Sunday, September 01, 2019


Bernie Sanders recently released a solid labor proposal. Read the rationale for his Workplace Democracy plan at the campaign website (we copy the proposal below). What candidate for President has a better labor proposal? I haven't seen one. Labor Scholar Barry Eidlin in Jacobin (can't get much further to the left than Jacobin) called it "the best plan for promoting workers’ rights ever proposed by a major US presidential candidate." We agree. If Bernie is elected, the fundamental balance between worker and employer would change in favor of workers. Jacobin had to put up another piece to find anything wrong with the Sanders' plan and that second writer really had to dig deep to find flaws.

Here are the specific details of the Workplace Democracy Plan right from the Sanders' campaign website:

Bernie’s pro-union plan would:
  • Provide unions the ability to organize through a majority sign up process, allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union if it receives the consent of the majority of eligible workers. Under Bernie’s plan, when a majority of workers in a bargaining unit sign valid authorization cards to join a union, they will have a union. If employers refuse to negotiate in good faith, we will impose strong penalties on those companies.
  • Enact “first contract” provisions to ensure companies cannot prevent a union from forming by denying a first contract. Employers would be required to begin negotiating within 10 days of receiving a request from a new union. If no agreement is reached after 90 days of negotiation, the parties can request to enter a compulsory mediation process. If no first contract is reached after 30 more days of mediation, the parties would have a contract settlement through binding arbitration.
  • Eliminate the “Right to Work for Less.” Bernie’s plan would repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act, which has allowed 28 states to pass legislation that eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from those who benefit from union contracts and activities, undermining the unions’ representation of workers.    
  • Under Bernie’s plan, companies will no longer be able to ruthlessly exploit workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors or deny them overtime by falsely calling them a “supervisor.” When Bernie is president, his administration will end the ability of corporations to misclassify workers as “independent contractors” or label them as a “supervisor.” 
  • Make sure that employers can no longer use franchisee or contractor arrangements to avoid responsibility and liability for workers by codifying the Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard into law. When Bernie is president, his administration will make clear that a worker can have more than one employer. If a company can decide who to hire and who to fire and how much to pay an employee at a franchise, that company will be considered a joint employer along with the owner of a particular franchise — and both employers must engage in collective bargaining over the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Give federal workers the right to strike. In December, Trump shutdown the federal government for 35 days — the longest in history — depriving over 800,000 workers of their paychecks. Adding insult to injury, hundreds of thousands of TSA agents, air traffic controllers, IRS employees, members of the Coast Guard, and other federal government employees were forced to work without pay and without recourse. Under current law, federal employees are not guaranteed the same labor rights as workers in the private sector. While they have the ability to unionize, they are prohibited from going on strike. Under this plan, federal workers would have the right to strike.
  • Make sure every public sector union in America has the freedom to negotiate.  When Bernie is president he will sign the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act of 2019 to guarantee the right of public employees to organize and bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions in states like Iowa that currently do not offer these fundamental protections.
  • Require companies that merge to honor existing union contracts.  In February, Wabtec completed a merger with General Electric Transportation in Pennsylvania.  Instead of honoring the existing union contract with its workforce, Wabtec tried to impose substantial cuts to benefits employees have earned, while rewarding executives with over $120 million in bonuses.  Under this plan, companies would no longer be able to abrogate union contracts through mergers.
