Capitol Alert

‘Unions built the middle class’: Kamala Harris champions labor movement in Sacramento

California Sen. Kamala Harris courted labor unions in Sacramento Monday night during a presidential campaign visit, telling the state’s labor federation that she’s the right person to fight on their behalf.

Throughout her brief, 18-minute speech, Harris promoted unions and pushed back against “very powerful forces” trying to divide labor groups.

“Unions built the middle class of this country,” Harris said. “People have a five-day work week because of unions. People have sick leave because of unions. People have an eight-hour work day because of unions. People have health care because of unions. People have safe working conditions because of unions.”

Harris occasionally criticized policies implemented under President Donald Trump during her speech, though she did not mention the president by name.

On her first day in office, she vowed to repeal the 2017 tax bill approved by Republicans. She said she’d use that money to offer a $6,000 tax credit to families making less than $100,000 a year.

“When you invest in families, you invest in working people in America, you get a great return on that investment.”

She also pushed a plan to raise teacher pay because “the American economy is not working for working people.”

Harris’s appearance at the California Union Legislative Conference comes as she looks to woo Democrats within her home state, which is set to hold its presidential primary election on March 3, 2020.

She met with donors in Sacramento shortly before her scheduled talk. Her campaign reported earlier in the day that Harris raised $12 million through the end of March, with an average donation of about $55.

Her speech delivered a simple message to the hundreds of worker rights’ advocates: The country can do better than Trump.

“We are better than this,” Harris said. “This is a moment that is requiring us to fight for the best of us of who we are, and who but labor knows how to fight, and fight effectively.”

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