Labor Caucus celebrates arrival with kick-off event
Stephon Johnson | 1/21/2021, midnight
Last week the co-chairs of the recently-formed Labor Caucus in the House of Representatives held a kick-off event led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten.
Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) will join Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) to announce themselves as the new caucus co-chairs of the Labor Caucus. Now at 75 members, the Labor Caucus intends to advance the needs of the labor movement and help working families via legislation and collaborations with labor union. The caucus wanted labor unions around the country to know that they’re ready to represent their interests in Congress.
“Every American should have a voice in their workplace to advocate for fair wages and safe working conditions, and the Labor Caucus will advance the cause of working families by being their voice in Congress,” said the Labor Caucus co-chairs in a joint statement.
“The American dream, where hard work is rewarded with wages sufficient to guarantee a home, health insurance, children’s education and retirement security, is no longer in reach for too many,” added Suozzi. “We must reclaim the American dream and that starts with a pro-labor, pro-growth agenda.
Trumka commended the new co-chairs for their arrival and the job they’re expected to do.
“You’ve united 75 members of Congress together in this Labor Caucus, which sends a strong signal to those of us working every day to grow the labor movement,” said Trumka. “We need a Workers First agenda that starts with passing the PRO Act for worker empowerment, worker safety, good union jobs, racial justice and economic security.”
Biden recently picked Boston Mayor and former union leader Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary. Walsh and the president have prior experience with each other. Biden spoke at Walsh’s mayoral inauguration in 2017 and the two worked together in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Lou Antonellis, business manager and financial secretary-treasurer, IBEW Local 103 in Boston, said Walsh is “a tremendous leader with the kind of empathy, vision and commitment to working families that our nation needs. IBEW Local 103 has seen firsthand that Marty Walsh is a champion for all working people. We share his values that every worker deserves access to great training, great careers, and a chance at the American dream. As an organizer, legislator, and mayor, Marty Walsh has demonstrated his profound commitment to making stronger communities and safer workplaces.”
Union members, like Weingarten, hope Suozzi, Norcross, Dingell, Horsford, Pocan and Sánchez “seize the moment” and help Biden implement his labor agenda.
“In this time of deep national crisis, there’s no more essential task than protecting democracy and delivering the relief and tools for workers to thrive,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “The path to a better America runs through the labor movement, as the largest organized force for equality and justice. With this united caucus in place, we can repair our frayed national fabric and place workers’ concerns at the center of our debates and decision-making.”