On Friday, a group of 16 SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members sat down for a roundtable discussion with presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, as part of the SEA’s efforts to provide members an opportunity to have a union-centric discussion with the presidential candidates.
As members at the event on Friday introduced themselves, Williamson took advantage of the smaller event size to engage them about their work and the broader issues impacting the state. Before taking questions, Williamson talked about what she referred to as the “corporatist agenda,” which has hurt all of us – including unions.
“It’s a pillar of the corporatist economy to fight unions,” she said. “It’s not going to get better if we’ve all been trained to say ‘pretty please.’ [to corporatist forces]”
“It’s not just a war against unions,” Williamson continued. “It’s a war against the poor. It’s a war against democracy.”
In a touching exchange, Chapter 1 member Deb Wheeler talked about the struggles workers in her own family have faced through the years. Wheeler said five of her father’s friends died on the same worksite due to dangerous conditions.
Wheeler said history has shown that working people need to stand up for themselves because the people in power are not concerned with what working people need.
Williamson acknowledged Wheeler’s point and expressed frustration that workers are still fighting the same battles.
“I can’t believe that in 2019, we are having a conversation about whether collective bargaining should exist,” she said.
Our Political Education Committee developed a questionnaire for all presidential candidates relating to our Unions for All campaign – you can find Williamson’s answers here.
This was the second members-only event for presidential candidates by the SEA, as the union moves toward an endorsement in the first-in-the-nation primary. The next event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 13, with Elizabeth Warren. You can also find information on that event as well as a recap of our town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on our website.