Union members know what it’s like to be a part of the working class. From the times of struggles to the times of prosperity, they have seen it and worked through it. Some of those union members take those experiences to Washington D.C. and advance the interests of their fellow union members.
United States Representative for the 1st congressional district of New Jersey Donald Norcross joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his experiences as an IBEW member, encouraging more union members to run for office and what a Biden administration will look like for organized labor and workers in general.
Rep. Norcross began by explaining his path to congress. He said he was working as an IBEW wireman before earning an office position within his Local. From there he began recruiting union members to run for public office, including himself.
What a Biden administration will look like for organized labor
Rep. Norcross said that organized labor will have a great friend in Joe Biden. His communal attitude of bringing people together and bringing people to the table will be a winning strategy for labor.
He added that the PRO Act will be passed by the House, but he is unsure whether the Senate will bring it to vote.
He also said that he and other pro-labor members of congress have been lobbying Biden to sign legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15. Seeing as it has been the longest period of time since a raise, he believes Biden will be on-board with this.
Safety standards have been disregarded under Trump
Under the Trump administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not done much enforcement of safety standards, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said this administration has failed to appoint officials to positions, leaving OSHA overwhelmed and understaffed. The result is claims and complaints that go almost entirely unaddressed.
Registered apprenticeship programs
Rep. Norcross, who completed a registered apprenticeship program with the IBEW said that they are the backbone of America.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college, build the college or defend the college,” said Rep. Norcross.
He said republicans tried to undermine building trades apprenticeship programs by creating Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). If allowed in the construction industry, these programs would have created a perpetual apprentice class who would be subject to low wages.