Sen. Elizabeth Warren to AFSCME Members: It’s Time to Go on Offense 12/16/2013

by Olivia Sandbothe  |  December 16, 2013

As attacks on working people continue across the nation, it can feel like there’s no one in Congress willing to stick up for the middle class. But at least one Senator is speaking out on labor issues.  On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts addressed AFSCME's International Vice Presidents at the union's headquarters.

"There are two very different visions of America's future competing in Washington. The Republican vision is ‘"’ve got mine, and the rest of you are on your own," she told AFSCME members.  "You are a threat to them, because every single day you are living out a different vision. People who go into public service are putting other people’s families first. They are putting the community first."

As Congress searches for a course of action on government funding, allies like Warren aren't just working to hold off painful cuts - they're speaking up for an expanded social safety net.  Warren called for raising the minimum wage and increasing Social Security benefits.  She argues that doomsday predictions of a Social Security crisis are exaggerated by those who would rather slash retirement benefits. 

"We don’t have to make cuts to people’s benefits to make this work," Warren said. "In fact, we can make adjustments and increase benefits."

She also criticized the pension cuts that have hit retirees across the country. 

"No one turned to the CEOs of the big banks and said, 'now that we're in trouble, why don't you give back part of the paycheck that you earned over the past twenty years?' No one says that to the guys at the top."

Warren grew up the daughter of a custodian and attended a state university for only $50 a semester in 1970. By 1992 she was a professor at Harvard Law. She attributes her success to a strong middle-class society that is now under attack. 

AFSCME is proud to stand with Senator Warren and others who champion the values of ordinary Americans.  "I can think of few other Senators who stand with us on so many issues," AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said.