As Democrats recover from the self-induced Trump slump, it’s important to remember that Bernie Sanders wasn’t the only candidate seeking to represent the working class in the race for the Presidency.
Last May, Mr. Trump told Bloomberg Businessweek that he was going to create a “Workers Party” in the United States.
We didn’t believe him, and the verdict is still out. Nonetheless, many of these working-class voters did. They listened as Mr. Trump repeated his promises that he – a billionaire businessman – would go down in history as the best president, ever, for the working class.
They heard him promise to secure more jobs for coal miners in the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky. He promised to fight for good jobs for abandoned factory workers in Ohio and Michigan. And he vowed to improve the lot of low-wage service workers throughout the country.
The working-class voter that chose Trump also heard him deliver the same message to Wall Street. During a speech at the New York Economic Club last September. There, the candidate declared that “Every policy decision we make must pass a simple test: Does it create more jobs and better wages for Americans?”
Given Mr. Trump’s message, it’s not surprising that so many union members voted for him.
Unlike any other Republican candidate before him, Mr. Trump successfully campaigned as a champion for America’s forgotten working class.
Now, as he prepares to take the oath of office, it’s time for us to stand with all those workers who supported his candidacy – and those who did not – to hold the President-elect accountable to his campaign promises.
As the next CEO of America, Mr. Trump can turn his promise into policy. In his first 100 days in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump should sign an executive order to make sure that the $1.3 trillion in taxpayer-dollars our Government spends annually rewards corporations that create “more jobs and better wages” for Americans.
Tragically, the U.S. Government is America’s leading low-wage job creator, funding more than 2 million poverty jobs in the private sector through contracts, loans, and grants. This is more than the number of low-wage workers at Walmart and McDonald's combined. These workers barely make enough to afford essentials like food, health care, utilities, and rent, while many of these companies are providing their executives with exorbitant compensation.
Equally outrageous, a new study shows that federal contractors steal as much as $2.5 billion from contract workers annually by paying Americans less than the minimum wage, forcing them to work off the clock, and by misclassifying workers as “independent contractors.”
These workers perform important jobs for our nation. They haul military cargo to our troops overseas, aid victims of natural disasters, help senior citizens get their pensions, and protect the due process rights of people in court. Even though they work full-time, they earn so little that they must use food stamps, Section 8, and other social services to survive.
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For example, LaToya Williams works full-time answering calls at a Federal Emergency Management Agency call center in my home state of Maryland. But because her contractor cheated her out her wages, she couldn’t afford to rent an apartment. As a result, she was homeless for two years.
Sergio Gonzales is a truck driver who hauls military cargo to our troops overseas. He works 14 hour days, but sometimes brings home as little as $70 a week because the Defense contractor he works for illegally misclassifies him as an independent contractor.
LaToya and Sergio just filed just filed wage theft complaints on behalf of thousands of their co-workers with US Government. They are counting on Mr. Trump to fight for them.
With the stroke of the pen, Mr. Trump can make sure all our tax dollars are invested in patriotic corporations that create good jobs in our country, not firms that ship jobs overseas and steal from America’s workers.
Democrats must stand with these federal contract workers and demand that Mr. Trump keeps his promises. If he does not, we must stand ready to defend them.
Today, we’re taking the first step. Our Revolution and Good Jobs Nation are announcing a new partnership called Good Jobs Defense to make sure our government stands on the side of the working class, not the millionaires and billionaires. We hope that you will join our movement and become a good jobs defender.
As Senator Sanders said during the campaign, “We are going to stand together for a government and an economy that works for all of us.”