Labor Day message with AFL-CIO President Trumka shows Biden’s commitment to American workers, union members, families
By ED FINKELSTEIN
In a Biden administration, workers will have a real shot at good jobs, reasonable paychecks and protections to join a union so they can have a voice in their own work-destiny.
That was the crux of the conversation on Labor Day between presidential candidate Joe Biden and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, talking live to workers across America.
“I’ll fight like hell for American workers,” Biden said with the emotion and sincerity he has been known for his entire political career.
In a far-reaching conversation, joined by union members from across America, Biden outlined a real plan to bring America Back Better, a plan that involves creating good-paying union jobs, providing health care, ensuring workers have a right to organize into unions if they so desire, and stiff penalties for companies who illegally try to prevent workers from exercising their rights. (See details below.)
Noting that two-thirds of workers have said that they want to join a union, Biden pledged changes in the National Labor Relations Board that’s now stacked by Trump with anti-worker attorneys and business owners, and a reinvigorated Occupational Safety Health Organization (OSHA) with enough inspectors to ensure workers have the safe workplaces and protections for the right of workers to organize without fear of retaliation.
AMERICA’S COMEBACK STORY
“We’re writing a comeback story for America,” Biden said. “It’s not Wall Street that has made America what it is, it’s YOU, the American worker, the essential workers breaking your necks, risking your lives to do your job, that has made America what it is today. Wall Street didn’t build this country, YOU did, the American Middle Class.”
Biden and Trumka both took aim at attempts by Republicans and the Trump administration to destroy a worker’s ability to support a family, have dignity and be safe on the job, while Trump moves to gut Social Security and demean veterans for their sacrifices.
‘ON YOUR SIDE’
All that will change if he’s elected president, Biden promised. “You will have a new partner on your side,” he stressed.
Pointing to one of Trump’s major failures, the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden said his first task on Day 1 in office will be to implement the plan he’s already laid out to bring the pandemic under control, which includes: working with governors and mayors to establish mask mandates nationwide, doubling the number of drive-thru testing sites, and following science to get a vaccine and keep everyone safe.
Biden’s program also includes the passage of the HEROES Act to get dollars into the hands of furloughed workers, implementing the Defense Production Act to ensure adequate PPE supplies are available for everyone, ensuring companies provide paid sick leave for workers impacted by the pandemic, and expanding the Payroll Protection Program so employers can keep workers on the job.
‘I’LL HAVE YOUR BACK’
“The money is there. We’ve got to focus on getting the pandemic under control, our economy back on track and your families back in the game,” Biden said, adding, “There’s so much we can do (that’s not being done today).”
Despite the many problems the nation is facing, Biden is hopeful.
“I’m never been more optimistic,” he said. “I’ve spent my lifetime helping workers. You have a friend who will have your back.”
Biden’s plans to help workers
Unlike Donald Trump, who says a lot but does little to actually help workers, but does a lot to help corporations, presidential candidate Joe Biden has prepared a specific written plan to help workers, unions and all Americans share in the wealth they have created.
- Workers being treated with dignity and receiving the pay, benefits, and workplace protections they deserve.
- Workers having access to quality, affordable health care.
- Checking the abuse of corporate power over workers and holding corporate executives personally accountable for violations of Labor laws.
- Launching massive infrastructure investments using Project Labor Agreements.
- A clean energy revolution that creates millions of unionized middle-class jobs.
- Encouraging and incentivizing unionization and collective bargaining.
- Guaranteeing workers are able to send their children to quality public schools and have access to universal pre-kindergarten, plus providing education and training beyond high school, including federally registered apprenticeships.
- Meeting a strong commitment to invest in American workers first by ensuring that Labor is at the table to negotiate every trade deal.
- Ensuring federal dollars do not flow to employers that engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate Labor law.
- Awarding contracts to employers that support their workers, including those that pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. “The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard-of-living of those same families.”