November 23, 2021


equality opinion

Remarks by President Biden in Honor of Labor Unions

East Room

11:58 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Jocelyn, thank you.  Please.  Please, you should, please.  Thank you, Jocelyn. 

Remember to, sit down.  Thank you.  I — absolutely nothing to it, is there, Jocelyn?  Just strolling in and stand at the podium, and — (laughter) — speaking at the White Household.  Nothing to it.  You did a great work.  And thank you.  And thank you.

Right before I seriously start out, I want to say that I consider just one of the largest factors that’s altered is — my expensive mom, God bless her soul, utilized to say, “Out of every thing terrible, a thing excellent will come if you seem tough plenty of for it.” 

And I assume one particular of the great factors that’s occur out of this godawful crisis concerning COVID is standard individuals who never considered about the technician at the drugstore, by no means imagined about the grocery shop worker, never ever believed about what that firefighter has to do when they go in.  They really don’t inquire, “Do you have COVID or not?”  In no way assumed about the people who preserve this country up and functioning prior to. 

I definitely indicate this sincerely.  It’s not a — it’s not a political — it’s a reality. 

And I consider folks went, “Whoa, whoa.”  And alternatively of — which was a excellent matter — banging pots and pans when men and women arrived back from rescuing other individuals, I think they began to notice, “You know, this is aspect of the offer.”  And to use my dad’s expression — and I suggest it sincerely — and some — a number of of you realized my father — he mentioned, “Everyone is entitled to be taken care of with dignity.”  And that’s what the labor union is all about: dignity.  It supplies dignity for persons who ought to have to be handled in different ways. 

And I want to thank Jocelyn, and I want to thank President Shuler — Madam President.  And I know you did not anticipate to be in this function at this instant, but as I advised you ahead of, I imagine that the long term of American labor is in pretty good arms.  I actually mean it.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And I want to welcome absolutely everyone to the White Home.  And I seriously indicate that.  This is your household.  It is not hyperbole.  It is a truth.  This is your household.  I wouldn’t be here without you.  That is, once more, not hyperbole. 

In my White Property, you are going to generally be welcome.  You will normally be welcome.  Labor will often be welcome.  You know, you’ve listened to me say quite a few times: I intend to be the most pro-union President major the most professional-union administration in American background. 

But I think a person of the motives I’m equipped to do that is the public is switching, far too.  You have altered the public you’ve educated them a good deal.

I want to thank the dues-having to pay members of the Laborers, Marty — (laughs) — Marty Walsh, who’s supporting make certain that we maintain the commitments throughout our entire governing administration. 

And just before I go any further more, I’d like to pause for a minute of silence to honor the hundreds of union staff and crucial staff who have died from COVID-19 and to honor a buddy, John Sweeney, who we missing previously this 12 months, and to honor a truly expensive mate, Rich Trumka. 

A minute of silence, be sure to.

(A second of silence is noticed.)

Thank you.  This is serious. 

One particular of the points I admired about Abundant is that he understood what people today in this economy are seriously experiencing.  He, like most of you, felt it in his bones.  He recognized what had took place to personnel in this region, like you do.  I’ve got to know a whole lot of you actually, really properly.  You just truly feel it.  You flavor it.  You comprehend it.

I — I get kidded by my personnel for — all these years, and I say: I believe in the individual most who comes at the appropriate conclusion when it begins in their gut, it goes to their coronary heart, and then they have the skill to articulate it simply because they — it goes to the brain.  They are the ones that hardly ever again down.  They are the ones that stay with you. 

The ones who get there at it intellectually are the kinds that are the kinds who very first — I welcome that, but they are not the types who remain to the close. 

And, you know, Wealthy recognized the earlier and the problems, like so several of you who lived and led as a result of these moments.  But he also recognized the long term.  I feel he recognized who designed this region and the tools that were necessary to — to establish it again and develop it again much better. 

You have read me say it a hundred instances: We’re the only nation in the environment that goes into a crisis and, when we appear out of it, we’re more robust than in advance of we went in it.  That’s by creating again better.

We’re likely to build again better.  We have to.  We need to.  We will.  Because that’s who we are.  That is what The us is. 

