Port truck drivers strike to end misclassification

Striking short haul port truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday, April 29 expanded their picketing to the Union Pacific’s Los Angeles Transportation Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Wednesday was the third day of the strike against for four trucking companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach: Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9), Pacer Cartage, Harbor Rail Transport, and Intermodal Rail Transport.

The striking drivers haul freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to nearby rail centers and warehouses. The freight is then transported all across the US.

Until Wednesday, they had limited their picketing to the properties owned by the companies being struck. If the strike continues, the picketing could be expanded again to the maritime terminals at the ports.

The workers are striking because they have been misclassified as independent workers even though they have little independence and work directly for their companies.

The misclassification, according to the striking workers, has led illegal deductions from the pay for things like truck leases, insurance, fuel, and maintenance.

“We are (striking) to make sure that these companies stop their lawless behavior,” said Hector Flores, a striking driver. “They cannot keep engaging in wage theft. We demand re-­ classification to employees.  We know what we are doing is right, and we are not going to stop striking until these companies stop breaking the law.

“We had no choice but to go on strike again because my company is continuing to violate the law.” said Humberto Canales another striking truck driver. “The courts have ruled that I am an employee and that their illegal deductions from my paycheck must stop. But they keep fighting me so I am fighting back.

Canales works for Pacer Cartage.

Seven Pacer employees in 2013 filed complaints with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) charging the company with misclassifying them as independent contractors.

DLSE in April 2014 ruled in favor of the drivers, noting that the drivers were forbidden from working for another trucking company, couldn’t turn down work without facing sanctions, were required to report to work at specific times, and were assigned routes by a company dispatcher.

DLSE ruled that Pacer owed the workers $2 million in back pay for the illegal deductions.

Pacer appealed DLSE’s decision.

A California Superior Court judge  in January upheld DLSE’s decision and ordered Pacer to pay the workers the $2 million in back pay.

Pacer appealed the judge’s decision and continues to classify drivers as independent contractors.

About 5o port drivers for Pacific 9 Transportation, another company being struck, have filed misclassification charges against the company that are still pending before the DLSE.

In all about 500 port drivers have initiated claims of misclassification with DLSE, which so far has ruled on 56 of them and in every case ruled in favor of the drivers.

Despite the fact that the companies continue to lose in the courts and at DLSE, they appear to be pinning their hopes of maintaining their illegal misclassification system by using the lengthy appeal process to wear down the drivers.

The workers’ strike appears to be an attempt to force the issue and make the companies follow the law.

One port trucking company, Green Fleet Systems, has broken ranks with the others.

The Teamsters, which has been supporting the drivers in their efforts to fight misclassification, announced before the strike began that it reached an agreement with Green Fleet.

“We are pleased to announce that Green Fleet Systems, LLC, and the Teamsters Union have entered into a comprehensive labor peace agreement designed to ensure that Green Fleet’s drivers have an opportunity to exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act and, if they choose, to select an exclusive representative for purpose of collective bargaining,” said the Teamsters in a statement announcing the agreement.

Green Fleet drivers went on strike last summer to protest their misclassification.

Another trucking company, Shippers Transport Express in November reclassified its independent contractors as employees, and in January, the new driver/employees voted to join the Teamsters.

Two of the companies being struck, Pacer and Harbor Bridge Transport, are owned by the same company, XPO Logistics.

According to the Teamsters, XPO Logistics recently acquired 3PL Norbert Dentressangle a French company for $3.5 billion.

“We are shocked to learn that just as XPO Logistics battles the company’s immigrant port truck drivers in California Superior Court to avoid reimbursing them more than $2 million in illegal deductions stolen by the company’s subsidiary, Pacer Cartage, from their paychecks, the company has gone on what is being called an acquisition spree,” said Fred Potter, director of the Teamsters’ Port Division.

Workers’ Memorial Day: “Mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living”

Going to work can be dangerous.

More than 4,500 workers in the US died on the job in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.

According to the Center for Disease Control. another 3 million workers in private industry were injured or sickened on the job as were more than 740,000 state and local government workers.

Of those injured on the job, 2.8 million workers were treated in emergency rooms and 140,000 required hospitalization.

