By Robert Kesten
When election time rolls around we hear a lot about union voters, working people, and others voting against their best interests. That is as true in New York as in Right-to-Work states where some vote and support those who individually or whose party’s policies oppose workers and enhance the standing of corporations that demean working people and the unions that support them.
One example is unions and their members who endorse and support select Republicans who receive a great deal of funding, directly and indirectly, from NYC developers and their political action arms. It is possible that New York City developers are the single largest source of funding the Republican Party gets in New York. Currently those developers are in a war with unions in New York City, specifically over agreements in the Hudson Yards project, a massive development that is transforming the city. But this isn’t the only case of developers at war with unions.
I Stand Firmly Against Union-Breaking Efforts
I stand firmly against union-breaking efforts like the Charter School movement, an effort designed to break the teachers’ unions. It is also taxation without representation, as it takes our tax dollars and gives them to private companies without our consent or oversight.
Citizens United, which considers corporations to be people and money to be speech has polluted our political campaigns. Charter School owners and funders are some of the largest donors to NYS Republicans. These New York City fat cats who support upstate Republicans ensure tax breaks for the top 1% at the expense of upstate citizens and working people, as they drain our public schools of vital resources.
Politicians talk about growing up in union households, but I’m proud to say that my children live in a union household, because I am a union member. I serve on my union’s Government/Legislative committee and have been out there on the line for my union and our sister unions.
A Choice in 2018: Voting for Your Values or Voting for The Establishment
In 2018, voters, workers, and union members have a clear choice. They can vote for a fellow union member who has stood firm on union issues from the inside, or they can support establishment candidates whose donors demand favors and legislation aimed at reducing our rights and values in the name of profit. As jobs disappear, as more workers are displaced or forced to become independent contractors, and as the differential between compensation for the elite and working people grows, we have a choice to make. We might not have this clear an option in the future, if we don’t vote to protect our values in primaries and the general election this year.
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