In the midst of crisis, veterans need Joe Biden in the White House
By Michael G. Donatelli and Donald C. Stanton
As veterans and as union members, we’ve witnessed the meaning of solidarity up close. We’ve seen the power it has to help us survive through tough times and build toward a better future. That’s why, after we completed our service and found work as airline pilots, we were proud to sign up as members of our union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, ALPA proved its mettle. In 2005, our airline entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but our 9,000 pilots voted to contribute 1 percent of our pay to cover health insurance for over 2,000 fellow furloughed pilots and their families. Unions take care of our own.
Now, during these unprecedented and challenging times, we need that kind of solidarity. During this economic recession, staggering numbers of veterans have lost their jobs, creating enormous stress for thousands of families while worsening an ongoing crisis of mental illness, suicides and homelessness among veterans.
Now more than ever, we need leadership that will deliver the good-paying union jobs that veterans deserve. We need an ally in the Oval Office who values the sacrifices of those who have served their country, who understands the urgency of the work ahead of us and who is prepared to fight with us every step of the way.
That ally is Joe Biden. For decades, he has been a tireless partner of the American labor movement. As a military father, he knows firsthand the service and sacrifice that define the veteran experience. And as a public servant, he has always operated by the principle that unity and empathy will take us further than division and selfishness.
We need a president who understands the power of unity. When we’re in a union, we’re all stronger together than we are on our own. Just as unit cohesion is essential to operational success on the battlefield, it’s only by joining together that working people can win higher pay, better hours, more affordable health care and a voice on the job.
Vice President Biden understands the value that the labor movement offers to veterans across the country. Veterans gain incomparable experience during their service, from leadership and management to technical skills. Unions don’t just offer security — they allow veterans to translate those experiences into the civilian workforce through life-changing training programs like Helmets to Hardhats.
With our economy in the midst of an unprecedented meltdown, now is the time to rally around a movement defined by our ability to strengthen ourselves and each other. Working families are bearing the brunt of this recession, and we need a president who has proven he will have our backs.
For three and a half years, Donald Trump has had every opportunity to prove himself. But instead of listening to the experts, he allowed this crisis to spiral out of control and left working families to pick up the pieces. Far from standing with the labor movement, he has repeatedly attacked our unions, undermined our rights on the job and attempted to blame us for his own failures. Perhaps worst of all, we’ve learned that he reportedly dismissed fallen heroes as “losers” and “suckers” for making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The stakes are too high to entrust our future to someone who refuses to take the job seriously. Trump has proven time and again that he doesn’t possess the discipline or competence to lead our country out of one of the darkest chapters in its history.
Meanwhile, Vice President Biden has made clear who he is and what he stands for every day he’s been in public life. He has been a friend to working people, he has walked alongside unions every step of the way, and he has fought to defend our rights and to win hard-fought gains — from fairer wages and benefits to safer and healthier workplaces.
This week kicked off the final stretch of the presidential campaign. Only one team has stepped up to prioritize unions, veterans and our communities, and only one team can be counted on to fight for our best interests. We urge you to join us in supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to strengthen unions, repair the middle class and move all of America forward during these challenging times.
Michael G. Donatelli is a retired airline pilot and Air Force fighter pilot. Donald C. Stanton is a retired airline pilot and Navy patrol pilot.