WHO WILL THE UNIONS ENDORSE?
By: Ricardo Sia and Dermiel Robles
Editor’s Note: PMAA is open to all workers and unions disenfranchised to self-expression and muted by mainstream media and wish to be heard. We welcome news articles, features, and blogs from unions for posting and publishing to our page and website.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Any time soon, the race for the 2020 US Presidential Election will come to its final moment this November. Candidates from the Republican and Democrats are all on their toes, head to head, gearing towards winning the heart and mind of the American people to support them and cast their vote for them.
In the latest poll survey released by Financial Times dated 09 October 2020, the democratic party’s nominee former vice-president Joe Biden is currently ahead of incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in key battleground states, though he has seen his lead narrow in some states since the summer.
In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Mr. Trump won by razor-thin margins in 2016, Mr. Biden leads by 5 and 6 points, respectively. The race is even closer in Arizona, a state only one Democratic presidential candidate has won in the past 70 years, and Ohio, where Mr. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 8 points in 2016. Other toss-up states include North Carolina, which has voted Republican in nine out of the last 10 presidential elections, as well as Florida and Texas, where COVID cases soared during the summer. In these states, the difference in poll numbers between the two men is less than 5 percentage points, suggesting a close race in November.
But given this political survey, where do Labor Unions really stand for? Or who are they willing to support to be the next President of the United States of America, and why?
In an interview by Bloomberg Business Week with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka, he said he most likely to go with the former vice president Joe Biden of the Democratic party because he understands that the job is more than just the paycheck and the job really is about dignity, respect, and security for the workers.
“I think what workers wanna hear what you’re gonna do to make life better for them. Biden really does wanna bring more jobs to us, and he has several plans on how to do that,” Trumka added.
AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the United States with 56 national and international labor unions that represents 12.5 million working men and women. AFL-CIO ensures that all working people are treated fairly, with decent paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, dignity, and equal opportunities.
“Donald Trump is a threat to the livelihoods of workers and our families,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union Local 226 in Las Vegas.
“We are fighting to take back our country and we will deliver Nevada for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and candidates who will fight to protect Nevadans,” Arguello-Kline added.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in the gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.
The decision of the Culinary Unions in supporting the candidacy of Joe Biden was based on what they have experience with the Trump Administration especially on how the President undermines the working people. They believe that the current administration is dehumanizing the workers. Among the issues important to the working families are the following:
- Winning comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants,
- Ensuring that One Job Should Be Enough for every worker,
- Securing healthcare for all, while maintaining a choice for Culinary Union members to keep what they’ve built in 85 years, and
- Defeating Trump on Election Day.
The sentiments of the Culinary Unions in Nevada were also felt by the Filipino-American workers especially those in the frontlines wherein they witness the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that the present administration reacted too late.
“We need leaders who rely on science and data, we cannot rely on feelings anymore,” Medel Paguirigan, system senior director of nursing education in New York City Hospital and health center said. Paguirigan had been in the medical profession for almost 30 years and six of his colleagues passed away after they were infected by the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 or COVID19.
Meanwhile, other unions have a different opinion and perspective on why they still support the incumbent President Donald Trump. According to James Williams, vice president of the International Union of Painters and Allied trades, Trump has a very solid foundation among his membership.
“They connect with his messaging and a lot of the fear-mongering going all the way back to when he was first elected with, ‘Be afraid of the immigrant. The immigrant’s here to take your job.’ That resonated with our membership. They feel like their way of life and their way of living is under attack and without really understanding the dynamics at play,” James explains.
“We haven’t moved the needle here,” said Mike Knisley, executive secretary-treasurer with the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, who estimated that about half of his members voted for Trump in 2016 and will do so again this November.
“Even if given all the information that’s been put out there, all the facts — just pick an issue that the president has had his hands in — it doesn’t make a difference,” Knisley added.
It seems everybody has a point to stand on what they believe in…. or of what they see will serve their interest and purpose once their chosen one seated in the Whitehouse.
Whoever wins or gets the majority vote this November, for the labor leaders and officers they just do their mandate to fight for the interest and welfare of their membership as a whole. Workers will always be workers who work to survive and live another day. CPM