As Congress passed a late night stimulus package, President-elect Biden continues to signal cabinet picks. Despite this, speculation still looms as to who will be tapped for labor secretary and commerce secretary.
Tom Buffenbarger, an independent labor voice and former general president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) joined AWF Union Podcast to give his early thoughts on the stimulus package, Organizing wins for the IAM and more.
Second stimulus package approved
Late last night, Congress came to an agreement on a second stimulus package, despite only having a few hours to read the more than 5,000 page bill. It includes $600 in direct deposit to most Americans.
Buffenbarger said he is disappointed in how long it took to get another round of stimulus passed, but is glad it finally did.
He credited this long wait to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanting to shield corporations from liability of creating unsafe working working conditions that allow COVID-19 to flourish. He also said the Democrats wanted extended unemployment, further reaching healthcare coverage, greater direct payments and more.
Biden cabinet picks
Although President-elect Biden has not yet selected a labor secretary or commerce secretary, his cabinet picks have impressed Buffenbarger. Each of his picks actually have experience working with the public in their field, opposed to selecting lobbyists and others with little to no real world experience.
As Biden selects his cabinet, President Trump is becoming increasingly unhinged. Surrounding himself with only those who agree with him, some have floated the implementation of Martial Law and other means of overturning the election.
IAM organizing wins
Buffenbarger is proud of the union he formerly headed, as they have continued organizing efforts despite the pandemic and recession.
Even in So-Called “Right to Work” states like Louisiana, workers are finding ways to organize with IAM. He attributed these efforts to young organizers, who have shown their peers that it is possible to get better working conditions and increased benefits.