by Peter Freyne
Big "Worker Justice Conference" today at UVM.
Yours truly finally hit the huge, new $70 million Dudley Davis Center to catch the show. Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders [right] was first elected mayor of Burlap in 1981 when Ol' Dudley was president of the Merchants Bank.
Bernie told the crowd that since George W. Bush became president, "Five million more people have slipped into poverty and we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country in the world."
"One of the great disgraces in this country," said Sen. Sanders, is that "one out of five children lives in poverty. And you know what the corollary of that is?" he asked.
Answer: "We lock more people up in jail than any other country in the world!" said Bernie.
Ol' Bernardo also noted, "We have lost over 3 million good-paying manufacturing jobs. In this small state alone, we have lost 25 percent of our manufacturing jobs in the last six years.
"Part of the transformation of the American economy is shown by the fact that 25 years ago General Motors was the largest employer with good wages, good benefits and a strong union. Today," asked Bernie, "who is the largest employer in the United States?
And what did Wal-Mart bring?
"Low wages, low benefits, and vehemently anti-union. That’s the transformation of the American economy," answered the Senator.
He neglected to mention that the man for whom the building we were in was named, the late Dudley Davis' son Jeff Davis, was the lead developer/builder who fought long and hard to finally construct our own local Wal-Mart in Williston.