What if Sen. Bernie Sanders Knocked on Your Door?

What if Sen. Bernie Sanders Knocked on Your Door?


– Hi!
– Hello, how are you? – Hi, I’m Alex. Nice to meet you.
– Nice to see you. – Come on in. (tranquil music) My name is Alexandria Cutler. I live in Verona, PA. I am 23 years old, and I work at UPMC Presbyterian
and Western Psychiatric. UPMC is one of the largest
employers in the city. It is the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center. I’m a food service attendant. I serve hundreds of patients. (chuckles) As soon as they see me, they’re like, “Oh hey, dinner lady,”
and I love it so much. It’s very rewarding
work, especially seeing how they light up when
they do get their food. I mean, food is the key to everything. – I think you’re right, you know that. – If you ask me, it makes people happy so making people happy makes me happy. It gets hard, though, when I’ve been doing this work for so long, and I did injure myself at work. I ended up hurting my back. And, of course, that
comes with doctors’ bills. As a matter of fact, I got
one in the mail yesterday. This is my doctor’s bill. – Wow, that’s a lot of money. That’s what you gotta come up with? – Yes. – It’s a lot of money.
– Yeah. I have a home, I have bills and stuff that I have
to pay, and it’s hard, especially what the wages UPMC are paying, so I can only imagine
how other people are. It’s about a 48 minute drive by bus to get to my job, and then an
additional ten minute walk. I feel like if UPMC helped the community out a little bit more, I would be able to live closer to work. I would be able to get
a car to drive to work. I wouldn’t have to depend on the bus. After this, we’re
basically gonna make a left and the bus stop will
be little up the street. The bus is kinda unpredictable at times– – It doesn’t always come on time. – If the bus is late, then that means I’m gonna be late to work. – That’s a problem. – And this whole area gets
a sheet of ice over it, so I do kinda play hopscotch (chuckles) getting around it. – I come from Vermont. It gets very cold and it gets very icy so we have some experience about knowing not to fall on your face. (both laughing) You’re getting me my
exercise this morning. – Yeah. (laughing) This is every morning for me. I feel like it’s important
for Senator Sanders to hear my story, and
other people’s stories. He has the power to stop a lot of it. UPMC has the tendency to union bust. And if we had a union,
we would have a voice. We would have somebody to stand with us to tell them that we are human beings and we should be treated as such. – I happen to agree with you. Are you one of the leaders
of the union effort there? – Yes. – How do your fellow workers
feel about the union? Are they ambivalent or are they for it? – Oh, they are definitly for it. UPMC oftentimes tries
to intimidate them like, “Oh well, you could lose your job “if you support the union, “or if you go on strike.” None of those things are true, but they use those an intimidation tactics to keep people scared. We’ve been on three strikes. – [Sen. Sanders] Is that right? – Yes. We’re letting them hear us. We want them to know that
no matter what they do, we are here and we are important and we will be heard. – [Driver] Good morning. – [Alex] Good morning. (laughing) – [Sen. Sanders] Hello, how are you? – [Driver] Good morning, morning! – [Sen. Sanders] How are ya? – [Driver] How are you? – [Sen. Sanders] This goes here? – [Driver] Yeah, through it. – [Sen. Sanders] All right, thank you. – I have been involved with union activity and as a result, I have been harassed a lot at work by supervisors and managers. – You know I think what
happens in America today is, you have millions of people in exactly your position
who want to join a union. Because they know if they join a union, the likelihood is
they’ll get better wages, better working conditions, be treated with dignity, but their employers are, exactly, intimidating them, threatening them. Not everybody has the courage to stand up and take on powerful special interests. – The thing that drives me
to do it is other people, because I understand this
may be happening to me, but then it’s like, some
people are worse off than I am, and this is happening to them also. And I would never wish that on anyone. – Sometimes it benefits the people on top to have low wage workers. And if you have a union,
you’re gonna get more, and maybe it’s less for them. But at the end of the day, workers deserve the right
to organize if they want, and to do it without harassment. – UPMC has been building more places. And to be walking past
these construction sites, where they’re building this hospital that I won’t even be able to go to, a lot of other people
won’t be able to go to, but they can’t give nobody a raise. This is the construction site here. – [Sen. Sanders] Oh, I see, I see. – This is where they’re
building the new hospital and this is Mercy that they’re building it right next to each other. Doing this construction here is kind of a slap in the face. ‘Cause they’re telling
us that they don’t care about all the gentrification
that they’re causing. There’s a lot of
gentrification in Pittsburgh. I feel like UPMC plays a big part in that. A very big part. It’s making the cost of living go up especially since they’re
not paying their part. They claim to be nonprofit, and they claim to help and be a charity, but they’re not helping anybody. They would not be able to keep themselves up and running if it
was not for the workers. – Hey everybody. Bernie Sanders. – [Alex] It’s bittersweet
knowing that everyone else is fighting the same
fight that I’m fighting. It’s awesome to know the power people can have once they stand together. It’s amazing to see. It’s an awesome sight to see. – A few years ago, I
was pregnant with twins and after five months, I lost them. When I lost the twins, they only gave me a week of my own PTO. When I looked at my check two weeks later, zero, no money. I had to fight six more
months to get my PTO back. I just want to know
what, as the president, if you become president, what you will do to hold them accountable for the treatment of women of color. – Well, for a start,
we will make it easier for workers to have strong unions. And when you have a strong union, you will be treated with
respect and dignity. Second of all, we believe in
paid family and medical leave. What we don’t understand,
many people don’t understand, in this country, the way we treat workers is a lot worse than the way workers are treated all over the world. And they have a lot of benefits that American workers don’t have. And that’s something we’re gonna fight for in this country. I was rushed to the
hospital earlier this year, and it was with a flesh-eating bacteria and severe infection. I needed to be operated on immediately, in that my life was on
the line, pretty much. My hospital bill was ran up to $42000, which thankfully was paid for through my healthcare plan through work. We were all able to
actually stick together with our union to maintain
our insurance plan. People in this country
should be able to go to work every single day knowing that they have a peace of mind that there is a union to protect them, to
offer them higher wages, and better healthcare plans. – What we wanna do is make it clear that any worker in this country who wants to join a union
is able to join a union. I’ll tell you what,
’cause Alex was telling me some about the problem
she’s bumping up against. Many of these large corporations want government contracts. And we think that if they don’t treat their workers with respect, they’re not gonna get in
the front of the line. They’re gonna get very much
in the back of the line. We live in a country today where half of our people,
including some at this table, are living paycheck to paycheck. Where wages are much too low in general. So what we’re trying
to do, is for a start, raise the federal minimum
wage to 15 bucks an hour. You don’t get rich on that, but at least that will
help a lot of people. Okay, that’s number one. Number two, we’re gonna make it easier for workers to join unions. We need a government and economy that works for workers, not just wealthy campaign contributors and the one percent. I appreciate your standing up and fighting for justice, not only for yourselves, but for your coworkers. If you don’t stand up and
fight, nothing happens. – [Women] That’s right,
when we fight, we win. – That’s right. Millions of people today
are making better wages precisely because what the SEIU and other unions are doing. So we gotta continue to struggle for decent housing for our people, I mean Alex’s, we were
just on the bus today. It’s a 45 minute trip
because she can’t afford an apartment here in town, right? Because of gentrification,
gotta deal with that. So all of these issues are
kind of interconnected. We need a government
that works for all of us, and not just people on top. And that’s what I intend to bring about. – This needs to be heard. This needs to be said,
and it needs to be done. And that’s what I’m here for. I will not be silent
until everyone has a voice and everyone has unions for all.

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