  • Deny federal contracts to employers that pay poverty wages, outsource jobs overseas, engage in union busting, deny good benefits and pay CEOs outrageous compensation packages.  When Bernie is president he will issue an executive order to prevent companies from receiving federal contracts that outsource jobs overseas, pay workers less than $15 an hour without benefits, refuse to remain neutral in union organizing efforts, pay executives over 150 times more than average workers, hire workers to replace striking workers, or close businesses after workers vote to unionize.
  • Ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.  This plan will outlaw, once and for all, the permanent replacement of workers who go on strike.
  • Protect the pensions of workers. As President, Bernie will protect and expand pension benefits of employees in both the public and the private sector.  Because of a 2014 change in law instituted in the dead of night and against the strong opposition of Senator Sanders, it is now legal to cut the earned pension benefits of more than 1.5 million workers and retirees in multi-employer pension plans.  As president, Bernie will sign an executive order to impose a moratorium on future pension cuts and would reverse the cuts to retirement benefits that have already been made.  In addition, President Sanders will fight to implement the Keep Our Pension Promises Act he first introduced in 2015 to prevent the pensions of up to 10 million Americans from being cut.  Instead of asking retirees to take a massive cut in their pension benefits, Bernie will make multi-employer plans solvent by closing egregious loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans in this country to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  If Congress could provide a multi-trillion bailout to Wall Street and foreign banks in 2008, we can and we must protect the pensions that were promised to millions of Americans.
  • Stops corporations from forcing workers to attend mandatory anti-union meetings as a condition of continued employment. Under this plan, companies would be barred from requiring workers to attend anti-union meetings as a condition of employment.
  • Establish federal protections against the firing of workers for any reason other than “just cause.”  When Bernie is president he will fight to make sure workers cannot be fired “at will” and will sign a “just cause” law to protect workers and their constitutional right to speak out and organize in their workplaces.
  • Create a sectoral collective bargaining system with wage boards to set minimum standards across industries. When Bernie is president he will work with the trade union movement to establish a sectoral collective bargaining system that will work to set wages, benefits and hours across entire industries, not just employer-by-employer.  In addition, under this plan all cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions would have the freedom to establish their own minimum wage laws and guarantee other minimum standards for workers.
  • Guarantee the right to unionize for all workers. Bernie will ensure farm workers and domestic workers, historically excluded from labor protections, are afforded the same standards as all workers, including the right to overtime pay and to join a union. He will enact a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to secure safe working conditions, collective bargaining, and a living wage for domestic workers.
  • Allow for secondary boycotts. This plan reinstates a union’s freedom of speech to take action to pressure clients and suppliers of companies opposing unions.
  • Expand and update the persuader rule. This plan would require companies to disclose anti-union information they disseminate to workers and provide for equal time for organizing agents. This would include the funding of third party anti-union campaigns. This plan will also ensure that whatever contact information (email, phone, mailing addresses) the employer uses is disseminated to the organizing agent. Monetary penalties would be enacted for failures to disclose. 
  • A fair transition to Medicare for All: Bernie will require that resulting healthcare savings from union-negotiated plans result in wage increases and additional benefits for workers during the transition to Medicare for All. When Medicare for All is signed into law, companies with union negotiated health care plans would be required to enter into new contract negotiations overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Under this plan, all company savings that result from reduced health care contributions from Medicare for All will accrue equitably to workers in the form of increased wages or other benefits.  Furthermore, the plan will ensure that union-sponsored clinics and other providers are integrated within the Medicare for All system, and kept available for members. Unions will still be able to negotiate for and provide wrap-around services and other coverage not duplicative of the benefits established under Medicare for All.

