Three weeks ago, when I ended my third term as president of CWA, I pledged to volunteer to help build what we call the “movement of 50 million for economic justice and democracy.”
Today I am announcing that I have endorsed Bernie Sanders for president of the United States and will volunteer to help in his campaign in any way that is useful. I will be with Bernie in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Friday night to formally endorse and commit.
Bernie has been there with us every time, fighting for fairness, for environmental justice, for voting rights and getting big money out of politics. Bernie is there for criminal justice reform and a path to citizenship for 20 million immigrants. Bernie was there walking with our members at Fairpoint Communications when they struck for four months through the last New England winter. Bernie realizes that workers’ rights in the U.S. remain under attack and near the bottom of the world’s democracies.
Most recently Bernie was a key Senate voice against fast tracking secret trade deals that are likely to cost us millions of jobs and depress our wages. Bernie realized that these deals would elevate corporate profits above environmental and human rights and make it harder for U.S.-based small businesses to compete. This is an especially critical issue, since the president controls trade negotiations by appointing and working with the U.S. Trade Representative. Other Democratic candidates will talk eloquently about all kinds of issues, but trade and foreign policy are initiated by the president, and we must hold candidates responsible for what they said and did in recent months when it mattered.
Bernie realizes that his campaign is not just about him but also about the populist candidates running for local office, on similar programs, from Waterloo to Manchester, Reno to Charleston. We need a movement of millions, not simply an election for president funded by billionaires in both parties.
Many of us are disappointed right now that we failed by one vote in the Senate and three votes in the House to stop fast track. Many are discouraged that economic inequality is worse now than it was six years ago. Many of us are fed up with promises to hit the streets with us that turn hollow as we watch one White House staffer after another sign on with corporate America as they leave government service.
This is our chance to build a movement that will not answer to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is our chance to build for 2016 and beyond. I am excited to support Bernie for president and join with tens of thousands of volunteers across America.