On April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day events will be held all over the US to commemorate those who died and to demonstrate for improved health and safety on the job.

“On this Workers’ Memorial Day, we need to join hands to seek stronger safety and health protections and better standards and enforcement,” said James Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters. “To quote Mother Jones, a small woman but a giant in the American labor movement, ‘Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living’.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 22 released its revised Census on Fatal Occupational Injuries.

According to the revised data, 4,585 workers were killed on the job in 2013, slightly below the 4,628 killed on the job in 2012.

But while overall worker deaths remained about the same, there was an alarmingly high incidence of on-the-job deaths of Latino workers. There were 817 deaths of Latino workers in 2013, up by 9 percent from the previous year.

For all other racial and ethnic categories, the number of on-the-job deaths declined slightly.

Among Latinos killed on the job in 2013, 66 percent were immigrant workers.

The industry with the most deaths was construction; 828 construction workers died on the job in 2013. Latinos in 2013 were 25.5 percent of the construction workforce and 29 percent of those who died on the job.

Juan Carlos Reyes of Brownsville, Texas was one of those Latino workers killed on the job, and it was no accident.

Reyes was working on the fourth floor of building that was to become a Marriott hotel in Harlingen, Texas. His employer was a non-union electrical contractor. The platform on which he was standing became unstable, and he fell to his death..

OSHA conducted an investigation and issued five citations for safety violations, including one that OSHA described as willful.

One of the safety violations cited by OSHA was for improperly constructed scaffolding.

Reyes worked in the state that had the most on the job fatalities of any other state–Texas.

In 2013, Texas recorded 508 worker fatalities, down a bit from 2012 when 536 Texas workers died.

Worker deaths in Texas are well above those of other states with comparable populations.

California had 396 worker fatalities, 28 percent fewer than Texas; New York had 178, about 180 percent fewer than Texas.

Of the 508 workers killed in Texas, 192, or 38 percent, were Latinos.

Two Workers’ Memorial Day events in Texas organized by the Workers Defense Project (WDP), will honor the Texas workers who died on the job and urge state and local leaders to take action to make work in Texas safer.

WDP helps low-income workers, especially immigrant workers from Latin America, organize and fight for job safety, fair treatment, good wages, and respect on the job.

One of the events will be held in Austin where state lawmakers are in session. After a media conference that begins at 8:00 A.M. at the Capitol, those participating in the event will meet for a short training session then fan out to urge lawmakers to pass legislation to make work safer and to protect workers from other abuses such as wage theft.

In Dallas, participants will meet at City Hall then lobby City Council members for a city ordinance requiring that workers receive at least a 10-minute rest break for at least every four hours of work.

“Sadly, Texas remains the deadliest state to work construction in the country,” reads a statement on a WDP Facebook page announcing the Austin event. “But this legislative session, Workers Defense Project is fighting to win change to better protect workers. This Workers’ Memorial Day, WDP will honor the workers who have died building our state and urge our elected officials to listen to construction workers and pass life saving laws. Join us for a day of action including a press conference, legislative visits and an exhibit.”

Government contract workers strike for a living wage and unionization of their jobs

Who employs the most low-wage workers in the US?

According to a report published by Demos, it’s the US government.

About 2 million workers, who provide services funded by the federal government either directly through outsourcing contracts or through grants and subsidies to companies that perform work for the government or the public, make $12 an hour or less.

About 500 of these workers on April 15 staged a one-day strike in Washington DC to demand better pay and the unionization of their jobs.

They were joined by another 500 supporters at a rally at the Capitol.

“(These workers) feed the generals in the Pentagon, they also personally serve US senators, some of whom are running to be the next president of the United States,” said Joseph Geevarghese of Good Jobs Nation, the organizer of the April 22 strike at the rally. “These workers strike because they want our nation to know that their taxpayer dollars are keeping everyday Americans in poverty.”

In addition to the Senate and Pentagon, striking workers work at the Department of Education, Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, the Capitol Visitors Service, and for the National Park Services providing custodial, maintenance, food, transportation, and other services.

