The New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast took on a whole new dimension for me this Labor Day. I am always expecting a conga line of Democratic politicians kicking off the election cycle with the usual “this is the most important election of your lifetime” speech and you better get your bottom off the couch and engage with your fellow union members and make sure they vote for the candidate that will protect their jobs and benefits. It happens every Labor Day like Kabuki Theater.
Well this was no ordinary Labor Day Breakfast. First of all, our legendary fearless leader NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie, phoned in his speech because he is recovering from a series of cancer treatments which precluded him from attending this Labor Day Breakfast. The first breakfast I can remember in the fifteen plus years I’ve been attending in which he was not present. His speech had everyone standing on the tables in absolute awe of his tenacity and dedication to the labor movement. He obviously has found a Labor steroid that he is injecting into himself for his tenure as President. He has attended all but one of my State Letter Carrier Conventions in the last six years and kills them. He is such an effective speaker it’s amazing he has not run for Governor.
Then the onslaught continues with the iconic Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. He has been such an outstanding friend of the Labor movement and his speech nailed it. It started with the $256 million handed over to the Republicans in 2001 from President Clinton and explained how the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dropped onto America’s credit card, and the tax breaks given to the wealthiest Americans in hope of stimulating the imaginary trickle down economy set us on the course we are on. Those two acts cost us $4 trillion dollars. Goodbye surplus! Then he explained how the attack on financial regulations by Republicans led to the financial collapse on Wall Street and the implosion of the housing industry. And now the Republicans want to take the reins again and do it all over! We are definitely standing at the precipice if we let this happen again. What is left of the Labor Movement must not let this happen.
Then we heard from two magnificent ladies running for Congress. Two term Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who was a champion for middle class families and veterans, and Annie Kuster who narrowly missed being elected in 2010 by 3500 votes. Had these two been in the last Congress America would be a different place today. There is nothing more important for America than flipping this Congress Democratic.
The cherry on the cake for me was hearing about the Republicans in the New Hampshire House who stood firm in beating back ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Committee) with their draconian anti-family, anti-worker “Right to Work” legislation which would have decimated the Labor movement in New Hampshire. State Representative Lee Quandt spoke to the Labor Day Breakfast how he and 46 other Republicans are against this affront to Labor. I have never seen a Republican speak to the Labor Movement at a Labor Day Breakfast in support of our values. That speaks volumes to the fact that we are right in this fight.
We need all union members to step up and get a shot of Mark MacKenzies’ “Magical Labor Steroids” right in our asses so we can fight the good fight in this upcoming election!