Cambridge, Massachusetts — Featuring Sean O’Brien, president of the Teamsters Union, Sarah Nelson of the Flight Attendants Union and Senator Bernie Sanders, union members and their allies gathered on the Cambridge Common in Massachusetts in the shadow of Harvard University. Their goal was to fire up workers and to call for an increase in union membership, power and presence.
Themes included the need for labor to hold corporate power in check, and speakers condemned money spent by such large corporations as Amazon and Starbucks for union busting. They all spoke of Washington including the Democratic party not as allies themselves but as government officials more interested in helping their corporate donors than their constituents including workers.
Capitalism needs to be checked by the working class
“The workers need to ensure unchecked capitalism is put in check by the working class.” Announced Sarah Nelson as she spoke about the need to ensure every worker has a livable wage.
Sean O’Brien called the audience to inspire people to join a union and to hold the politicians accountable.
He said that a company that does not have a union should not have government contracts. “No Union, No government contracts.” He demanded.
He cited the importance of unions to improve labor conditions for workers not just in benefits and salary. For example, he said that there is a 150 percent turnover ratio at Amazon and there is no path to a full-time career.
He also expressed his concern about a loss of generational connection to the unions and wanted to shore up that line.
“Labor’s Back.” O’Brien exclaimed.
Oligarchs own government, economics and media
Senator Sanders did not hold back on his criticism not only of the corporate world but of the government and the media. “It is not secret that you have a bunch of billionaires who control the political process, the economic process and the media,” he said.
Sanders wants to make it easier to form unions. He encouraged labor to raise its voice to press its power against the political, economic and media power controlled by a few oligarchs.
Sanders is the well-respected socialist Senator from Vermont whom many, especially the young, feel had the Democratic party nomination stolen from him twice.
The rally lasted approximately an hour and a half and cited successes in the labor process by such groups as the Graduate Student Union of MIT and the St. Vincent’s Nurses from Worcester MA
Other groups also lobbied in the crowds at the time including FairShare Massachusetts and the Socialist Alternative.
FairShare seeks a 4% tax on anyone making over one million dollars to pay for public transportation and public education.
The Socialist Alternative seeks to build a third party to the current two-party system. It is their position that the corporations own the Democrat and Republican parties and officials serve them more than others.