Bernie just doesn't talk the talk. He was with striking AT&T South workers last week on the picket line and has supported workers continually. Bernie also put out a pro public education plan earlier in the year.

I understand why the elites will do everything they can to oppose Bernie but I am missing something.

Elizabeth Warren and Sanders are splitting the progressives in the Democratic Party. I cannot understand why some of Bernie's former supporters are now turning to Warren. On education, this is part of what Network for Public Education Action says about Elizabeth Warren:

Senator Warren's Senior Education Policy Advisor was a TFA teacher and a policy intern with the Alliance for Excellent Education, a reform leaning 501 (c)(3) organization that has received almost $20 million in grant funding from the Gates Foundation.

At a recent Oakland rally, she was introduced by a former charter school teacher who was a fellow and blogger for GO Public Schools, a charter school lobbying organization:

Lots of red flags here.

As for workers, Warren is calling for 40% of  seats on corporate boards to be reserved for workers. She also says she is for "putting power back in the hands of workers and unions." I looked at her campaign website and don't see many specific details on how this would happen.

I try to keep an open mind but I can't fully comprehend why the unions, working people and public school supporters who stand to benefit greatly from a Sanders presidency have not lined up behind him en masse. When it comes to labor and public education issues, this looks to be a clear choice. 

Please note I am talking for me and not ICEUFT here. 


Anonymous said...

Yeah, whatever. Are we 100% working 12/23?

Anonymous said...

Yeah whatever, We're working on Dec 23 because teachers didn't care about the UFT election and voted for Mulgrew who doesn't give a shit if he has to go to his plush office on the 23rd. Blow off this presidential election too and watch things just get worse. NYC teachers or at least some who comment here are New York's Dumbest for sure.

Anonymous said...

Sure there are some that are dumb, but as for the UFT election - that was cemented long before the ballots went out. As for Trump, lots of middle class whites feel they are the only ones paying for everyone and are thanked by being vilified for it. The rich don’t pay taxes, the poor don’t pay taxes - it’s them. We’ll go in Tuesday to hear White privilege is the problem and if you’ve been in the system more than twenty years you, (yes, you middle aged Whitey), are the problem. I know Black teachers that voted for Trump as well. The real reason teachers don’t get more involved is they are simply too exhausted from the not stop work. We shouldn’t have to work a free part time job making the UFT do what we’ve paid them to do. As for Trump, he’s going to win by a landslide, because he’s telling everyone what they want to hear. He a liar and a POS, of course - but, then aren’t they all?

Anonymous said...

Bernie is for the people and he flies on private jets from one of 3 homes.
Are we more stupid or naive? I can't decide. Maybe both equally.
Oh remember new narrative must refer to white supremacy.

Anonymous said...

Pat swallows the Fox News bs for sure.It is class, not race. Divide and conquer in modern form.

Anonymous said...

What about his plan don't you like? Please tell us. Stop with Republican talking points.

Anonymous said...

Im entering year 18, masters plus 30, living in nyc, nyc cost of living, nyc taxes, salary is 104,000. That is not all that great.

Anonymous said...

I live in staten island, working in manhattan, begging for a SI job for 20 years. Where has the uft been? 4 hour roundtrip by public transportation every day.

Anonymous said...

3 long years of msm talking points.
25th Amendment.
Mueller Time.
Bernie's $67 trillion government takeover of the economy isn't cheap.
What do you like about his plan?
I'm from the government and I'm here to help...?
After all, the NYC DOE can serve as an example for how well government aparachniks help us all achieve excellence and restore justice.
What suckers some leftists teachers are.

Anonymous said...

Bernie is a white, cis-gendered male!
We want hope and change!

James Eterno said...

What about the labor and education plans? Would it be so bad to have a president working for us and not corporate America?

James Eterno said...

Mainstream media does not like Bernie.

James Eterno said...

Could someone please comment on the labor or education plans Bernie put out? Be specific. What is not to like about the education and labor proposals? Please enlighten us instead of giving someone's talking points.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, we are living in a society and during a time that does not really care about the dignity of people; the worker or the corporate owner. I do not believe Mr. Sanders really cares about all people.

I believe we need the owners to create the jobs for the workers. Smacking the owners in not an incentive to create a balanced workplace.

How to establish a nice happy balance between the the owners and the workers? I would have to find the corporation and try to copy it.

I have a greater issue with the corruption and greediness in public sector jobs. I would be more intrigued with Mr. Sanders's plan if he would offer to institute the Workplace Democracy Plan first in Federal, State and City agencies. Words on paper is one thing; application of the words is another. Yes, the UFT is a union, but just a puppet of the politicians.

On a lighter note:

"Stops corporations from forcing workers to attend mandatory anti-union meetings as a condition of continued employment."

If we changed the words "anti-union" to "anti-education" Would this mean no more PD? If Mr. Sanders plan made PD optional, I would vote for him.

Anon2323 said...

@6:39 same year and 2 masters , it will be 108,000 by May.

I love how fox news gets killed, there are 7 contrarian stations who are the WWE fake news entertainment. Wanting Avenatti for president, talking about Russia brainwashing for years getting Kavanaugh wrong, I can go on for days. The media has divided us more and more and its all agenda driven.

