Congress authorizes first-ever Labor Caucus


Amid a flurry of new campaigns and initiatives launched in the wake of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, a pair of Democratic congressmen, decades-long union members, announced last week the creation of a Labor Caucus to advance an agenda that centers on needs of working families in Congress.

Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) — members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), respectively — unveiled the caucus in a statement that acknowledged the former vice president’s recent win.

“President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration gives the Democratic Party the opportunity to reprioritize working families at the center of our legislative agenda,” declared Pocan.

“Under Donald Trump, we’ve seen the erosion of labor rights, rise in union-busting, and the prioritization of corporate profits over working people’s livelihoods and safety,” Pocan said. “It’s time for working people to have a voice in Congress again.”

The Wisconsinite called for the incoming Congress to reaffirm their “dedication to strengthening unions and helping [workers] by urgently passing legislation like the PRO Act (one of the most significant efforts to expand workers’ rights in decades) and the Raise the Wage Act (increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 up to $15).”

Both of those bills were passed by House Democrats during the current congressional session but never stood a chance in the legislative “graveyard” of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). With two runoff races in Georgia scheduled for January, control of the upper chamber next year remains uncertain.

“Labor has shaped my life, taking me from the construction site to Congress,” Norcross explained. “While the Trump administration has tried to diminish labor rights, President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration understands the dignity of work and that workers’ rights are human rights.

“Every American worker should have the opportunity to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and working families deserve a bigger voice in Congress,” he added. “I look forward to working together with our brothers and sisters in Labor to pass legislation for workers and their families.”

(Reprint ucomm blog written by Jessica Corbett at Common Dreams.)



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