They work for companies such as Compass Global, an international outsourcing company, Sabree Environmental and Construction, Inc., which describes itself as “a full service provider and defense contractor with multifaceted capabilities,” and Open Top Sightseeing, owned by Big Bus Tours, another international company that provides bus sightseeing service all over the world.

The striking workers want President Obama to sign an executive order that will ensure that government contracts are awarded to companies that pay a living wage of at least $15 an hour, provide benefits, and respect collective bargaining rights. They’re calling their proposed executive order the Model Employer Executive Order.

One of the workers on strike is Bertrand Olotara, who wrote an opinion piece recently published in the Guardian.

“I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty,” writes Olotara, who makes $12 an hour as a cook in the Senate office building.

Olotara has to work a second job and still has trouble making ends meet. He’s a single father and relies on food stamps to keep his children fed.

Olotara works for Compass Global.

Another worker who was on strike is Sonia Chavez who along with her husband cleans offices in the Education Department building.

Officially Chavez works for Ace Janitorial Services, but according to Good Jobs Nation, Ace is a front for the more high-profile Sabree Construction and Environmental.

Chavez, who is paid only $9.50 an hour, has charged Sabree with wage theft and she along with her co-workers are seeking $472,500 in back pay that they are owed.

“My husband and I are federal contract workers who clean the office of the US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan,” said Chavez at a media conference. “The Secretary of Education likes to speak about a “Race to the Top” on education. But the truth is we also need a “Race to the Top” on wages.”

Providing services for the government hasn’t always been low-wage, low-benefit work.

Before the government began privatizing many of these services, some of the work paid decent wages, came with benefits, and allowed some workers to establish a toe hold in the middle class.

“Jobs that provided a path to the middle class for million in the past are now creating a vast army comprised of the working poor,” reads a report on government contract labor published by Good Jobs Nation.

Women and people of color have been especially hard hit since the government joined the race to the bottom.

According to Good Jobs Nation, 70 percent of the federal government’s contract workers are women and 45 percent are people of color.

74 percent of the government’s contract workers make $10 an hour or less, 60 percent receive no benefits, and 36 percent receive some form of public assistance.

“Our nation cannot boast of being the land of the free, while allowing companies to pay wages that enslave its citizens to debt, poverty, and an inability to provide a decent living for themselves, their children and generations to come,” said Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of public witness for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office, at the strike’s media conference.

“The US government should not be America’s biggest low wage job creator,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders at the media conference. Sanders went on to say that “if you work 40 hours a week, you should make enough to take care of your kids and your family.”

Despite intimidation, Lear workers continue their fight for a healthy work environment

Kimberly King of Selma, Alabama has asthma.

Her asthma developed after she began working at the local Renosol Seating plant, owned and operated by the Lear Corporation.

King is not alone. According to an NBC report, eight Lear workers at the Renosol plant now have serious respiratory problems that they didn’t have before going to work at Lear’s Selma plant, which employs about 80 production workers. Of those eight, four have asthma.

Lear makes foam cushions for car seats and headrests at its Selma factory and sells them exclusively to Hyundai.

It uses a chemical called toluene diisocyanate (TDI) to make the foam cushions. Exposure to TDI can cause sensitization to TDI which can lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.

When King spoke out publicly for better health and safety at the plant, Lear fired her. For good measure, Lear filed suit against her charging King with defamation of character.

Because King had been cooperating with staff from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in an investigation of Lear’s Selma plant, Lear’s over the top reaction struck the US Labor Department as an attempt to obstruct OSHA’s investigation.

Consequently, the department filed a suit against Lear charging the corporation with obstruction and obtained a temporary restraining order that prevents Lear from firing, suing, threatening to sue, or intimidating its current and former employees.

The temporary restraining order is the latest development in a story that began last year when Lear workers including King asked OSHA to investigate health and safety conditions at their plant.

OSHA’s initial investigation resulted in fines and citations for Lear, and the agency found sufficient evidence to warrant a more exhaustive review of health and safety conditions at the plant.

As part of its investigation, OSHA interviewed King and other Lear workers.

In March King, who is also active among workers at the Lear plant who are trying to form a union, tried to deliver a letter to Hyundai headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama.

