February Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein

Election Results Already Paying Dividends for Working Families

From taking swift action to expand healthcare access to more Americans, to leading the charge to protect Social Security, lawmakers who were backed by our union during the 2018 election campaign have quickly taken up the fight for working families in states all across America.

“Healthcare is for everyone, not just the well to do,” said Janet Mills, the USW’s endorsed candidate and now-Governor of Maine during her inaugural address. Mills signed ‘Executive Order 1’ during her first day in office in an effort to remedy the state’s opioid crisis by expanding health insurance to more than 70,000 Mainers who were previously unable to access care.

In addition to expanding healthcare, Mills was the obvious best choice for working families based on her commitment to grow the middle class by defending workplace rights and supporting laws that encourage job creation and investments in infrastructure.

In Michigan, where an anti-union “Right to Work” law was forced through the state legislature and signed by the former Governor Rick Snyder in 2013, our union worked hard to help elect Gretchen Whitmer, who was a staunch ally of workers during her years in the Michigan State Senate. Reversing the anti-union “Right to Work” law will be difficult because Governor Whitmer’s pro-worker allies are in the minority in the state legislature. However, Whitmer has already taken a number of steps to improve life for working families, including signing a series of Executive Directives aimed at ensuring fair pay, strengthening workplace protections for state employees, and rein in employers who attempt to deny workers quality healthcare and other benefits through job misclassification and unfair contracting practices.

While progress in the federal government has been stymied by the longest partial shutdown in history, some of our union’s most trusted allies in the United States Senate, namely Sherrod Brown (OH), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA), have formed the Expand Social Security Caucus. Joining them in this effort are more than 150 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Conor Lamb (PA-17), whom our union strongly supported in a March 2018 special election to fill a vacant seat. Lamb also had the USW’s backing in November when redistricting forced him to run against another incumbent member of Congress who had voted consistently to weaken work protections and retirement security.

With less than one month into the 116th Congress and the legislative sessions in state governments across the country, the hard work of USW members in the 2018 election campaigns is already paying dividends for retirees and working families.

Sources:

Julie Stein
SOAR Director

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