WASHINGTON D.C. — During his campaign, President Joe Biden promised to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” Following his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, he wasted no time making good on that commitment. In his first hours as President, Joe Biden prioritized the needs of working families through the following actions:
- Appointing worker safety expert and former Steelworker Jim Frederick to head OSHA and reversing the Trump Administration’s trend of fewer inspections, more workplace casualties, and pennies-on-the-dollar fines for bad actors
- Removing the union-busting National Labor Relations Board General Council Peter Robb, who sought to erode worker power and rig the system in favor of big business. And naming Lauren McFerran, an advocate for streamlining the union recognition process, as the new chair
- Ramping up vaccinations through FEMA and National Guard assistance with the audacious goal of creating 100 new vaccination venues within the next month
- Helping to protect workers from COVID-19 by directing OSHA to immediately release specific guidelines for employers to keep workers safe
- Protecting families from homelessness with a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for 60 days, thus bringing a sigh of relief for the 19% of renters and homeowners who are behind on payments
- Restoring respect and dignity in the workplace for our LGBTQ kin so that they can live without fear of persecution by outlawing discrimination in the workplace as well as in housing.
President Biden has also proposed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, as his first legislative priority and said that a larger recovery package will follow. In addition to including a plan and funding to take on the virus, the proposal calls for:
- Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000 following December’s $600 payments
- Increasing the federal weekly unemployment supplement to $400 and extending it through the end of September
- COBRA health care subsidies though the end of September
- Expanded paid leave
- Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
- $350 billion in state and local government aid.
IATSE supports this proposal and is working with Congress to see it enacted.
These policy changes serve to make significant strides in the right direction for working-class Americans. We trust that this will set the tone for future initiatives undertaken by the Biden Administration.