You know, “fighting for the people” should mean protecting them on the job. But it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes you need to know the nuanced requirements of the fight.
The campaign of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly enthroned socialist darling of the left and delightfully ignorant foil of the right, has been fined by New York State for not providing workers' compensation coverage for its employees for a month last year. State Workers Compensation Board spokeswoman Melissa Stewart told the New York Daily News, “The employer did not have the required workers' compensation coverage from March 31, 2018, to April 30, 2018, and was issued a final penalty of $1,500, which was paid. This coverage is vital to ensuring workers are protected for on-the-job injuries.”
Even though the error was likely the fault of the campaign and not the candidate herself, the optics on this are extremely poor. Ocasio-Cortez, commonly and heretofore referred to as AOC, has been an ardent champion of the great unwashed, with lavish plans to confiscate and redistribute what she considers ill-gotten wealth to provide for the poor and underpaid workers of this nation. Someone should probably advise her that charity isn't the only thing that starts at home; fiscal responsibility does as well.
Of course, this isn't the first time she has proven to be a study in contradictions.
AOC graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and a minor in Economics. For someone who has that particular educational experience, she seems to have a remarkable lack of awareness when it comes to those topics. An open advocate for the Fight for $15 movement, she showed up at a long-established New York restaurant (where she used to work) on its final day of business to publicly lament its loss. The fact that the restaurant cited mandatory wage hikes – a policy she supports – as the reason for its closure seemed lost on her. She thinks unemployment is low because “everyone has two jobs” (Her exact quote was “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.” It was a comment that earned a “Pants on Fire!” rating from PolitiFact). She labeled Israel as an “occupier” in the middle east. And she most recently declared that people crossing our borders illegally are “more American than Donald Trump.”
I suppose that logic means that by responsibly protecting my employees with workers' compensation coverage, I am more American than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I wonder if Brown University could recall that degree.
The reality is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is in Congress today for the exact same reasons that Bernie Sanders proved to be a phenomenon during the 2016 election and why Donald Trump is president of the United States. She smartly tapped into a general discontent with the status quo and a populace grown weary of political elites who generally ignore their constituents beyond the elections. The man she beat, now former Congressman Joe Crowley, was a Democrat party powerhouse who didn't even bother to show up and debate her. He probably should have. From her public misstatements and inaccurate prognostications, it is evident that he could have probably mopped the floor with her.
Still, if you are going to talk the talk, you damn well better be able to walk the walk. Fighting for the rights of workers' is meaningless if you are incapable of following your own dictums or understand the basic requirements of managing any operation like a business or campaign.
Charity begins at home. So does responsibility. And if you are the lamplighter for workers' rights, the failure to protect the people who helped get you where you are is a pretty big failure, indeed.
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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