On Labor Working day, we honor the dignity of the American worker.  And each individual working day, we remember that The us wasn’t designed by Wall Avenue.  They’re not all lousy individuals out on Wall Avenue.  I’m not suggesting that.  But they didn’t build The usa.  It was built by the center class, and unions constructed the center class.  (Applause.)

You gave — you gave workers a voice, all the way again from my Wonderful-grandfather Blewitt who was a mining engineer, back again in the days of the Molly Maguires and all the way — and people who were taken care of in northeast Pennsylvania, in the coalmines.  You gave folks a voice.  Molly Maguires was — they — they ended up a little harder.  (Laughter.)  You gave them a tough time, and you ended up on the doorstep, in a bag.

But, you know, think about it: What are the primary items — my father employed to say, “You know, we just assumed it would give people today means to just be capable to get a deep breath, have a tiny bit of respiration place.” 

And what — what are those matters?  Perfectly, healthcare a pension, God keen increased wages and a safer office and protections towards discrimination and harassment.  That is not asking much too substantially. 

We essentially remodeled how we dwell and how we perform in this country.  The motive we have is for the reason that of the victories won by labor.  I’m likely to be a bit repetitive: the 8-hour working day the weekend you know, time and a half for overtime basic safety requirements sick times — victories for all of us.  Mainly because, I may add, you know, I found when you all do that, every person gains — (laughter) — no matter if they belong to a union or not.  (Applause.)  Irrespective of whether they belong to a union or not. 

When unions get, workers across the board get.  That is a simple fact. People earn, local community wins, The usa wins.  We develop.  And regardless of this, workers have been obtaining minimize out of the deal for also lengthy a time. 

You know, from 1948, right after the war, to 1979, productiveness in The us greater by more than 100 per cent when the shell out for American workers grew by approximately 100 p.c. 

And then along arrived 1979, and every little thing began to adjust.  Productivity in the country has grown pretty much 4 occasions more rapidly than pay out considering that 1979.  That means the staff have been offering a lot a lot more to their employers’ bottom lines than they’ve gotten back again in their paychecks, breaking the fundamental deal of this nation.   The deal was: If you get the job done tricky and you add to the welfare of the outfit you operate with, you received to share in the positive aspects.

Nicely, that stopped for a long time.  So, you can carve out your piece of the middle course and make it a likelihood.  That’s what acquired taken absent for a lot of people.

As an alternative, some people started viewing the inventory market place and corporate earnings and govt fork out as the only measure for economic expansion. 

By the way, the stock market has long gone up exponentially considering the fact that I’ve been President.  You haven’t heard me say a term about it.  (Laughter.)   I’m glad it’s long gone up.  No issue.

But, look, allow me tell you anything: My measure of financial results is how people, like mine developing up — functioning families busting their neck — how they are doing irrespective of whether they have a little breathing area irrespective of whether they have a occupation that provides some dignity, a paycheck they can aid a family members on. 

In an economy — you know, in the economy my administration is constructing, instead of staff competing with each and every other for the positions that are scarce, everyone is mad at me mainly because now — guess what? — employers are competing to entice employees, possessing to increase pay back.  (Applause.)

No, I’m major.  Imagine about it.  That type of competition in the current market aids workers get paid greater wages.  It also provides them the energy to demand from customers dignity and regard in the place of work.

Just place, employee power is critical to making our economic system again better than ahead of — it is just that fundamental — to counter company ability, to improve the overall economy from the base up and the middle out.  I’m so tired of trickle-down. 

I inquire, “When has the middle course finished superior that the wealthy haven’t completed exceptionally well?”  I can’t feel of a time that all the- — when the center class is booming and relocating, every person does well. 

And to give workers even much more electricity, I also signed an govt get to increase opposition in the overall economy, together with calling for a ban on non-compete agreements that deny workers the correct to modify the job in the similar industry, even when there’s no true purpose for a business to cease them.  It was all about suppressing wages.  That is what it was about. 

In Congress — when Congress passed the 1935 Labor Relations Act, it didn’t just say you can have unions — it must be authorized.  That is how it is form of viewed for a extensive time.  It reported that we, the authorities, must encourage unions and collective bargaining, generating it easier.  (Applause.)  Which is what it stated.

