I have worked as a train mechanic at L.A. Metro for fifteen years and served as an elected union steward for nine years. Like many others, I had been laid off several times and unemployed for long stretches of time.
I am running for U.S. Congress to say that working people have no choice but to fight back because we are all getting squeezed.
But the working class is divided. We are divided by public and private sector, by employer, by workplace. We are divided by union and non-union, skilled and non-skilled, by full-time, temp and part-time, as well as by native-born and immigrant, black and white, women and men.
We have to overcome these divisions. And we need a working class party.
We face crises on every front. We are supposed to be in the ninth year of an economic recovery. But for working people, there has been no recovery.
We face a jobs crisis. Jobs are scarce. And those with jobs are getting paid low wages and lousy benefits. Older workers can't afford to retire and younger workers can't pay the rent.
We face a housing crisis. The shortage of affordable housing gets worse every month. So does homelessness. Most are one illness or one job loss away from getting kicked to the curb.
We face an education crisis. Working class youth is deprived of even a basic education. Schools are starved of funds and resources. Teachers and staff face heavier workloads.
We face a health care crisis. Prices continue to skyrocket. Even with costly insurance, working people still can't get the care we need. It's our money or our life.
We face a crisis in essential services and infrastructure. We pay higher taxes and fees. Yet, traffic congestion and the roads are worse. Bus service is unreliable. Century-old water mains erupt. The electric power grid is old and decrepit, with regular outages.
This is a wealthy society. Working people produce this wealth. We make the economy run.
No profitable company should be allowed to cut a single job. Share out the work, so everyone can have a job. Set wages high enough so everyone can have a decent standard of living. Index wages to inflation, requiring them to improve immediately when prices increase.
No one should be homeless. Decent housing should be a basic human right. This region lacks hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units. They should be built immediately. This will create jobs.
Use public money for services that are useful for the population: education, medical care, basic infrastructure. This will also create a lot of jobs.
We are constantly told there is not enough money to meet our basic needs. That is a lie. There is plenty to meet our needs and to do much more than that. But, the super-wealthy completely control the society for their own enrichment.
Working people have to fight to get what we need.
And that includes all working people. Bosses and politicians divide workers against each other. Black workers bear the brunt of the worst of the unemployment, poverty and police violence. Immigrant workers are labeled "illegal" or "unauthorized" because of where they were born. But all workers contribute to the wealth of this society. All workers should have full rights.
To unite all workers, we need a working class party.
If you agree with this, use your vote to send a message to others.