The letter asked Hyundai to urge Lear, its sole contractor for the foam cushions used in Hyundai cars manufactured in Alabama, to improve health and safety conditions at its plant.

When King, who is also a leader of the Selma Workers Organizing Committee, returned to work after the visit, Lear fired her and then a few days later filed suit against her.

King had taken other action to promote health and safety at the plant that may have provoked Lear’s ire as well.

After the United Auto Workers, which has been assisting the Lear workers in their effort to improve health and safety at the plant, arranged to have occupational safety experts at Yale University test the blood of a sample of Lear workers for traces in TDI, King passed out blood testing kits to nine Lear workers who then had their blood drawn by local physicians.

The blood samples were sent to Yale. NBC reports that four workers “tested positive for TDI sensitization that would be consistent with related asthma or other respiratory illnesses.”

Adam Wiznewski, a Yale research scientist involved in the testing, told NBC that the fact that the tests showed worker sensitization to TDI was “cause for concern.”

Within the next two weeks, the judge who issued the temporary restraining order will hold a hearing to determine whether the injunction against Lear should stay in place.

In the meantime, workers at Lear’s Selma plant are saying that they will continue their fight to improve health and safety at Lear.

“I’ve seen all the medication Kim needs to take to help with her breathing. I’ve seen her coughing until it hurts,” said Letasha Irby, who has worked at the Hyundai supplier in Selma since 2006. “It’s shameful and alarming that Lear would try to silence workers standing up for our safety rather than simply accepting responsibility for providing a safe workplace. Workers at this plant are going to continue standing up for the good jobs and safe conditions that this community deserves.”

Tennessee adjunct faculty and graduate students join the Fight for $15

Adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on April 15 joined fast food and other low-wage workers at a local McDonald’s to demand that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

After rallying with their low-wage cohorts, the higher education workers board a freedom ride bus bound for St. Louis where they joined more low-wage workers participating in the national general strike for a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

The participating adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants are members of United Campus Workers (UCW), a statewide union of faculty, graduate students, and classified staff who make higher education work but are paid poverty and near-poverty wages. UCW is affiliated with the Communication Workers of America.

UCW members had planned to organize a Teach Out on poverty wages in the US as show of solidarity with the April 15 general strike, but inclement weather forced them to make other plans.

“We’re standing together with fast food workers this April 15‬ as they help lead the fight for $15 and a‪ u‬nion,” said a message on the UCW website announcing the Teach Out and other support activity for the Fight for $15. “Our state leads the country in poverty wage jobs–from fast food workers to adjuncts, custodians, and secretaries on our campuses. It’s going to take solidarity to win.”

UCW had urged faculty to show their solidarity with the striking low-wage workers by teaching their classes out of doors on April 15 and using a portion of their class time to educate students about why 60,000 low-wage workers and their supporters in more than 200 US cities were striking for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

UCW even prepared a lesson plan on the low-wage economy to assist those who wanted to participate in the Teach Out.

One of the main points in the lesson plan is that low-wage work is no longer a tiny fraction of the overall economy. Low-wage work is spreading throughout the economy, and a college degree no longer guarantees decent paying work.

In fact many highly educated people are working at UT Knoxville and other universities in Tennessee for very low wages.

Adjunct faculty at UT Knoxville are paid on average $2,700 per course per semester, says the lesson plan. “If an adjunct teaches three courses a semester, her income would fall below the poverty line.”

These poverty wages are the result of the UT Knoxville administration’s attempt to reduce labor costs after state leaders reduced funding for higher education, so that they wouldn’t have to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Unfortunately, lower labor costs have not resulted in lower tuition for students. Since 2008, tuition and fees at UT Knoxville have increased by 79 percent.

Students may think that they can avoid poverty wages by choosing the right major and landing a good paying job. Unfortunately, those good paying jobs are a small share of the overall job market.

The largest share of today’s job market are low-wage jobs such as those in the retail, hospitality, health care, and social services sectors of the economy.

John Schmid reporting for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes about the rise of the low-wage economy.  According to Schmid, there is some growth in good paying jobs among high tech workers, but low-wage jobs “have broadened outward like a pyramid with a disproportionately wide base.”

