With the election of Joe Biden and U.S. Senate gains in Georgia, the labor community is looking forward to a busy two years of advancing their most pressing agenda items.
The AFL-CIO is leading this charge and is working to ensure working people get a fair shake. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler spoke about this, the Capitol insurrection and offshore energy project on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Insurrection at the Capitol
Shuler said that she lives in Washington D.C. and has walked the halls of the Capitol in the past. It was heartbreaking for her to see President Trump incite violence, but ultimately believes democracy will prevail and survive.
She added that labor is the backbone of democracy, which showed during the presidential and Senate runoff races. The labor community worked hard to elect Joe Biden and to swing the Senate back in favor of the Democratic Party.
Labor agenda for 2021
Shuler said the labor agenda will be front and center when President-elect Biden is sworn in and the new Congress begins. She said passing the PRO Act will be a day one priority and she hopes it can get done quickly.
Next up will be getting personal protective equipment into the hands of frontline workers, as many are still working with limited PPE or PPE they have had to purchase for themselves.
Additionally, Shuler said it is vital that an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Standard be established to protect workers. Additionally, the Defense Production Act needs to be initiated to increase production of PPE.
Offshore wind project
Finally, Shuler spoke about an offshore wind energy project that she helped develop. She said the clean energy economy is growing, and we need to take advantage of it.
The wind energy project is set to be built off of the east coast and is expected to produce some 83,000 family-supporting, good paying jobs, with more to come in the future.
Although some companies involved in the project are European based, Shuler is working to ensure the labor will be American union members. Additionally, she and the AFL-CIO are working to ensure the manufacturing of turbines, supply chain and other related labor is done by union members.
Lastly, she said there are plans to expand the project. As the clean energy economy grows, more American workers will be trained on installing turbines, solar panels and working in the clean energy industry.