Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, is set to visit the state on Oct. 29-30 to celebrate Texas union organizers and rally with congressional candidates Greg Casar (TX-35) and Michelle Vallejo (TX-15).
Sanders starts his trip with Casar at Texas State University’s campus in San Marcos at 3 p.m. to rally young voters.
Next, Sanders and Casar will head to Austin for a 5 p.m. rally and labor celebration with the Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin Central Labor Council. Then the Vermont Senator ends his trip in McAllen on Sunday at a 10 a.m. rally with Vallejo.
Sanders’s trip to the Lone Star State is just one of his many stops across the country in his efforts to energize voters before the midterm elections.
Despite pushback from both sides of the aisle, Sanders’s stance on raising the minimum wage to $15, supporting abortion rights, and standing with unions and workers remain popular among voters, according to polls.
Casar told the Signal Sanders’s upcoming trip to Texas is precisely what young and working-class Texas voters need.
“No one is more popular and has proven more of a champion for working-class voters and young voters than Sen. Sanders…especially among those people who are [dissatisfied] by politics,” Casar said. “The Democratic party is a big tent, and we need everyone to participate.”
In addition to rallying voters to the ballot box, Casar said the duo plans to highlight Texas workers’ recent union victories and show their support for organizers.
“Since 1975, $50 trillion in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90 percent to the top 1 percent because corporate profits have grown so much faster than worker wages,” Casar said. “As unions grow, we know that changes politics.”
Despite their employer’s opposition, union wins at corporations like Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon have created a resurgence in the labor rights movement.
In September, Texas nurses also made their mark after 800 workers at the Ascension-Seton Medical Center made history as the first unionized hospital in Austin.
According to Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy, Casar, who has a history in labor organizing, and Central Texas politicians, supported the Austin nurses, which led them to an overwhelming victory.
He added that politicians like him and Sanders give workers hope when faced with union-busting tactics and executives’ resistance.
“When you look in the face of the workers, and someone that’s a congressman is talking to them and telling them about their rights, it hits a little differently,” Levy told the Signal. “There is a mega-million dollar industry of high paid union-busting consultants who make it their business to make it as difficult for workers to organize as possible. But every time we win, and we’ve been winning a lot, it breaks through that notion that we can’t win, that unions don’t have a place.”
Levy also said that workers and politicians across political ideologies must work together as the labor movement grows.
“People are increasingly realizing that the path to their future lies with standing with the person they work next to,” Levy said.
Casar said that in addition to Sanders’s celebrating labor unions, his stance on denouncing political corruption could unite voters across the political spectrum.
“Sen. Sanders can appeal not just to the progressive parts of our community but to independent and conservative voters as well who want to see money out of politics,” Casar said. “We need to ban members of Congress from trading stocks, and we need to get big, dark money out of politics and raise worker wages.”
Early voting in Texas has already started, with polls running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election day is Nov. 8.
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.