On Tuesday, June 29th, Congressional leaders from key House committees gathered with a range of labor leaders to call on Congress to adopt President Joe Biden’s full agenda to help unions and fight climate change. Joining together near the Capitol grounds, leaders stressed that any legislative deals — bi-partisan or not — must embrace the full policies laid out in the President’s original infrastructure proposal, the “American Jobs Plan.”
Among other infrastructure features, the plan would invest $400 billion in wind and solar power, build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and weatherize two million low-income homes. The plan also explicitly calls for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act – a bill prized by organized labor for decades. Last week’s Senate bi-partisan infrastructure deal drops most of these features. Activists released a letter signed by 1700 union households in 50 states and the District of Columbia supporting full passage of the President’s plan.
With the U.S. Capitol as the backdrop, leaders explained how the “American Jobs Plan” will repair our ailing roads and bridges with union labor and incentivize prevailing wages and worker protections in the emerging wind and solar industry. This is what they said:
“We are all here today because we know that we can create millions of good union jobs and save our shores from rising seas,” said Congressman Bobby Scott, a Democrat from coastal Virginia and Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee. “We do it by passing the American Jobs Plan.”
“President Biden knows unions are key to rebuilding an economy that works for all — rebuilding that starts with the passage of the American Jobs Plan,” said Dyana Forester, President of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO. “We urge Congress to listen to the District’s tens of thousands of union members who are sick of a system that benefits billionaires at the cost of its workers, and to pass the American Jobs Plan. This package will not only make critical investments into our nation’s infrastructure, but will help build a growing clean-energy economy that is powered by millions of good, union jobs.”
Key Congressional speakers also included House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) who will be a key voice in any budget reconciliation deal; and Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY) who serves on that committee. Learn more about how the AJP helps unions here. And learn more about how it fights climate change here.
“The President’s American Jobs Plan would invest in our nation, protect workers and their families, and finally begin to address our climate crisis with the urgency it demands,” said Congressman John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Kentucky. “I’m proud to stand with the men and women of labor in calling for this plan to be considered without delay.“
Union speakers included representatives from DC-area AFL-CIO councils, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local 26 of DC, MD, and VA), the Amalgamated Transit Union (Local 689 of Metro Washington), One Fair Wage, UNITE HERE, and the DC Labor Chorus. The climate advocacy group CCAN Action Fund also spoke.
“To create a sustainable future for our nation, we must restore the middle class and protect our environment at the same time,” said Donald Slaiman, representing the AFL-CIO Northern Virginia Labor Federation. “We support President Biden’s insistence that the new green economy must offer good union jobs and strong worker protections, including the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). It’s time to invest in our environment and our people.”
“The American Jobs Plan will help rebuild the middle class by investing in our infrastructure, like our airports,” said Josh Armstead, Vice President of the DC Chapter of UNITE HERE Local 23. “I’ve worked at the airport and I know how hard a job it is and how important the airports are to our economy. The thought that there are airport workers across the South who make less than a $15 minimum wage makes me furious. Workers will not stop fighting until all of the American Jobs Plan is passed into law!“
President Biden has unified the labor movement and the climate movement like no President before him, seen in this event and the associated letter signed by union households. Congress must pass all $2.3 trillion dollars worth of the American Jobs Plan, with or without bi-partisan votes, to address the needs of the labor movement and the climate crisis.
This is the third event in the “100 Leaders for 100% Clean Energy” summer series sponsored by CCAN Action Fund and other partners. We appreciate your continued support and hope you continue to join us.