And I feel every employee really should have a totally free and truthful choice to be a part of a union.  The legislation assures that decision.  That belongs to staff, not to their businesses or to specific pursuits. 

That’s why I signed an executive purchase making a White Home Activity Pressure on Employee Organizing and Work [Empowerment]: to facilitate that alternative when and wherever we can. 

Search, I want to thank Vice President Harris and Secretary Walsh — Marty — for main that job force.  That is why I want to see Congress move the Pro Act and deliver it to my desk quickly.  Which is why I want us to lengthen arranging and collective bargaining legal rights to point out and local govt staff, like transit staff, initial responders, health care personnel, and other critical employees.  And guess what?  The general public appears to concur with that as effectively.

Federal government ought to never be a barrier to personnel arranging.  It is government’s career to take away those barriers.  But it’s up to employees to make the alternative no matter whether to arrange or not, whether to sort a union or not.  And we will need to aid them understand why that can be the right choice for them.

We know the economic reasons: Union users get greater wages, better gains, like well being insurance and paid out go away, protections against discrimination and harassment, and a safer and much healthier workplace.

But there is one more motive — a simple American motive.  Workers who sign up for unions acquire energy — power more than the selections and the final decision-makers that impact their life.  Workers’ voices are read and heeded.  In a simple term, a union means there is democracy.  Democracy.  Arranging, becoming a member of a union — that’s democracy in action.

And it is about dignity on the work.  But it is also about producing very good jobs.

When I arrived to workplace, our very first position was to prevent the economic bleeding, and it was the worst bleeding due to the fact Roosevelt.

We handed the American Rescue Strategy.  That delivered pictures in arms and checks in pockets, and offered that further breathing space for doing work households.

It aided point out and towns preserve necessary employees on the career, which includes educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, sanitation personnel.

And thanks to the section of the Rescue Strategy named for Ohio labor chief Butch Lewis, in excess of a million retirees and workers throughout the place — (applause) — they can belief that the pensions they worked for and sacrificed to secure will be there for them.  (Applause.)

You know, and with the bipartisan arrangement we’ve achieved to rebuild America’s infrastructure, we’re heading to be placing hundreds of 1000’s of persons to do the job, like plumbers, pipefitters, electrical personnel, metal workers, so several other union personnel — modernizing roads, bridges, drinking water systems, broadband techniques capping deserted oil and gasoline wells that are leaking — above 100,000 of them — earning the same salary as digging that well.

It results in jobs for American workers and tends to make our cities and towns extra resilient and greater capable to meet up with the local weather disaster.

And to continue to keep those work below at dwelling, when your federal government spends the taxpayer’s dollar, it’s heading to purchasing American products built in America, by American workers.  (Applause.)

Look, more than the years, the Buy The us[n] Act grew to become a hollow promise.  It’s been there for a prolonged time.  I’m heading to make it a truth.

The following cease — the next stop is dealing with the potential to — to go the relaxation of my Develop Back Far better agenda — as soon as-in-a-technology investments in our people, building housing far more inexpensive bringing down the charge of prescription prescription drugs by supplying Medicare the energy to negotiate for reduce costs — and you should to thank Bernie Sanders for a ton of this.  (Applause.)  Producing eldercare and childcare a lot more cost-effective whilst enhancing the spend for homecare workers and childcare employees.  Furnishing compensated household and healthcare depart so that no employee is forced to pick out in between their task and their caregiving obligations.  (Applause.)

You’ve all fought for all these points.  We received to make them offered to just about every — supply two several years of cost-free, university [universal], superior-excellent pre-K, and significant-top quality pre-K — two decades that are desired.

It shows that if you mail a child to college at age three, four, and five, they improve by 56 per cent the chance they’ll — no issue what the track record — that they’ll go through school all 12 years and do perfectly.

And when I questioned — you know, in the Obama administration, I was asked to come across out from the CEOs of the Fortune 500 what they most preferred, what they most essential, what was their best issue.  And in excess of — I feel it was — don’t hold me to the correct range — 348 or -47 I can’t bear in mind the variety we received to — stated the single-most important point is they required a far better-educated community. 

