Postal Workers meeting
A "meet and greet" was held at the office of the American Postal Workers Union July 13, 2015 between more than 40 U.S. labor leaders and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who is running for president.
"Bernie Sanders has been an outspoken champion of postal customers, postal workers and the public Postal Service - demanding expanded services for all Americans, an end to mail delays, and an end to the closure of postal facilities," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
"And he has been a forceful advocate for working people for decades. He's not in the pocket of big corporations. We thought it was important to hear his ideas about the 2016 campaign - especially how he plans to take on the big-money interests that are strangling our political system and our economy.
"There has been tremendous interest and excitement about his campaign in the labor movement," he said.
The meeting at APWU's office was co-hosted by former president of the Communications Workers of America Larry Cohen, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and APWU Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell. Neither the APWU nor the CWA has endorsed a presidential candidate in 2016. Both unions are affiliates of the AFL-CIO.
New Labor Party?
“The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils,” reads the main political resolution passed December 2017 by AFL-CIO convention delegates. Lee Saunders, chair of the AFL-CIO’s political committee and president of AFSCME, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, introduced the resolution. They lead the labor federation’s two largest unions. Convention managers yoked the resolution to another measure it also approved discussing a labor party, though not by name.
“For decades the political system has failed working people,” Weingarten said. “Acting on behalf of corporations and the rich and powerful, the political system has been taking away, one after another, the pillars that support working people’s right to good jobs and secure benefits.”
The two measures, adopted October 24, followed a late Monday-evening meeting of supporters of reviving the Labor Party idea. It attracted about 50 delegates to an upstairs meeting room at the convention’s lead hotel. Their contention: Both the Democrats and the Republicans are under corporate domination.
The prime mover of a Labor Party motion at the convention, Postal Workers President Mark Dimondstein, has been calling for such a new formation since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, which he said showed both Democrats and Republicans were in the pockets of the corporate class.
Dimondstein made many of the same arguments for a Labor Party on the convention floor that he voiced in the meeting the night before, when Baldemar Velasquez of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Mark Dudzic of Labor Committee for Single Payer, and Donna DeWitt, former president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, joined him.
Meeting participants differed over whether the nascent party should first build an organization and concentrate on issues, or get into political races, running the risk of becoming “spoilers” in the current political system, rigged in favor of the two existing parties.
Interim National Council
- Donna DeWitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO - Co-Chair
- Bill Kane, President, New Jersey Industrial Union Council - Co-Chair
- Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee - Co-Chair
- Noel Beasley, International Vice President, UNITE HERE
- Ed Bruno, California Nurses Association
- Deborah Burger, President, CNA
- Dave Campbell, Secretary-Treasurer, PACE Local 8-675
- Marilyn Clement, Director, CNHP NOW
- Russ Davis, Vice President, AFGE Local 2782
- Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director, CNA
- Mark Dimondstein, NC Piedmont Triad chapter
- Jed Dodd, General Chairman, Penn. Federation, BMWE
- Lisa Frank, Metro Pittsburgh chapter
- Cheri Honkala, Founder, Kensington Welfare Rights Union
- Bruce Klipple, General Secretary-Treasurer, UE
- C. Robert McDevitt, President, UNITE HERE Local 54
- Bill Onasch, Kansas City chapter
- Cecilia Perry, Public Policy Analyst, AFSCME
- Linda Raisovich-Parsons, UMWA
- Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor, University of Pennsylvania
- David H. Richardson, PhD, Secretary, AFGE Local 12
- Dean Robinson, Professor, UMASS-Amherst
- Anthony Rochon, BMWE
- Preston Smith II, Professor, Mount Holyoke College
- Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME DC 1707
- Chris Townsend, Political Action Director, UE
- Gerry Zero, IBT Local 705
- [ http://peoplesworld.org/labor-leaders-meet-with-bernie-sanders/, PW Labor leaders meet with Bernie Sanders, July 14 2015]
- [https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/afl-cio-calls-for-a-break-with-lesser-of-two-evils-politics/ PW AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics October 25, 2017 9:21 AM CST BY JOHN WOJCIK AND MARK GRUENBERG]
- Labor Party News April 2005 (accessed on Dec. 31, 2010)