Week in Review

One day after a federal grand jury indicted six people for enslaving farm workers, Senator Sanders travel this week to Immokalee, Florida to meet with workers there. These workers live in often horrendous conditions and have not seen pay raises for two decades. Sanders called on the tomato growers and Burger King to do the right thing, and said that the U.S. Senate should hold a hearing on the subject. Vermont's representatives in Washington were happy to announce the release of some much-nee

One day after a federal grand jury indicted six people for enslaving farm workers, Senator Sanders travel this week to Immokalee, Florida to meet with workers there. These workers live in often horrendous conditions and have not seen pay raises for two decades. Sanders called on the tomato growers and Burger King to do the right thing, and said that the U.S. Senate should hold a hearing on the subject. Vermont's representatives in Washington were happy to announce the release of some much-needed home heating assistance. Sanders continued to push for "green jobs" as part of the long-term solution to our economic struggles. And Senator Sanders announced significant federal funding to help Vermont firefighters train for the challenges they face in real fires.

Farm Workers Following a recent trip to see the working conditions on plantations in Western Africa which produce a large share of the world's cocoa, Senator Sanders, a member of the Senate's labor committee, again went to a problem area, this time somewhat closer to home. He held two days of meetings in Florida with the community-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Sanders said that the labor committee should hold a hearing on the conditions on the tomato farms in southern Florida and the stunning wage stagnation that has gone on for decades there. "No worker in America should be treated the way tomato pickers in Florida are treated," Sanders said. Sanders joined Chairman Ted Kennedy, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, and Senator Sherrod Brown in sending a letter to Burger King, urging them to give the workers a long-overdue raise, and a letter to the local trade association which has worked to keep the wages low. To read the letters, click here. To visit our web page for information about the Immokalee situation, click here.

Home Heating With temperatures going down - and staying down for at least a few more months - and with the price of heating a home only going up, now is the time when Vermonters need the most assistance staying warm. Vermont's congressional delegation this week was please to announce that Vermont received $3.9 million for emergency home heating assistance. Yet, more needs to be done without delay. Senator Sanders said, "When the Senate reconvenes this month, I will bring to the floor legislation, with bipartisan support, which will increase LIHEAP funding by $800 million. Vermonters cannot afford to go any longer this winter without this necessary support." To read the delegation press release, click here.

Green Jobs As leaders from both sides of the isle and in all walks of life raise concerns about our economy, as candidates and elected leaders try to find consensus on how to resuscitate our economy, it is clear that a factor in any equation should be the promotion of "green jobs" as one part of the long-term solution. Senator Sanders worked closely with Senator Hillary Clinton and successful passed into law an amendment to the energy bill which takes a significant step toward creating a sustainable, comprehensive program to provide quality training for jobs created through renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. In light of the urgent challenges our economy faces, the senators, along with two House colleagues, sent a letter this week to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao requesting quick implementation of this program once the funding is provided. To read more about the Energy Bill, click here. To read an Op-Ed by the former governor of New Jersey about "green corps," click here.

Fire! Senator Sanders this week visited Vermont Technical College in Randolph center to announce that he had secured $406,000 for a "live-burn" training facility. "Firefighting is not an easy job and all of us want to see firefighters get the best possible training they can get. This facility will be a great resource for firefighters throughout the state" Sanders said. Vermont Tech President Ty Handy said, "The construction of a state-of-the-art live-burn building in a central location will facilitate the training of firefighters in many typical live-burn scenarios. Sanders also used the occasion to thank Vermont firefighting community -- which includes 300 professional fire fighters and 5,600 volunteers -- for all that they do for the people of our state. To read the Herald of Randolph article, click here. To read the Senator's Op-Ed on Vermont firefighters, click here.