By the time you read this, Bernie likely will have come in first or second in Iowa. He looks even better in New Hampshire. We don’t want to be overconfident, but things seem to be falling into place. Just today, Thursday, January 30th, the 200,000-strong American Postal Workers Union endorsed the Sanders Campaign. Lots of roadblocks and challenges ahead, but the wind is blowing in our direction.
Since December, DSA members, union activists, and those close to the labor movement have been working diligently to build support for Bernie among union members and workers. In January, 45 union members and supporters met to expand our network and to plan for a February rally. AFSCME members at Hennepin County Medical Center are mapping their workplace to build support for Bernie. More than 20 IBEW members have committed to attending the rally. Letter-carriers are recruiting coworkers. Minnesota educators are meeting to build support at their schools.
The rally date and location have been set and mesh with national campaign plans. Minnesota is the only midwestern Super Tuesday state, elevating the importance of our primary. We have been told by national campaign figures that our Labor Rally will be the recipient of a nationally-known surrogate.
The rally will also be an opportunity to bring attention to some of the real workers’ fights going on in Minnesota. Claire Van den Berghe, Teamster organizer, will be bringing the recent snowplow drivers’ strike to the table and the impact Bernie’s support for the strike had on workers in Northern Minnesota (so-called Trump Territory). SEIU Local 26’s week of action and potential strike by 8,000 workers will be part of our story, as will the fight by nurses against St. Paul hospital closures at Bethesda and St. Joe’s.
Our aim for this rally is not just to get a Minnesota win for Bernie on March 3rd. We want to build a strong, vibrant, and democratic union movement in Minnesota that can help lead a mass movement for a Green New Deal, Medicare For All, and an end to the power of the billionaire class. We need to weld electoral success to movement building and deep base building. Bernie’s program has no chance of success without this.
This will be a fun and celebratory event with a Trump Pinata, crayons and coloring books for kids (and adults), pizza (none for kids). It will be inspirational with some amazing speakers like Rose Roach of MNA and a yet-to-be-determined national surrogate. It will be an organizing event to make sure we maximize our power.
You can follow developments with the Bernie campaign, labor, and the rally on our Facebook group, Minnesota Labor For Bernie. Please join even if you are not a union member.
Date and time: Sunday, February 23 at 4PM.
Location: CWA Local 7200 Union Hall, 3512 East Lake St. Mpls, MN 55406
Note: this event is not sponsored by Twin Cities DSA.