By Cindy Banyai
Candidate for Congress, Florida District 19
The working class of the United States has become a shell of its former self as corporations and billionaires such as Jeff Bezos look to undermine their workers’ health and safety in the spirit of making an extra couple of dollars. This pandemic has exposed corporations and their uber-rich CEOs as capitalizing on working class people who need to work 40-plus hours a week just in order to maintain their basic human needs.
The Trump Administration took it a step further when economic advisor Kevin Hassett said that the country’s “human stock capital” were ready to return to work. Such statements towards Working-Class America are meant to be demoralizing and rude at best, or sub-human at worst. The working-class, blue-collared Americans that are the spirit of the country are under attack by corporations and the elites that represent them. Having to work a second job in order to make sure your family can afford to eat shouldn’t be as commonplace as it is today in American society, yet it is because corporations and elites continually exploit the working class so that they can afford that new yacht they had their eye on, or they can afford their third waterfront getaway house. The greed showcased by the elites during this pandemic has showcased how necessary it is for workers not to have rely on a corporation to benevolently give them their healthcare that can still cost them a fortune. Corporations have denied workers overtime pay or hazard pay, and when such corporations do increase wages, they don’t raise them enough for workers to continually want to risk their lives. Elected officials must do better on behalf of their people, which is why I am in favor of increasing the federal minimum wage to a point in which working-class people will be able to earn a livable wage to support themselves and their families.
As Hassett’s quote goes to show, the elites and the Trump Administration don’t care about Working-class America because they’re expendable to elites. If one, two, one hundred, or even one thousand, workers die, not only will the corporations that were complicit in the deaths of these workers not be held accountable, but they will also just continually hire new workers to replace their “human stock capital.” This is also why companies engage in offshoring production; they see people as capital that can be exploited. This is why it is also essential that we require protections for workers who face corporate offshoring or downsizing practices so that retraining possibilities are open for workers. There currently is no justice in the current American economic system and there won’t be until workers are protected at the federal, state, and local levels. We must ensure that Working-class America is able to not only survive, but thrive in an economic system that benefits everybody in such a system, not just the corporate elites. This means that we must continue to support unions and the work that they do for the working-class, as American Unions create a balance to corporate greed as they continue their fight for equity and justice for all Americans.