Jacobin: Culinary Union 226's Short-Sighted Smear of Medicare for All

Union members cheer during a rally at a canvass launch at the Culinary Workers Union Hall Local 226 on November 5, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Ethan Miller / Getty

Duane Townsend

Jacobin - February 13, 2020

"But let’s also be clear about what is happening: top leaders of Local 226 are taking a conservative position and harming ***the whole labor movement in the process. That Local 226 is a powerful and important union makes this all the more tragic. Rather than engage with the pro-worker frontrunner on his plan, they are poisoning the well for workers everywhere."

...*** There have always been two impulses in the labor movement: first, the one that 226’s leaders are currently following, to keep benefits weak for nonunion workers, so they are incentivized to unionize. But there is another competing, progressive impulse, the one that led labor leaders to champion the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, creating a federal minimum wage for nearly all workers, for the first time in the nation’s history. This second impulse is to raise the floor for all workers, not just the ones who are lucky enough to have union representation.

This politics of solidarity is not only ethical, but it has a self-interested element. Medicare for All would take health care out of competitive market forces; winning it would enable Local 226 and every other union in the country to raise the floor even further, by negotiating new benefits and higher wages.

We should feel good to live in a world where a union like Local 226 is powerful enough to negotiate excellent health care for their members. But every worker deserves excellent health care. We finally have a shot at making that happen with President Bernie Sanders.

Top leaders in Unite Here Local 226 should do the right thing and stop slandering the most pro-worker candidate in the race. ...
Read full report at Jacobin

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