Warren Addresses Western Mass. Labor Gathering

Sep 9, 2017

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren ( D-MA) speaks at the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, annual Labor Day Breakfast. It was held at The Castle of Knights in Chicopee.
Credit WAMC

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking at a labor day breakfast in western Massachusetts on Friday, denounced President Trump’s moral leadership. The Democrat stressed values she said she shares with union leaders.

Warren said away from the daily din of news reports about President Trump’s latest tweet, or executive order, the administration and Republican-led Congress have worked steadily for months to changes rules affecting worker safety and wages.

" It has been one punch after another," she said. " They don't make the big headlines but they make a big difference in the lives of working people."

    Earlier this year, Warren released a staff report that said 66 of the federal government’s 100 largest contractors have committed violations of wage and hour laws.

She spoke Friday to an audience of about 250 labor leaders, elected officials, candidates for elected office and liberal activists at the annual Labor Day Breakfast held by the Pioneer  Valley Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Warren pledged to fight appointees to the National Labor Relations Board who would weaken collective bargaining rights.

With a national following that makes her a potential presidential candidate in 2020, Warren has tried to remain a thorn in the side of Trump.  Her harshest criticism of him Friday was for the decision to remove Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrant students, who were brought to this country as children by their parents.

She said the threat to deport hundreds of thousands of so-called “dreamers” means the president is no longer the country’s moral leader.

"People talk about it from an economic point of view, but I want to be clear: this is a moral question," Warren declared. " America is a country that made promises to 'dreamers' and America should keep its promises."

On the brighter side, Warren said there has been a resurgence of democracy following last year’s election.  She said it was evident during the dramatic Senate vote in July that saved the Affordable Care Act.

" It happened because people across this country got organized and spoke out, and leaders in that were members of America's unions," said Warren. " So, I say to all of you 'thank you for what you do'."

Warren, who is gearing up to run for reelection next year, also touched on a pair of local issues. She endorsed expanding east-west passenger rail service and broadband internet access in rural areas.

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, a Republican, also spoke at the breakfast and praised the region’s workforce.  He credited a skilled and productive labor market for influencing an auto parts maker to expand its Chicopee plant rather than relocate to Mexico and for a $12 million expansion of the Calloway golf ball factory in Chicopee.

Another speaker at the breakfast was Bob Massie, a Democrat running for governor.