Labor leaders look forward to future after a tumultuous four years with Trump
By SHERI GASSAWAY
With the nation on pins and needles awaiting the results of the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election, national news outlets finally called the race in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday, Nov. 7, giving working families a sigh of relief and much-needed hope for the future.
Shortly after learning that Biden had received the necessary 270 electoral votes to defeat President Donald Trump, Americans took to the streets at the White House and other locations across the United States to celebrate. Biden took to the stage Saturday night in his home state of Delaware to accept the win and call for unity.
CALL FOR UNITY
“I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of the nation and the Middle Class, to make America responsible around the world again and to unite us here at home,” Biden said. “It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision.”
Biden made history in the race by winning more than 74 million votes and counting – the most ever received by a U.S. presidential nominee. Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, also made history as the first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent to become vice president.
‘A WIN FOR AMERICA’S LABOR MOVEMENT’
“Democracy is prevailing,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement released Saturday. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s Labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall-out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism.
“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris saw us, heard us and campaigned on a promise that we, as one nation, will build back even better than before. That is why working people decisively rejected the politics of darkness and division and voted in record numbers for public servants who want to join us in writing America’s comeback story.
‘UNION VOTERS DELIVERED THIS ELECTION’
“Let’s be clear: Union voters delivered this election for Biden and Harris. Their message and commitment to create ‘the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration’ resonated with our 12.5 million members and 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics,” Trumka said.
“Now the AFL-CIO stands ready to help the president-elect and vice president-elect deliver a long overdue workers’ first agenda. That starts with passing the HEROES Act to provide our families and communities emergency support and services in the face of this deadly virus. But COVID-19 relief is just that – relief.
“Once working people are made whole, the real rebuilding can begin. We call on Congress to pass and Biden to sign the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act early in 2021 to make sure every worker who wants to form or join a union is able to do so freely and fairly. Working people want our leaders to act swiftly and think more boldly than ever before,” Trumka said. “The time to begin is now.”
‘OUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND’
Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council, called last week historical and said he’s also looking forward to a Joe Biden presidency.
“Joe certainly is not afraid to say the word Union,” White said. “He comes from a working-class family and knows what we do. Talking about infrastructure and bringing back the middle class is exactly what we have been looking for. He also has the guts to pick the first woman to hold such a high office with Kamala Harris.
“I think he can reunite the country and bring back a lot of our members who have been voting against their best interests the last few years. Unions have united behind his campaign like never before, and I’m proud to represent such hard-working men and women who I believe have put a man in the highest office that has our best interests in mind with every decision he makes.”
HIGH HOPES FOR FUTURE OF LABOR
Missouri Rep. and 1st District Senator-elect Doug Beck (D-Affton), president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council, said he also has high hopes for the future of Labor for a Biden presidency.
Last week, Beck, a member, of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, won his bid for state Senate in the 1st District, a critical race to ensure union members have a voice in the Missouri Senate and General Assembly.
“Joe Biden has promised to make it easier for unions to organize and has proven he will be much more friendly to working families,” he said. “He has also committed to an infrastructure plan, and I’m hoping that we’ll see some federal dollars come down to Missouri as a result.”
TRUMP REFUSES TO CONCEDE
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, who is refusing to concede the election, has filed lawsuits challenging the results in several states and continues to push his attorneys to seek legal action to delay formal certification of the results. He has made no public statement since news outlets called the election in favor of Biden.
Although Biden was the clear winner in Electoral College votes, ballots were still being processed to reach the final vote totals on Sunday evening.
This is a developing story and the Labor Tribune will provide additional updates online and in Thursday’s print edition.