OPINION: PROTECTING DEMOCRACY: Comparison of Ds vs. Rs on the issues

Electing Democrats is critical for union members in November


Part 1 of a 2-part series

We need to work to make sure Democrats clean up in November. This is important to us as union members, employees, and as citizens of the United States. Let’s take a look at some of the key issues:

  • Safety at work: Everybody has a right to go to work and be free from harm, including me and my fellow teachers. But gunmen have killed teachers and their students in Uvalde, Texas, at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. Yet, Republicans have never supported necessary gun legislation to protect us. They are also against mandatory Coronavirus safety protocols at work.
  • Your right to unionize: The Republican party is anti-union and anti-collective bargaining. Trump tried to trash the American Federation of Government Employees. Wisconsin Republican legislators and the Republican governor outlawed public-sector unions. The Maryland Republican governor vetoed a bill to allow employees at all the community colleges to form unions and have collective bargaining. Thankfully, the Democratic legislature overrode the veto.
  • Clean air and drinking water: We deserve to drink clean water and to breathe clean air. The party with the best record on protecting our water and air is the Democrats.
  • The pandemic: Republican governors and legislators have acted against effective safety measures such as requiring masks. Republican Trump called the pandemic a hoax and did not jump into action to protect us as he should have and needed to. At one point during the present administration, Senate Republicans blocked funding to continue providing free COVID-19 vaccinations to the public.
  • Freedom of speech: In 2019, Republicans in South Dakota passed a law to suppress peaceful protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans in Florida also passed a law to try to suppress peaceful protest. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of America and our democracy. It is also essential for Organized Labor.
  • Blocking positive legislation: While some complain the Biden Administration is not doing anything, in reality it’s the Republicans who are continually blocking Democratic-sponsored legislation needed to solve the nation’s problems and to improve our lives and our country such as the PRO Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, additional domestic COVID-19 funding, gun regulations to keep teachers and students safe, COVID-19 workplace safety, Build Back Better and the Protect America’s Workers Act.

And don’t sour on Joe Biden. People expect the president to fix everything that was broken when he took office, but there is no presidential magic wand.  He needs at least 60 Democrats in the Senate to do what he has set out to do. With only 50 now, the Republicans stop him every chance they get.

In spite of this, Joe Biden has taken decisive action:

  • On the pandemic: President Biden, at the very beginning of his administration, sent over 25 million masks to low-income citizens by delivering them to community health centers and food banks. He set up a vaccination plan that has led to at least 200 million Americans now being fully vaccinated and, thus, the majority of us having more protection against severe disease and death.  He also made rapid COVID-19 tests available to anyone who wanted them.
  • Supports our right to unionize. The president signed an executive order for executive branch departments to remain neutral during organizing campaigns, and, on his first day in office, fired the NLRB general counsel, who was widely considered anti-union. Democrats support the Protect the Right to Organize Act but cannot get it passed in the U.S. Senate because of Republican opposition. Biden also continuously publicly voices his support for unions and creating union jobs.
  • Introduced the Build Back Better plan which would have helped with child care and health care costs and increase fines for breaking labor law, but it was doomed by Senate Republicans.
  • Shepherded a major infrastructure bill through Congress (Editor’s note: with billions going to the states to create massive construction projects and millions of man-hours of work for union tradespersons).
  • Restored decency and statesmanship to the White House that Republican Trump threw out the window.
  • Treats the American people with respect, unlike the Republican then-president, who publicly denigrated individual U.S. citizens by name (yes, this actually happened in America!), including the union local president at Carrier in Indianapolis and, incredibly, election workers!
  • Is working to bring down inflation and gas prices (it’s beginning to work) and took steps to ease the baby formula shortage.

It’s clear. We, that is, all 13 million individual union members in the country, must work for a Democratic sweep on Nov. 8 to save our democracy and to make more progress for our country and Labor (i.e., us).

We must campaign and vote for Democrats this November at the local, state, and federal levels. Volunteer for the campaigns for the Democratic candidates where you live for the U.S. Senate, U.S House, state senate and house, governorship and local government.

Get involved! Knock on doors, put up yard signs, do phone banking!

Vote Democratic!

(David Fallick, a member of the American Association of University Professors, teaches English as a Second Language. He is a periodic contributor to the Labor Tribune. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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