In St. Louis, where the Knoxville freedom ride ended, workers at a McDonald’s walked off the job and were cheered by a crowd of supporters holding signs reading Show Me $15, the name of the organization leading the Fight for $15 in Missouri.

Later in the day about 1,000 St. Louis fast food, retail, child care, and health care workers joined adjunct faculty and students for a rally and march at Washington University.

With low-wage work becoming the norm, the fight for a decent minimum wage is now more important than ever.

“This is a fight for equal opportunity, dignity, gender pay equality, and racial justice,” said UCW about the Fight for $15 on its website. “It’s a fight for what’s right. And it’s going to take all of us. We’re already turning the tide in favor of working people and our families, on campus and across this state.”

 

 

Portland airport commission approves minimum labor standards

Workers at Portland International Airport (PDX) recently made progress in their campaign to improve their working conditions when the commission that overseas operations at the airport agreed to a framework for addressing the workers’ grievances.

The workers, who work for different contractors, provide essential support services at the airport including loading and unloading baggage, cleaning airplane cabins, fueling airplanes, working in the airport’s restaurants and shops, and doing other work that keeps the airport operating smoothly.

The Port of Portland Board of Commissioners, who oversee operations at PDX, on April 8 voted 7-1 to adopt the PDX Workplace Initiative that outlines minimum labor standards for work at the airport.

Details about how to achieve the minimum labor standards will be worked out over the course of the next six months by the PDX Worker Benefit Group.

“I’m just so happy at last something changed. We are all just so happy and thankful something is happening for people working at the airport,” said Kasil Kapriel, a customer service representative to GoLocal PDX News.

Kapriel has been active in Our Airport, a group of PDX workers formed to improve working conditions at PDX. She recently testified before a state legislative committee in Salem, Oregon about the need to raise the minimum wage.

Meg Niemi, president of SEIU Local 49, which has been supporting the airport workers, called the minimum labor standards a good first step but said that more needs to be done.

“We hope the Port will continue to listen to workers on the ground and hold airlines . . . accountable for making sure that jobs at the airport are good jobs.”

In the past, airport jobs were good jobs, but since the airline business was deregulated, airlines have been outsourcing good-pay jobs to contractors that pay low wages, don’t provide good benefits, and often treat their employees as if they were a disposable commodity.

In February, reports Bloomberg, United announced that it will be outsourcing 1,100 ramp agent and customer representative jobs at 12 airports. In November, the company outsourced 600 similar jobs.

Frontier in January announced that it will outsource 1,160 ramp, baggage, customer service, and call center reservation jobs at Denver International Airport .

United has already contracted with Simplicity Ground Services to take over the work of some of United’s former employees.

Simplicity is owned by Menzies Aviation, which describes Simplicity as “our new ‘low cost’ brand.”

Simplicity operates at a number of airports in the US. Starting pay for Simplicity ramp agents ranges from $9 to $12 an hour depending on the airport.

Local 49 recently conducted a survey of contractor employees at PDX to determine what their working conditions are like.

Of those responding to the survey, 37 percent said that they were making the state’s minimum wage of $9.50 an hour, 67 percent said that their employer doesn’t offer benefits, 41 percent said that they were exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job, and half said that didn’t have the equipment or supplies they needed to do their work.

The report on the results of the survey also said that airport workers fear retaliation if they try to improve their working conditions or talk to other workers about joining a union. They also are concerned about under staffing and high employee turnover rates, both of which lead to customer service lapses.

The minimum labor standards initiative adopted by the commission seeks to address some of the poor conditions identified in Local 49’s survey.

PDX’s new minimum labor standards seek to ensure that all airport employees work in safe and healthy environment, have access to benefits including health care insurance, receive adequate training, and have some job security.

The new labor standards include measures aimed at reducing the high turnover rate, whose average among contractors at PDX has been 60 percent for the last three years.

The commissioners also said that they would remain neutral in any union organizing drive among airport workers and urged contractors to do the same.

The commissioners, however, remained silent on the need to raise wages of airport workers.