But guess what?  They weren’t paying for it.  (Laughter.)  And guess what?  Does anybody feel if we were beginning off from scratch, environment up general public education and learning, we’d say 12 a long time was enough for the 21st century?

So, appear, we have to devote in high-top quality career instruction and apprenticeships in speedy-rising sectors compete to give center-course people a well-deserved tax minimize for daycare and health care and give a sizeable monthly tax lower for operating families with young children.  Which is what it is. 

Every person talks about my Child Tax Credit history it is a tax cut for regular individuals.  (Applause.)  Which is what it is.

And as section of that, I want us to see us at last — at last — provide DREAMers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, essential employees a pathway to citizenship, bringing them out of the shadows so they can acquire the defense and representation that our guidelines and our unions supply.  (Applause.)

People, we’re making development.  Our economy has extra 750,000 jobs a thirty day period on regular throughout the previous 3 months given that I have been below.  Above — there are far more than 4 million jobs since I took workplace.

In the first half of this year, our overall economy grew quickly — at a fastest charge in 40 decades.  Unemployment is down. 

My Construct Again Far better investments are heading to permit us to continue to keep and progress and transfer further in the decades to come.

I just want to incorporate 1 extra assumed in closing.

Although the pandemic has prevented me from touring as substantially as I’d like, I have experienced a likelihood to meet up with with numerous of your brothers and sisters and lots of of you: the happy UAW users constructing cars and trucks in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and noting that the mai- — the Huge A few have made a decision that, alongside with the assist of people unions, they are setting up — going electrical, so we individual that current market. 

Steelworkers in Portsmouth, Virginia.  I have satisfied with longshoremen and firefighters in Columbus.  AFSCME employees in Allentown.  IBEW staff and ironworkers and nurses and grocery retail outlet personnel in Cincinnati.  Plumbers and — and gasfitters in Maryland.  AFT teachers in Virginia.

And — and, by the way, of class I snooze with an NEA member every night.  Same a single.  (Laughter and applause.)  Very same one.

Jill experienced her 1st working day of complete-time educating yesterday, this 12 months.  She’s back again to faculty. 

And, glance, I have talked with union transit staff, machinists, laborers, and welders in Wisconsin.  We’ve had Teamsters right here in the White Property.  And constantly — the Teamsters normally have my again.  And, very last week, I achieved with the initial responders in New Orleans.  And on Monday, I dropped by some of the IBEW linemen in Delaware assisting recuperate from Hurricane Ida. 

You know, and the — the last calendar year has taught us nearly anything, it is what is crucial.  And what is important is you.  Not a joke.  You and your union members. 

Wall Avenue could go on strike, but if, all of a unexpected, the middle of this cont- — this Ida, each and every IBEW member resigned, we’d be in true hassle.

I say that to make a generic issue.  I assume we noticeably undervalue — and I assume even you fellas often undervalue — the incredible price you carry to the security, safety, and progress of the economy.  You know, you are America’s coronary heart and you’re America’s soul. 

And we all want to combat as difficult for them and do the job as tough for them as we can. 

And I want to say, the press was very, quite — not just the press — a large amount of people today ended up pretty, very skeptical that when I was speaking about we experienced to offer with the environment, that labor would never support. 

Very well, guess what?  Labor is the reason it’s performing.  Labor stepped up.  For the reason that they — you all fully grasp.  And I made a assure, and I’ll hold it — that what we’re speaking about below is: When you consider of worldwide warming, you think of jobs —  work — all the careers we’re heading to develop — creating us, the moment once more, the quickest-rising — we are now — the most aggressive economic system in the globe.

So, people, you do it all.  I’m sorry to go on so very long, but I just cannot — I cannot thank you more than enough for all you have accomplished for the country and what you have completed for me above my profession.  You’ve educated me.  You brought me along.  And you’ve — you have often been there.

Now, I’m meant to halt and stroll out of the place below.  (Laughter.)  I’m going to halt.  But with your authorization, I’m going to wander into the home because I want to say howdy to all of you. 

Thank you.  (Applause.) 

12:21 P.M. EDT