VERMONT Senator Bernie Sanders marched alongside McDonald’s workers at a rally last Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He joined McDonald’s workers in the same way he worked alongside Disney and Amazon employees in their fight for fair wages and union representation.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate addressed the workers outside a local McDonald’s store before marching with them to the DoubleTree hotel and convention centre where 19 primary candidates were gathered for the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration.
Sanders highlighted the past successes he has helped workers achieve, working alongside the national grassroots group Fight for $15.
Together, Sanders and Fight for $15 recently helped pressure Amazon and Disneyland to guarantee their employees a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union.
Sanders told the crowd: ‘I want you to understand the enormous progress that you have made in the last few years.
‘Five years ago when we talked about $15 an hour and a union, people said it was an impossible dream.
‘But because of the determination of workers at McDonald’s and all over this country in the trade union movement, seven states in this country have passed a $15 minimum wage.’
On social media, many praised Sanders for marching side-by-side with workers and calling on his supporters to do the same.
Sanders attended Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting last Wednesday to demand a pay bump for the retailer’s employees.
He said at the meeting: ‘Walmart can afford to pay its employees a living wage of at least $15-an-hour and that is not a radical idea.
‘Despite the incredible wealth of its owner, Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages.’
He also pushed for the company to add an hourly employee to the company’s board, allow workers to work at least 40 hours a week and provide ‘decent’ health care.
Sanders told employees at an impromptu rally outside the meeting: ‘We are here to fight for the dignity of Walmart employees and make sure that every employee at Walmart has at least a living wage. The entire country is watching.’
In an open letter published in The Mercury News, San Francisco, on June 6th, Sanders pledged he would increase funding for public (state) schools by restricting (privately run) charter schools, and rescinding Trump tax cuts.
The Vermont senator wrote: ‘Last month, we celebrated the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that officially outlawed school segregation – a pillar of America’s sacred promise to provide a quality public education to all children, regardless of their race, gender or family income.
‘And yet 65 years after Brown, that promise is being broken, as our nation’s schools are being battered by budget cuts, privatisation schemes and resegregation.
‘My Thurgood Marshall Plan for Quality Public Education for All aims to reverse this by reinvesting in our schools and combatting the drivers of segregation.
‘Over the past few decades, public schools have endured massive budget cuts that often ended up paying for huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals.
‘While companies like Amazon pay zero taxes, we are seeing mass school closures and dilapidated classrooms, especially among those in poor communities of colour.
‘To combat this, my education plan calls for rescinding Donald Trump’s tax breaks and using those resources to triple funding for low-income school districts.
‘We will also institute a national per-pupil funding standard, so that the quality of a child’s education is not contingent on their zip code. Education should be a human right, not a privilege.
‘In addition, my plan also calls for restrictions on charter school initiatives that siphon resources out of the public education system and resegregating schools.
‘When parents enroll their children in charter schools, the public funding allocated to those students goes with them.
‘In the Oakland Unified School District, for example, charter schools were costing the district more than $57 million per year.
‘This amount would easily cover the budget shortfall of $56 million over two years that Oakland officials have projected.
‘Charters are publicly-funded, but they are privately managed – meaning, they are not accountable to taxpayers.
‘As a result, billionaires like Eli Broad, the DeVos family, and the Walton family are able to bankroll destructive charter school experiments to enrich investors and real-estate developers with taxpayer resources.
‘Between 2002-2017, California charter schools received more than $2.5 billion in tax dollars or taxpayer subsidised funds to lease, build, or buy school buildings.
‘In one example, the Alliance Ready Public Schools network of charter schools used public funds to build a $200 million private real estate empire in Los Angeles.
‘Meanwhile, a report from the Network for Public Education found 38 per cent of California charter schools that received federal funds between 2006 and 2014 “had either never opened or shut their doors by 2019.”
‘Advocates argue that charters deliver good outcomes – but the overall results are mixed at best.
‘Take Betsy DeVos’s home state of Michigan, where she pushed a huge expansion of charter schools.
‘That expansion coincided with Michigan declining to the bottom for reading on national tests.
‘Charters also have poor outcomes when it comes to school segregation.
‘A 2017 Associated Press report found that while four per cent of traditional public schools are 99 per cent minority, the figure is 17 per cent for charters.
‘My education plan calls for a ban on for-profit charter schools and a moratorium on federal funding of new charters until we can ensure they’re operating with transparency and accountability.
‘I am proud to stand with the NAACP, the Movement for Black Lives, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the United Teachers Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles school board in supporting this moratorium, and I applaud California lawmakers for trying to pass legislation to restrict charter school growth.
‘Sixty-five years after the Brown decision rejected the idea of “separate but equal,” we must reject charter schemes that aim to create a parallel school system to compensate for lack of investment in our public schools.
‘Instead, we must defeat Trump in the election, and commit to providing good quality education to all.’
- The majority of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft had a non-working alert for faulty sensor data, the company scheduled the problem to be fixed three years after discovering it and didn’t inform the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until one of the planes crashed, the House committee that is investigating the crashes has heard.
Two Boeing 737 MAX airliners operated by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashed five months apart, killing a total of 346 people, and leading to a worldwide grounding of the new model.
Both accidents were apparently caused by faulty data from Angle of Attack (AoA) sensors, which made the aircraft software falsely detect impending stalling and pushed the aircraft’s nose down.
Pilots were supposed to be alerted about possible problems with the sensors by an AoA Disagree alert, which should light up when data coming from two AoA sensors does not match.
But the alert required an optional set of indicators to be installed to actually work, and only 20 per cent of the aircraft sold had them.
Boeing learned about the situation in November 2017, but considered it a low-risk issue and scheduled a fix for 2020, the company reported to the House committee.
After Lion Air flight 610 crashed in October 2018, the company decided to accelerate its timeline, Boeing said in response to a letter sent by Representatives Peter DeFazio and Rick Larsen, who head the House committee that is investigating the crashes and possible mismanagement by the FAA regarding the rollout of the 737 MAX.
Boeing first informed the FAA about the faulty alert only after one of the planes crashed.
The aviation giant reported the issue earlier in May.
Neither the Lion Air aircraft nor Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, which crashed in March, had the optional feature that allows the alert to work, although it was not immediately clear if the pilots could have averted the disasters if they had known that the AoA sensors were failing.
The Lion Air aircraft, however, narrowly avoided a similar incident a day before its final demise thanks to an off-duty pilot who was in the cockpit and instructed the crew to turn off the anti-stalling system.