DNC stole the election and cheated in 2016 plain and simple, Sanders got robbed than and that was his shot. As much as Trump has flaws I will be voting for him again, Dems are a joke, Biden is embarrassing. You will be lucky if Bernie is alive in 2 years, sucks your riding his coat tails.

James Eterno said...

Federal is covered with a right to strike. Please read the plan.

James Eterno said...

Kill CNN and MSNBC too.

Please comment on the spexifics of the labor plan. What in there couldn't we support? Same with the public education plan. What is not in our favor?

Voters have to look at policy substance if we want to really change things in our favor.

Some of this would not even require congressional action.

Anonymous said...

Remember what Sam Lazarus always said. The problem with the UFT is the leadership and the membership. The proof is in the dumber than dumb pro-Trump/anti Bernie comments. These people are not smart enough to figure out that if Sanders' education and work place plans went into effect and there was a pro labor National Labor Relations Board, unions would be empowered at the federal and private sector levels and the states would have to follow. In 2021 it would be a new world.

Anonymous said...

Trump said workers should stop paying exorbitant dues. I say, when the uft screws us a million times, we should stop paying.

Anonymous said...

Because I dont think anybody thinks anything will change. Just had a Dem president for 8 years, dem mayor, minority chancellor, very liberal people are at the top...

James Eterno said...

Still not a word on why Bernie's education plan or his workplace democracy proposal would be bad for us. Management not being able to fire anyone at will,how is that bad for us?

James Eterno said...

If you can't tell the difference between neo liberal Obama, pay to play de Blasio compared to Sanders, you need to do some research on their records and donors in the case of de Blasio. Did we do better under Republicans Bloomberg and Giuliani with Bloomberg's neo-liberal data driven, treat it like a business chancellors? Don't tell me Bloomberg wasn't really a Republican. He practiced market based reforms in education.

As for Obama, his first chief of staff was Rahm Emanuel who later was elected mayor of Chicago. Bernie said of Rahm on twitter: "I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me. I don’t want the endorsement of a mayor shutting down schools and firing teachers."

Who's on our side then?

Pogue said...

Anonymous said...

“I need your help. Let’s take these bastards on. Let’s create a government and an economy that works for all.” Bernie Sanders in Teen Vogue

Anonymous said...

Rahm Emanuel lol. Done great job in Chicago. What's the weekend death toll so far? Ooops, not covered on msm huh. Is Obama going back to community organizing there during the workweek? I figured the $15 million Martha's Vinyard mansion was just for weekends.

Some selfish socialists don't understand teachers who will sacrifice for the general good of their communities and country.

Bernie honeymooned in the Soviet Union. That's all I gotta know.

Leftist really don't care who they hurt as long as they get power. They love dictating to others modes of behavior from which they exempt themselves. All potus-seeking democrats are millionaires or soon will be. How did that happen?
Giuliani saved NYC from the dystopian nightmare Bernie and others plan to enact for the entire country.

As a once proud democrat, I will never again vote for these hypocrites.

Anyway... Regarding present political choices (on topic!!!!) Americans face, we can consult C.S. Lewis who once wrote:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."

James Eterno said...

Still not one word on why the labor or education proposals are not something we should support. Any substance or just why C.S Lewis prefers a robber baron more than than omnipotent moral busybodies?

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

There’s nothing wrong with bernie’s plan. However, there is plenty wrong with Bernie beginning with the fact that he’s the worst kind.of
anti-semite. Therefore, I could care less what kind of pie-in-the-sky bullshit he’s pushing

James Eterno said...

Oh please. Let's stick with labor and education issues here.

Anonymous said...

Bernie Sanders: I hear a lot in the corporate media about how Medicare for All is just "too expensive."

You know what is too expensive? Paying $28,000 a year for health insurance – the average for a family of four.

That is really damn expensive! And it's going to end under Medicare for All.

Anonymous said...

Bernie Sanders
The 40-year war against workers waged by corporate America and the billionaire class must come to an end.


Anonymous said...

Here's what pew research & Monmouth poll confirmed this month about Bernie Sanders:

-Bernie has the highest support of people of color

-Bernie has the most support of women

-Bernie dominates voters ages 18 to 49

-Bernie's surging in polls consistently