New administration prepared to lead nation out of dark times
By Deliana Speights, Secretary-Treasurer
It’s hard to fully appreciate the difference a new administration has made in what has been, at least until now, the winter of America’s discontent.
In his inaugural speech at the Capitol on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden listed six crises that have darkened the country’s skies in these troubling times: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic inequality, racism, the devaluation of truth and democracy, and America’s loss of standing in the world.
To his credit, our new president is moving forward on all of these fronts, as he quickly demonstrated beginning on his first day of office. For example, he appointed a “czar” to manage the nation’s vaccine distributions — someone who reports directly to him. He ordered all federal agencies and interstate travel companies to enforce COVID-19 safety rules. He has sent a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package to Congress.
All of these measures and more will help relieve the stress and pain currently endured by frontline workers, including millions of UFCW members.
It is comforting to have a president who cares more about the welfare of America’s working families than the bank accounts of the richest corporations and individuals in the land.
This priority is nowhere more evident than in President Biden’s selection of Martin “Marty” Walsh, mayor of Boston, as Secretary of Labor.
From the time he joined the Laborers Union when he was 21 years old, Walsh never stopped pushing for legislation to protect collective bargaining rights and empower more people to improve their lives by joining unions.
It is about time, after four years of anti-worker policies, for the Labor Department to be led by someone who sympathizes with those who perform labor at least as much as those who profit from it.
PRO Act and NLRB
In addition, President Biden supports the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize Act), which was introduced in Congress. This legislation is all about empowering workers to organize and bargain and holding corporations accountable for union-busting.
Among other things, the PRO Act would ban state “right to work” laws, which were created during the Jim Crow era to keep White and Black workers from unionizing together.
Biden also made critical changes at the National Labor Relations Board. Within hours of taking office, Biden fired Peter Robb as general counsel of the NLRB after Robb refused to resign early a year before his term expired. Alice Stock, Robb’s No. 2 who had been installed as acting general counsel, was also out of a job by the end of the week.
There is no doubt that our country remains mired in miseries inflicted, both by action and inaction, by the previous administration. But it is comforting to know we have good people in charge of ushering in the American spirit that is sure to come.
Deliana can be reached at: 909-626-3333 ext. 226 firstname.lastname@example.org
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