UAW Delegates Get Active on DNC Day 1: Live Blog


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11:30 PM — DNC Night 1: A Message of Unity

The first night of the Democratic National Convention was about unity. The prime time speakers laid out the case for the difference between Donald Trump and the types of campaigns Democrats are running across the country.

Anastasia Somoza, an advocate for people with disabilities, spoke about how it made her feel when Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter. She gave a stirring speech that repudiated that kind of rude behavior on behalf of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Delegates also heard about issues facing the LGBTQ community, immigrants, women, minorities and the labor movement.

Finally, in prime time, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D – New Jersey, kicked off the night with a rousing speech encouraging delegates to embrace a vision of America as a country of love, not hate.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke as mother-in-chief in a rousing speech about the importance of this election in the eyes of the children who look to the President as a role model.

Lastly, Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, ended the first night of a convention focusing on the issues of income inequality and calling for party unity in order to defeat Donald Trump, echoing a message that has been coming from UAW leaders in recent weeks.

Bernie Sanders, who lost a hard fought primary to Hillary Clinton, was greeted with huge enthusiasm by his delegates at the conventions, but made a compelling case for why a Donald Trump presidency would be a repudiation of everything his supporters stand for.

You can watch all the speeches from the first night of the Democratic National Convention on their official YouTube page.

9:00 PM — UAW Members talk about Day 1 at the Democratic National Convention

6:30 PM — Union members stand solid on strong progressive DNC platform

UAW delegates were pleased to hear about issues affecting working people from the labor perspective. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka led a list of speakers who spoke about our opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and our support for livable wages for all of those who work hard.

Trumka, speaking at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City, told the audience of mostly union members that the wealthy have made the rules in this economy for the last 40 years and it was time to tilt the scales a little more in favor of working Americans.

“The economy is not just like the weather,” he told the DNC Labor Caucus. “It just doesn’t happen to us.”

We see the rules set in favor of those who export jobs, not manufacture them, he said.

“We need to change the rules so Wall Street serves Main Street and not the other way around,” said Trumka.

Now is the time for working people to grab ahold of the future. Labor union members are already starting to do that by demanding Democratic Party platform issues that are important to working people.

“Democrats adopted a strong worker platform,” he said. “It’s probably the most progressive platform since the days of FDR.”

UAW delegates behind the scenes played an important role in pushing for more a more progressive platform on trade and other issues. Ultimately, we were successful on many fronts.

The national labor leader said Hillary Clinton’s support for working people is real, unlike the phony populism of Donald Trump.

“She’s tough, she’s smart and she’ll get the job done,” he added.

Trumka also introduced Unite HERE workers who have been on strike since July 1 at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, including Chuck Baker, who has 26 years as a relief cook at the property.

“Before Donald Trump came to town, life was good,” Baker told the audience, which gave the Unite HERE members a standing ovation.

Union members also heard from strong labor supporters such as U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Tammy Baldwin, D-Illinois, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, as well as Felicia Wong, an economist with the Roosevelt Institute.

Meet the UAW Delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention

12:30 PM — Dispatch from the UAW Delegation Meeting

UAW President Dennis Williams addressed UAW delegates attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention, reminding them that there is a lot of misdirected anger in this country and that we need to unify as a union to ensure that Hillary Clinton becomes president and Donald Trump does not.

Williams said that there are a substantial number of UAW members who do not understand that a Trump presidency would cost UAW members their jobs and reduce their wages. Trump, he reminded delegates, advocates preventing auto jobs from going to Mexico by relocating them to the U.S. South at far lower wages.

He said those members considering voting for Trump might not realize how divisive the candidate is and that he will undermine middle-class with his notions of a lower-wage America.

“Is that the kind of president we want?” Williams said. “Do we want a president who divides our nation?”

Beyond electing Hillary Clinton, Williams said it was important to working families to turn the Senate back to Democratic control.

And once we do, we must hold them to the promises the candidates made when campaigning and continue pressure for progressive policies that help working families like saying no to the TPP, raising wages, and tackling the problem of racial discrimination

10:30 AM — Dispatch from the Michigan Delegation Breakfast

The first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention got underway in Philadelphia today with UAW delegates in attendance and ready to get down to business. UAW members who are delegates attended various breakfasts this morning with their respective state delegations.

At the Michigan breakfast, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, addressed the delegation and was one of many female leaders talking about the history that will be made this week.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell talked about how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would be, how he denigrates women, and the need for us not to be divided by fear and hatred.

Other speakers talked about how our nation cannot be run by a CEO and like a business. Michigan, delegates were told, is a perfect example of why not. Gov. Rick Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis, Detroit Public Schools’ problems, and Michigan roads were classic examples of government not working for people.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada also addressed the Michigan delegation. She spoke about the need to come together not just during the convention, but afterward as well.

“Our job is not over once we step out of the voting booth,” she said, urging delegates to continue the fight against income inequality, discrimination and bad trade deals like the TPP in their communities.

Delegates were expected to attend a labor caucus this afternoon and hear Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders address delegates from the convention floor tonight.

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