North Philly Neighborhoods Mentioned in DNC Labor Council Meetings
About 40 percent of kids in Philly go to bed hungry, Rev. Gregory Holston, Pastor at St. Matthew United Methodist church, explained to the Democratic Delegates gathered at the PA Convention Center. He further broke down disturbing poverty and unemployment numbers for various zip codes Across North Philadelphia and the Riverwards.
But Holston wasn’t seeking food or clothes as handouts. No, this being the DNC Labor Council, he wanted work. Specifically jobs that got paid with union wages. On Monday, Holston showed a map of North Philly where 24 factories used to be. None of them are open now, he explained.
But Holston wasn’t the only one with a rap. On Wednesday the council still sounded like a Sunday service though and various dignitaries from the Democratic world picked up where Holston left off.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio started by saying, “Brother and sisters … the conversation of the country has changed.” He wanted to talk about “raising taxes on the wealthy,” “raising the minimum wage,” and “raising benefits for paid sick leave.” He added, “This is our 1933,” alluding to the New Deal from FDR.
Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren came in and stoked the fire as well.
“There’s no place I’d rather be than with my union friends,” Warren pointed out the long term benefits of unionism with pensions of the expansion of middle class. “There was a time when we built an America to strengthen America’s workers. After the Great Depression hit we came out of that saying we don’t have to be a boom and bust economy, where people do well for a while and then is crashes and everybody gets wiped out.”
Later on, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the story of how labor helped him get his dad, Mario, elected governor in 1982, against all odds versus Ed Koch. “New York state is the most unionized state in the United States of America and we are proud of it.”
Cuomo lamented the changing world and the lack of help in adapting to it.
“This whole concept of ‘we’re gonna move from the manufacturing job to the high tech intellectual jobs,’ Thats a beautiful concept. Very nice. Unfortunately… when you go from a manufacturing economy that now employs millions of millions of people … what happens to the [displaced workers]? And there’s never been and answer.”
Many of the speakers claimed Hillary Clinton could be the answer. Only time — and one very contentious election — will tell if that’s truly case.