Bernie Sanders says Democrats will have a bad 2022 if they don't embrace unions and support the working class

Bernie Sanders says Democrats will have a bad 2022 if they don't embrace unions and support the working class
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at an Amazon Labor Union rally on April 24, 2022 in New York City. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) traveled to Staten Island to meet with workers who successfully organized the first union at an Amazon facility in the United States.David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
  • In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democrats should support organized labor.
  • They need to back the working class, or continue to stay "corporately controlled."

Democrats are dealing with a still-stalled social spending package, a continuing pandemic, and inflation at 41-year highs — all with the 2022 midterm elections looming in the background.

Senator Bernie Sanders has a suggestion: The party should be lining up behind workers and unions.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Sanders told Hunter Walker and Luppe B. Luppen that it's "political suicide" to "turn your back on the working class."

Instead, it's "good politics to become strongly involved in the labor movement" and support organizing workers, the senator from Vermont told the outlet.

"I think it's the right thing to do from a policy position," Sanders told Vanity Fair.


He added: "I think if the Democrats don't do that immediately, they are going to look at a very, very bad 2022." Democrats have to choose, Sanders told Vanity Fair, between becoming a party for the working class or one that stays "corporately controlled" and "beholden" to rich contributors.

Sanders is a longtime labor advocate, and has thrown his support behind the many organizing efforts taking off in the last year. He recently joined the upstart Amazon Labor Union for a rally, and spoke at a Virginia Unity Fest for unionizing Starbucks workers.

Most recently, Sanders has been putting pressure on the Biden administration to follow through on his goal "to be the most pro-union President leading the most pro-union administration in American history." Sanders called on Biden to enact an executive order that would cut off union-busting companies from federal contracts.

While there's been an explosion of organizing — the National Labor Relations Board reported a 57% increase in union election petitions from October to March — legislative progress on reforming labor law has been slow.

The pro-labor Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act has stalled since passing the House, despite Biden's backing. Jennifer Abruzzo, the Biden-appointed NLRB general counsel, has been quietly shaking up labor policy, but the agency is dealing with underfunding and understaffing.


Sanders is throwing his all into ensuring the labor movement keeps skyrocketing. According to Vanity Fair, he reportedly has about 10 staffers "heavily focused on supporting labor efforts."

"In the year 2022, the United States, and, in fact, the rest of the world, face two very distinct political paths," Sanders said in early April floor remarks.

One direction: "A growing movement toward oligarchy, in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a very significant part of the economy, and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country."

Then there's the other route, "the creation of a movement of working people and young people, who are today in ever increasing numbers fighting for justice, economic justice, racial justice, social justice, environmental justice."