Despite this particular shortcoming, workers involved in the campaign to improve working conditions at PDX called the PDX Workplace Initiative’s new minimum labor standards a victory.

“This is the beginning of changes for the workers,” said Gladys Hernandez, a customer service representative who is still paid the minimum wage after seven years on the job, to The Oregonian.

Sen. Sanders: Educate, organize, and mobilize to revitalize America

Speaking before a standing room only audience at a town hall meeting in Austin, Texas, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said that we need a political revolution that empowers ordinary Americans to revitalize the US.

Sanders said that wealthy campaign donors have used their wealth to capture control of the government and advance their private agendas.

As a result, the government is making bad political decisions that cater to the special interests of the rich at the expense of everyone else causing tens of millions of potential voters to become disengaged from politics.

Getting these disgruntled voters engaged in the political process is the only way to reverse the bad policy decisions that have cost us millions of good paying jobs and a disappearing middle class, burdened many young people seeking a college degree with oppressive debt, degraded our environment, and made health care too expensive.

“Politics is important to the rich, it should be just as important to the rest of us,” said Sanders to the overflow crowd at the IBEW Local 520 union hall.

Sanders has laid out a 12-point agenda for revitalizing America. Educating people about and organizing them around this agenda, said Sanders, is the key to mobilizing them for the fight to take back the government.

At the town hall meeting organized by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialist of America, Sanders elaborated on his  Agenda for America: 12 Points Forward.

Foremost on this agenda is Sanders’ proposal for creating millions of good paying jobs by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure–roads, bridges, schools, water plants, sewage systems, railroads, airports and other public investments that make commerce, work, recreation, and education possible.

Investing in such an undertaking will be expensive, acknowledged Sanders, but not doing so will be more expensive.

If we don’t make the investment, commerce and other activities that constitute our every day lives will suffer and we’ll lose an opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs that can restore the middle class dream for many who have given up hope.

Sanders suggested that some of the money needed to rebuild our infrastructure could come from cutting the military budget.

“A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive,” said Sanders. “We need to invest in infrastructure, not more war.”

If we are to rebuild the middle class, said Sanders, American workers need a raise.

Since 1999, the average annual income of middle-class America has dropped by $5,000 in inflation adjusted dollars.

Forty million Americans are still mired in poverty despite the vast wealth that has been created in the last 40 years.

Several points in Sanders’ Agenda for America offer ways to give American workers a raise:

  • Make it easier for workers to join a union. Unions give workers the collective power to bargain for higher wages. In the past, stronger unions have meant higher pay for union and non-union workers alike.
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a poverty wage. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009.
  • Eliminate the pay differential between men and women. Women currently earn 78 percent less than men for the same kind of work.
  • Raise Social Security benefits, expand Medicare to all Americans so that everyone has access to affordable quality health care, and expand federal nutrition programs.
  • Make college affordable for all. Too many students are leaving college with crushing debt. Making college affordable will create a larger pool of skilled workers, who will help the US maintain a competitive edge in the world economy.

Tackling the effects of climate change is also an important point on Sander’s agenda.

Climate change threatens to transform our environment in a way that will make life harder for all but the most wealthy.

Climate change can be halted by relying more on renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

Converting our economy to one that relies more on renewable energy will have the added benefit of creating millions of new jobs as new renewable energy technologies develop and mature.

Finally, if we are to stop the decline of the American middle class, said Sanders, we must stop bad trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the Congress will soon be considering.

Bad trade deals such as TPP and NAFTA are another example of bad decisions made to serve special interests.

Since NAFTA was ratified in the 1990s, millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped abroad as corporations seek to lower labor costs.

Job losses resulting from TPP, a proposed trade deal between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, could dwarf those caused by NAFTA.

Implementing the Agenda for America will revitalize America by ensuring that the wealth that we all create will be distributed fairly, but it will only happen, said Sanders, if we stand together and educate and organize our friends, family, co-workers, and the millions who have been harmed by the bad decisions made on behalf of special interests rather than for the public good.

If we succeed then we can hold politicians accountable, said Sanders. “If they don’t vote for jobs, then they’ll lose their jobs. If they don’t vote for health care, then they’ll lose their health care.”