Following President Biden’s first formal address to Congress as commander-in-chief, the labor community is growing confident he will be able to deliver on key, labor-focused campaign promises.
The AFL-CIO has been heavily involved in keeping the pressure on President Biden and is doing what they can to advance his agenda. AFL-CIO Director of Government Affairs Bill Samuel joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss what needs to be done to strengthen the labor movement.
Passing the PRO Act
The PRO Act has been a topic of discussion over the past year within the labor community. Samuel said comprehensive labor legislation needs to be passed as soon as possible.
The benefits of the PRO Act include a list of protections for workers and mechanisms to hold employers accountable for their actions taken against workers. Samuel noted the legislation gives teeth to punishments that may make employers think twice before taking anti-labor action.
The issue with passing the PRO Act is getting a handful of Republicans on board in a heavily divided Senate. Samuel expects Senate Republicans to use the filibuster to block the PRO Act, as they have done so for other major legislation. Many Democrats and Samuel have called for an end to the filibuster.
Investing in labor through the U.S. through the American Jobs Plan
President Biden has introduced the American Jobs Plan, a comprehensive infrastructure bill designed to modernize the U.S., while putting people back to work after many Americans remain unemployed for over a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This infrastructure plan is different from past, more traditional plans. President Biden is aiming to rebuild highways, roads, bridges and other forms of traditional infrastructure, in addition to allocating money for expanded broadband, the electrical grid, schools and more.
This infrastructure plan will offer a great opportunity for tradesmen and tradeswomen to join a union. Samuel said it will also be a great time for building trades unions to organize new members and replenish their ranks.