Los Angeles’ Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians has endorsed Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for president in the 2020 primary election.
“Today more than ever, unions and workers are under attack by exploitative forces that are eroding our middle class. Immediate action and activism is crucial,” said Local 47 president John Acosta. “Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate to defend musicians and all workers by protecting jobs and workers’ rights.”
The local’s political action committee voted unanimously to recommend that the executive board of the 7,000-member union endorse Sanders as the candidate “who best represents the interests of musicians.” On Tuesday, the board in turn voted unanimously to endorse Sanders “in an unprecedented move for a union historically removed from taking official stances in presidential elections,” the union said in a statement. The local said that it’s “the first musicians union in the country to take a position in the 2020 Democratic Primary.”
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Reasons the local cited for its endorsement include:
• Protecting Pensions: Sanders has committed to halt further cuts to workers’ pensions and to make whole those workers whose pension benefits have been cut, while working toward a long-term solution to restore troubled pension plans to solvency. (Trustees of the AFM’s troubled Pension Plan have asked the U.S. Treasury Dept. for permission to reduce some 20,000 musicians’ monthly pension benefits in order to keep the “critical and declining” Fund from becoming insolvent within the next 20 years.)
• Union Support: Sanders has supported working people throughout his career, which has garnered him the most union endorsements of all candidates.
• Tax Credit Accountability: Sanders supports our calls to ensure that tax credit dollars are promoting good jobs for musicians in the U.S., not allowing taxpayer-subsidized music jobs to be sent overseas.
• Labor Rights/Worker Power: Sanders has committed to doubling union membership, allowing sectoral bargaining, requiring worker representation on corporate boards, and repealing harmful provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act.
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