Following up from the conversation at the Detroit debate, the Washington Post reported on Medicare-for-all and its relation to unions. The story details where unions across the country stand, quoting Mary Kay Henry saying “The choice here is not between Medicare-for-all or employer-sponsored care. It’s between expanding health-care coverage or watching the president and Republican congressional leaders rip it all away from working people. There’s no reason why we can’t ensure everyone has the same benefits that some have been able to bargain for.”
THIRD DEBATE: HOUSTON
SEIU Texas and Fight for $15 and a Union plan to hold actions at the third debate, September 12-13, in Houston, TX. The debate will no longer be a town hall style format as previously detailed by the DNC and media. The event will be similar to previous debates, moderated by ABC News and Univision. Right now, only nine candidates have qualified for this third debate. Those candidates are:
- Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
- Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN
- Senator Kamala Harris of California
- Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas
- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Andrew Yang
Candidates close to qualifying:
- Julian Castro
- Senator Tulsi Gabbard
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Tom Steyer
UPCOMING EVENTS WITH CANDIDATES
New Hampshire is planning a town hall event with Pete Buttigieg on Friday, September 6, the evening before the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention. Members who live in New Hampshire, including those who work for locals in Massachusetts, will be invited to receive a pre-event briefing and training.
CANDIDATE POLICY UPDATES
It was a busy week on the stump as Democratic candidates ate their way through the Iowa State Fair. In between all the schmoozing, several candidates released new policy plans:
Senator Michael Bennet released a plan on election security. Timed to coincide with the release of his new book Dividing America: How Russia Hacked our Democracy, the plan calls for increased election security, closing campaign finance loopholes that have been exploited by “foreign actors”, mobilizing allies, and additional steps meant to restore Americans’ faith in democracy. Specifically, Bennet plans to update voting machines, provide grants to upgrade voting technology, ensure every voter has the right to use a paper ballot, and additional IT and cybersecurity updates.
Senator Elizabeth Warren released a plan on gun safety. Her proposal begins with executive actions to expand background checks, close loopholes in current gun laws, and target gun traffickers and licensed gun dealers who break the law. Additionally, she proposes legislation covering universal background checks and an assault weapons ban but also a system requiring a license to buy and own guns as well as urban gun violence intervention programs. Warren also proposes a one-week waiting period for firearm purchases and a higher tax on gun manufacturers. And with her assault weapons ban, she proposes a program that would force current assault weapon owners — with the threat of penalties — to dispose or register the guns.
Mayor Pete Butigieg released a plan on rural America. The plan proposes to expand regional partnerships, allocate additional funding for local rural economic planning, expand existing programs run through the Department of Small Business Administration, expand programs providing apprenticeships and internships, create a new Community Renewal category of visas to attract immigrants to rural areas in need of workers, increase funding for agriculture research, and increase broadband access.
Finally, Senator Cory Booker released a plan on hate crimes and combatting white supremacy. Booker’s plan would create a White House Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacist Violence to coordinate efforts, improve training for law enforcement, improve data collection and data sharing, make lynching a federal crime, fund programs dedicated to helping victims heal, and direct additional resources to fighting online hate and radicalization.
2020 TRAININGS WITH LOCALS
TWR Member Political Engagement Update Webinar
On Wednesday, the Together We Rise team hosted a member political engagement update webinar for local political staff and TWR drivers. Participants shared program updates and best practices from the field. USWW presented on their ongoing engagement with presidential candidates as part of their contract campaigns. We showcased SEIU2020.org, the Unions for All Organizing Network Facebook group, toolkits for distributed political organizing, and our member-to-member purple text program.
Purple Text Training
Over 50 Local Union Purple Text administrators joined a training this week. Many learned for the first time how to launch a member to member text campaign, while others got a refresher on the new features that have been added to Purple Text in recent months. Participants discussed how to think about training members to use Purple Text to engage their coworkers in politics this cycle–helping locals achieve the goal of 1.5% of members volunteering this cycle.
UNIONS & $15 MENTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY CANDIDATES
Every patient has the right to be safe and every nurse has the right to work in a safe hospital, without the fear of violence. I stand with the @SEIU121RN nurses at @DignityHealth @humankindness and their patients. https://t.co/nXQoFTdLNC
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 15, 2019
Since 1978, CEO compensation has risen 940%, while the average American has seen a raise of just 12%. It’s wrong. We need a $15 minimum wage, stronger labor laws, and a tax code that works for the middle class.
It’s time we reward work, not just wealth. https://t.co/E1rJPpGdsy
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 15, 2019
Unions are about the simple idea of shared dreams and shared prosperity. No matter where you come from, no matter who you know or how much money you have, you can make it in America. pic.twitter.com/vynonbs65O
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 15, 2019
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You used to be able to buy a house and raise a family with one full-time job. That’s not true for most working families today. Let’s raise the wage to $15 (and be ambitious for more), require paid family & medical leave, paid sick time and close the gender pay gap. #workingfamiliesfirst
Under a Warren administration, I will take executive action to ensure fair pay and benefits for all workers. Federal contractors will be required to extend a $15 minimum wage and benefits to all employees.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 15, 2019
Senator Bernie Sanders sat down with rapper Cardi B to talk about issues her fans submitted online for her to ask Presidential candidates. The conversation included a discussion around $15 and a union.