don’t know how much they’ll be earning next week or even tomorrow.

This varied group includes independent contractors, temporary workers, the self-employed, part-timers, freelancers, and free agents. Most file 1099s rather than W2s, for tax purposes.

On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightening speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.
Continue reading

How Brother Bernie is Making Labor’s Day

by Steve Early

Bernie-NNU-endorsement-600px-150814If it wasn’t for the Democratic presidential primary race now underway, Labor Day 2015 might be just another annual occasion for union mourning rather than celebration.

American workers have lost far more battles than they’ve than won recently. Further legal or political setbacks could be on the way, thanks to the Obama Administration and U.S. Supreme Court.

This spring, President Obama, big business, and their Republican allies in Congress won approval for a “fast-track” vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), when that controversial free trade deal is ready for ratification. Labor critics predict the TPP will undermine workers’ rights, environmental standards, and efforts to regulate multinational corporate activity. Continue reading

European Journalists Support Organizing American Media Workers

by Paul Garver


[ed. note] Mike Elk is leaving Politico, where he was part of a team hired to write for Morning Shift. Mike will focus on organizing media workers.

Mike is pictured here with his father Gene Elk, director of organization for the United Electric Workers (UE)

Mike Elk is a first rate labor reporter with a strong union background and a fierce commitment to the workers’ movement. He is one of the few U.S. labor journalists to understand the importance of global worker solidarity. Too bad that Politico did not publish more of the articles I know he was working on. I wish him the best in continuing to organize media workers.

In a statement yesterday, Politico pledged to remain neutral on its workers organizing a union.

Following is an article on Mike Elk by the European Federation of Journalists, together with its protest letter to Politico, which has being trying to establish a European bureau.

Update (20.08.2015) The European Federation of Journalists sent today a letter to Politico CEO Jim VandeHei expressing its concern about news reports suggesting that Mike Elk, Labor reporter at Politico and co-author of the Louisville Statement, has been fired. Politico confirmed, on Thursday, Mike Elk’s departure, saying it has “nothing to do with his union activities”. (…)

Over 12,000 jobs have disappeared from the US media industry, over the last decade. But according to Pew Research Center’s count, 5,000 full-time edit jobs have been created in 2014 across US digital publishing companies. As a consequence, unions are cropping up in digital newsrooms. And a new group, Media Workers Unite, calls for rights for US online journalists.

Earlier this year, the employees of Gawker Media, Vice and Salon voted to unionize: they want to share in the growing prosperity of digital media industry and be able to establish decent working conditions for online journalists.

Pay in digital publishing companies is consistently lower than traditional media, where union collective bargaining has led to better agreements on salary, retirement security and working conditions. Following the most recent US survey, the median annual salary for Journalism and Mass Communication B.A. graduates was $40,500 for union members and $32,000 for non-union members.

Underpaid and exploited, US online journalists are now seeking to unionize. Some of them founded a new group, Media Workers Unite, announcing the release of the “Louisville Statement of Media Workers’ Rights”, on October 8th, at The Carl Braden Memorial Center in Louisville. Among the 12 rights they call for: overtime protections (hours worked above the limit of 40 hours a week must be paid), less restrictive social media policies when journalists are off the clock, protections against age discrimination, freelancers rights, racial and ethnic diversity…

“When you are in the labor movement, no matter how scary this world can get, you never walk alone,” says Politico reporter Mike Elk, co-author of the Louisville Statement with several journalists and trade unionists, including members of the Newspaper Guild, an US affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). “As a workplace safety reporter, I see overtime as hazard that science tells us leads to mental health collapses like that I experienced that has been widely ridiculed by many. Despite the naysayers, we must put a stop to forced overtime in the media industry as it is literally killing media workers (…) and causing serious mental health issues for so many others. (…) The days of McCarthyism are over in the newsroom – everyone deserves a voice!”

The authors of the Statement call on media workers to join them this October 8th – 11th in Louisville in developing a Nationwide Center for Media Workers.

efj on elk

National Nurses Union Endorses Sanders

As the Executive Director of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in our nation, I was there when we proudly endorsed Bernie Sanders for President.

In the moments leading up to our endorsement, I watched our nurses’ outpouring of love and respect for Bernie.


Bernie and NNU members

It was a magical moment of genuine hope for nurses who see people when they are at their most vulnerable and suffering, and who care for every person’s life in our country.

Nurses see the terrible social health consequences from:

Choosing between putting food on the table and getting the medications and treatment you need
Job loss
Severe depression from debt, especially student loan debt
Pollution, toxic spills, and climate change
Malnutrition and income inequality
With Bernie Sanders, we can turn our country around, and restore genuine hope for our families. Continue reading

Sanders: The Economy is Rigged by Corporate America


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