Labor Voices: United front needed in November

Rob Bieber

Tuesday’s primary election has now set the stage for the upcoming general election in November. One thing is certain, it is time to come together and support the candidates who best reflect our shared values. There is so much at stake for the future of our state and country that working people must be united heading into the fall.

Corporations and the 1 percent have manipulated the rules of the economy in their favor for far too long. These wealthy special interests have worked to undermine the freedoms of working families. Our best hope to level the playing field is to unite together under a common cause. We must work together to elect folks who will change the rules in favor of an economy that works for everyone. We need representatives from local officials to the state Legislature, from the governor to congress, who will get to work addressing the priorities of working families.

Bieber writes: "Small differences must be set aside to accomplish these larger goals."

It is disgraceful that in the Great Lakes State people cannot turn on their faucet and be confident the water is safe to drink. From the lead in Flint to the PFAS in Parchment, putting greed ahead of the well-being of people has brought us one disaster after the other. We need to elect people to office who will not only commit to cleaning up our water, but who will also commit to holding corporations accountable for the damage they have done. Water is a necessity of life. Government officials need to make it a top priority to ensure all people to have access to clean, drinkable water.

We need to promote folks who will make it a priority to protect the freedoms of working people and our right to join in union to negotiate the things we need to sustain our families. We need legislators and a governor who will undo the attacks on our freedoms over these past years. We need to get behind candidates who will undo right-to-work legislation and restore prevailing wage. We must support candidates who will stand up for working men and women.

Michigan put the world on wheels and then built a highway system to showcase our achievement. What was once our crown jewel has now become a national embarrassment. The crumbling roads damage our cars and costs drivers hundreds of dollars in repairs. Fixing the roads has become a critical priority. Only candidates who have the political courage to address this problem head-on deserve the vote of the hard-working people of this state.

We also need candidates who will invest in our public schools, respect the value and experience of teachers, and put the needs of our students ahead of the greed of corporations looking to profit off our children. Every student in our state deserves the opportunity to get an education, pursue a trade or get a college degree. And we need to focus our efforts on electing the people who are committed to getting that done. No more politicians pushing the greedy DeVos agenda of profits over pupils. Our priority must be securing a better future for our children.

There is a lot to get done. But we can only accomplish these things if we roll up our sleeves and work as a united movement to advance the candidates dedicated to helping the people of this state. Small differences must be set aside to accomplish these larger goals. To change the rules to create an economy that works for everyone, we must all work together. We need to embrace all candidates who make working families their number one priority.

Ron Bieber is president of Michigan AFL-CIO.

Labor Voices 

Labor Voices columns are written on a rotating basis by United Auto Workers President Gary Jones, Teamsters President James Hoffa, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart.