Some people dismiss modern political conventions as a waste of time. Why go through the trouble and expense if the presidential nominee has already been decided? Before the television cameras even began rolling at the DNC today, I got my answer.
This morning I enjoyed the opportunity to address the Michigan delegates over breakfast. I was invited to speak about the proposal to preserve collective bargaining rights in our state constitution.
Whenever I am invited to speak about this topic, I get pretty fired up. Corporate CEO’s are making millions of dollars in salary and bonuses, yet the people who actually do the work have seen their wages stagnate and even cut. Workers need protections from corporate special interests that arbitrarily cut wages, benefits, and pensions – and ship jobs overseas – just to squeeze out more profits for themselves. Collective bargaining helps level the playing field for employees so CEOs aren’t the only ones benefiting from a company’s success. By leveling the playing field between corporate special interests and workers, collective bargaining rights help ensure good working conditions and improve the quality of life for all Michiganders.
While I often have the opportunity to discuss collective bargaining rights and the need to protect working families by placing those rights in the Michigan Constitution, I rarely get to speak to a large, geographically representative group of activists from across the state all at one time. Their questions and comments made it clear that this proposal has broad support.
This short speech and discussion over breakfast was a rare chance to make sure that activists from Iron Mountain, to Kalamazoo, to Saginaw and all points in between are all on the same page and working towards the same goal. This is the value of conventions as I see it. The in-person energy and collaboration that takes place off stage is what will propel working families to victory on the collective ballot proposal and other important issues in November.