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President Katie Maurice Speaks at VT Progressive Party Convention!

Liz Medina
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VT AFL-CIO President Katie Maurice spoke at the Vermont Progressive Party Convention yesterday to dozens of party members across VT about the need to working together to build a working-class party! Full speech posted below: 

"Thank you for inviting me here today. It is an honor to stand before you as the President of the Vermont AFL-CIO, especially in a room filled with individuals committed to the progressive values that shape our great state. Today, I want to express my gratitude for the unwavering support the Vermont Progressive Party has shown in the fight for workers' rights.

As many of you are aware, we are facing significant challenges in protecting and advancing the rights of workers in Vermont. Our commitment to this cause has been steadfast, and it's my pleasure to share with you some of the initiatives we've been working on.

One significant milestone is the VT PRO Act (S.102), a crucial piece of legislation that addresses the fundamental rights of workers. The VT PRO Act aims to empower workers, ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and the right to organize without fear of reprisal. The urgency of passing the VT PRO Act cannot be overstated. Even in our seemingly progressive state, we are witnessing aggressive union-busting tactics. Take, for instance, Jasper Hill, which employed the same union-busting consultant responsible for egregious actions at Amazon. These tactics, including captive audience meetings and threats to union leaders, must not go unchallenged. The Gaku Ramen incident, where a beloved chef was fired for supporting the union, is another stark reminder that we must stand up for workers' right to organize.

I want to thank the Vermont Progressive Party for standing by us in this critical endeavor. Your support is invaluable, and together we can make a real difference for workers across the state.

The Vermont AFL-CIO has not only focused on workers' rights but have also championed broader social justice causes alongside the Progressive Party. The recent success in passing the Reproductive Liberty Amendment is a testament to our shared commitment to ensuring that reproductive rights are recognized as workers' rights.

Additionally, endorsing Labor for Palestine's statement, "US Labor Must Stand with Palestine," underscores our commitment to international solidarity and opposition to oppression.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative for the Progressive Party to distinguish itself as the party of the working class. In a political landscape often dominated by powerful corporate interests, the Progressive Party stands as a beacon of hope for those who have felt the weight of inequality on their shoulders. By embracing a robust commitment to social and economic justice, the Progressive Party becomes the voice of the everyday Vermonter, fighting for policies that uplift workers and ensuring that the working class is central in the party's vision for the future.

The Progressive Party's role as the party for the working class is not just about rhetoric; it's about tangible actions. It's about supporting legislation like the VT PRO Act that protects the rights of workers, about standing up against union-busting tactics, and about ensuring that the working class has a seat at the decision-making table. As we navigate the complex landscape of social and economic justice, the Progressive Party's dedication to the working class ensures that the voices of all workers are heard, regardless of race, gender, or any other factor that may compound the challenges they face.

Furthermore, I call on party members not only to fight for workers' rights but to actively organize within unions and establish their own. The left must be firmly rooted in the labor movement to effectively challenge the structures of capitalism and the forms of oppression that accompany it.

We invite party members to join us in our Workers' Circles, where we discuss and strategize for a better future. Likewise, union members must actively engage within the Progressive Party, building a strong, independent political force that aligns with the interests of the working class.

The Vermont Progressive Party's role as the party for the working class is not just a political stance – it is a moral imperative. It is a commitment to building a society where the dignity of labor is honored, where economic opportunities are accessible to all, and where the working class is empowered to shape its own destiny."