From Ed Hill, President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and a vice president of the AFL-CIO:
Pick up any newspaper lately; you would think the greatest economic issue facing the country was tax cuts for millionaires. Where is a real discussion about creating jobs for the middle class? What is being done about creating educational opportunity and entry-level employment for the young? How about retirement security for those facing old age or the millions of baby-boomers who thought their house was their retirement nest egg? These are the kinds of issues that most middle class Americans in North Carolina and across the country want answers to. A tax cut for millionaires just doesnt cut it.
Thats why thousands of working people union and nonunion were in Philadelphia on August 11th because its time to change the menu, and put the needs of middle class Americans front and center. We aim to recapture the spirit of the original Bill of Rights signed many years ago and ignite a debate on how Americans can again take control of our own destiny.
Were doing this in advance of the Republican and Democratic national conventions because both political parties need to revisit their priorities. Elected leaders should listen less to the financiers who fill their campaign coffers, and more to the working people who are the backbone of our country.
We intend to begin the campaign to restore the basic issue of working men and women into the thought process of both political parties and before their conventions by presenting Americas Second Bill of Rights based on an idea first proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The hard experiences of Americans in the Carolinas and elsewhere who have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings and their dreams during the past decade has shown us that we need to refocus the national conversation on what it will take to rebuild American prosperity and a strong middle class.
We believe every American is entitled to: Full employment and a living wage, full participation in the electoral process, a voice at work, a quality education, and a secure, healthy future.
You can read more details at WorkersStandforAmerica.com, and sign on if you share these priorities.
Between now and November, members of our union will join tens of thousands of labor volunteers in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention and in cities and towns all across the country, to talk about the issues.
Weve had productive discussions with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Were more than willing to have a discussion with her GOP counterpart, Rance Priebus if hes willing to listen.
Not long ago, there was bipartisan support for expanding civil and economic rights so we could grow our economy through broadly shared prosperity. We cant return to the past, but we can return to the first principles of bottom-up democracy that made our nation great.
What are we as a nation going to do? We can choose to surrender to the divine right of corporations and only concern ourselves with the wants of the wealthiest political donors. But surrender wasnt the choice of patriots from North Carolina and elsewhere who gathered in Philadelphia to frame the original Bill of Rights and its not on the minds of working Americans this year, either.