Over the past 40 years, wages of workers have barely budged. Meanwhile, American workers are working longer hours today than they did 40 years ago and are working longer than their European counterparts. This is an unsustainable and intolerable trend that crushes workers, weakens family life, and likely is a factor in why America is more unhappy than ever. One driver of this ballooning economic inequality is the fall of unionized workplaces. 80 years ago, unions drove the economy and insured a fair and equitable workplace for their members. Today, union membership is the lowest it has ever been since the federal government began measuring the membership rate.
It is clear that the next Congress must make workers and unions a key part of their agenda. Fortunately, progressive ideas like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and the PRO Act would help make the American economy work for regular workers, not the top one percent. Unfortunately, the current Representative for the 5th District, Steny Hoyer, has chosen to oppose all of these policies. Representative Hoyer opposes Medicare for All and is evidently happy to let the bosses of residents of 5th District control their health insurance, letting them change plans and potentially disrupt care at will. He opposes the Green New Deal, helped weaken the Congressional Committee designed to promote fighting climate change through a green jobs program that would undoubtedly give Marylanders good jobs while also combating rising shorelines across the state. As for the PRO Act, Representative Hoyer only helped bring it to the floor after 76 Democratic House members from across the moderate and progressive wings of the party wrote a letter to him bemoaning his lack enthusiasm for the bill. Instead of promoting the PRO Act, it appears Representative Hoyer has used his energy in promoting the Trump Trade Deal, or the USMCA. It is disheartening to watch Representative Hoyer work with President Trump to pass his signature policy proposal despite the fact that he supports impeaching the President for “abusing his power to serve his own interests…at the expense of our democracy.”
Fortunately, citizens of the 5th District have another option this year. They can choose to elect Mckayla Wilkes to Congress. Unlike Representative Hoyer, Mckayla Wilkes will be a strong and unequivocal voice for workers living in the 5th District. As a single mother of two, she knows that Democrats need a fighter in Congress who will stand with and fight for the most marginalized worker. As a proud black woman, Mckayla Wilkes knows that helping workers unionize is a key way to narrow the racial wage gap. As survey of her platform reveals that she has vision necessary to bring the changes the citizens of the 5th District deserve. She supports Medicare for All. She supports the Green New Deal. And long before Representative Hoyer found the “courage” needed to bring the PRO Act to a vote, Mckayla Wilkes was calling for a repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, one of the most anti-union pieces of legislation of the past century. This would lift restrictions on union activity and repeal Right-to-Work laws across the country. Furthermore, Mckayla Wilkes recognizes that the Trump Trade Deal makes some modest improvements, but does not empower workers’ voices, end the cycle of worker abuse across the continent and does nothing to stop climate change. In her words opposing the Trump Trade Deal, American labor policy should be set by “unions, workers’ groups, and environmental protection agencies,” so our system “puts workers and the environment first and corporate profits second.”
2020 is a critical year for American democracy and American workers. The citizens of the 5th District have the opportunity to send a woman to Congress that will never hesitate to fight for workers. Vote June 2nd for Mckayla Wilkes.