In a speech to the IAM, Sanders promised as President to repeal 14-b and pass the Workplace Democracy Act
by Brian Young on Apr 08, 2019
On Monday, the International Association of Machinist (IAM) heard from Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders at their Transportation Department conference in Las Vegas.
Sanders opened his speech by restating his commitment to the union movement and bragging about his 100% lifetime pro-union voting record (although the AFL-CIO has him rated at a 98% lifetime score). He also spoke about creating an economy that works for the 97% not the top 3%. As a part of making the economy work better for working people, Sanders’ addressed stalled negotiations between IAM and American Airlines.
Let me say a word about some of the issues that the IAM is dealing with right now. Right now, American Airlines wants to slash the pay of its workers, outsource jobs, take away health care benefits, and abolish its defined benefit pension plan. Brothers and sisters: Together we are not going to allow that to happen. American Airlines is not a poor, struggling company. It is not going broke.
Last year, it made a net profit of $1.4 billion. This is a company that had enough money to pay its CEO, Doug Parker, over $19 million in compensation last year. This is a company that has enough money to buy back $15 billion of its own stock over a 5-year period. So, today, I say to the CEO of American Airlines: If you have enough money to buy back $15 billion of your own stock, you damn well have enough money to pay your union workers a decent wage with good benefits.
Sanders also opened fire on Trump. He accused Trump of “waging a war on workers” through his anti-union appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Sanders pledged that if he is elected, he will:
“Reject Donald Trump’s new attempt to make it easier to decertify airline and rail unions. And we are going to put pro-worker appointees on the National Labor Relations Board and the National Mediation Board. When we are in the White House, we are going to reject Donald Trump’s efforts to gut Amtrak and turn decent-paying union jobs into outsourced contract jobs. Instead, we are going to fully fund Amtrak and invest in high speed-rail. When we are in the White House, we are going to pass the Workplace Democracy Act that I will be re-introducing in the Senate.
The passage of the Workplace Democracy Act is key, because as Sanders later pointed out this bill would not only legalize card check, institute stiff penalties on employers who refuse to negotiate with their employee unions, and end misclassification of workers, but it would also make Right to Work illegal by repealing 14-b of the Taft-Hartley Act.
In many polls, Sanders has been listed as either the top candidate or the number two candidate behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who addressed the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on Friday. Both candidates are expecting strong support from union members. Sanders had significant support from unions like the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in 2016 and is hoping that strong support among the rank and file will help push him to the Democratic nomination.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also addressed the conference. In her speech, she outlined an infrastructure plan, her support for unions, and her support for a fairer international trade system.