In a fiery speech with labor leaders in Boston on Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) rebuked corporate and wealthy “vultures” that are wielding undue influence in the U.S. while calling for a wide variety of policies to protect the public, including universal health care and rent control.
Sanders spoke at an event to support the labor movement that was attended by over 1,500 people, taking the stage after Teamsters President Sean O’Brien and Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America President Sara Nelson. The senator spoke out about the vast wealth disparities in America and highlighted the fact that the conditions for workers are changing.
Over halfAmericans live paycheck to paycheck and over half a million people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness, he said — partially because workers have taken pay cutsDespite the fact that productivity has declined over the years, it has not been easy to maintain this level of productivity. rising steadily for decades.
“We have the moral responsibility to be outraged when three people own more wealth than half of American societyThe top 1 percent are now earning 45 percent of all incomes. Corporate CEOs are making more than this. 350 times what their workers are making,” Sanders said. “That is not the America we accept. We’re going to change it, big time.”
He castigated billionaires for their undue influence over the U.S. “These vultures are putting — I’m going to control my vocabulary here a little bit — these vultures are putting billions of dollars into campaigns to elect people who will pony to them and to defeat candidates who stand for working families,” he said.
Sanders stated that while the media and wealthy politicians are busy distracting from the problems facing the American public, Sanders mentioned that corporations and wealthy politicians have been doing so. He then spoke out about meeting with Boston residents, who said that renting an apartment in the city would cost $3,000 per monthly. He criticized the outrageous costs.
“Don’t tell me we cannot build affordable and low-income housing, don’t tell me we can’t have rent control,” Sanders said, to cheers from the crowd.
Later, he pinned problems of major inequality on the corporate “oligarchy” that plagues the country. “The corporate elite are addicted to greed,” he said, adding that their greed and ability to buy favor from politicians is “sick.”
Sanders said that union membership is one of the best ways workers can fight against unprecedented wealth consolidation and take back power away from executives and wealthy business owners. The labor union movement is seeing a “rebirth from coast to coast,” he said, but lawmakers need to make it easier for workers to form unions, as workers face “enormous opposition” from corporate employers.
Indeed, even before the rally Sanders joinedStarbucks workers from a Boston-area location who have been striking for over a month, protesting the company’s union busting and other employee concerns like regular understaffing. The strike has been supported by members of the community who have helped to keep the picket line open for workers who voted to unionize earlier in the summer.
The senator told the workersThey are standing up for themselves and for workers across the country who are being abused by powerful employers.
Sanders ended his speech with a passionate appeal to people to resist corporate power. “The billionaires have the money, we have the people,” Sanders said. “Our job now, for the sake of our children and future generations, is to stand together and to proclaim loudly and clearly, as Woody Guthrie did a long time ago: ‘This land is our land.’”