IBEW Monthly Political Newsletter Feb 2021

Building America Back Better

Biden's Agenda is Working for the IBEW

How President Bidens actions benefit working families and IBEW members

Finally, a Union Member as Labor Secretary

            For the first time in 50 years, the Department of Labor will be headed by a dues-paying, card-carrying union member: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.“Walsh understands that good jobs, collective bargaining rights, and a fair playing field for working families are integral to a strong middle class. As someone who’s served as both a union member and a lawmaker, Mayor Walsh brings the right kind of experience to the Labor Department,” said IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson. Walsh replaces Trump pick Eugene Scalia, who personally blocked a safety standard for infectious disease during the COVID-19 pandemic and spent his career eroding labor rights and advancing corporate interests.

Sweeping Out Vicious Union Buster on Day 1

            On his first day in office, President Biden fired NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb.“Peter Robb has been a union-buster for 40 years,” President Stephenson said. “In private practice, he viciously derailed organizing drives, including one of ours.”Robb, who was installed by the Trump administration in 2017, instigated many of the Republican-led NLRB’s attacks on workers’ rights, safety and economic security.

Investing in Americas Manufacturing Workers, Companies

            In one of his first acts in office, President Biden ordered the federal government to spend taxpayer dollars on American made goods by American workers. The move fulfills President Biden’s promise to make Buy American real andclose loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while qualifying for domestic preferences. These investments will help create well-paid, union jobs and support the manufacturing capabilities and technology needed to build a clean energy future and strengthen domestic national security.

Bringing Pro-Worker Policy to the Treasury

             Labor economist Janet Yellen is the first female secretary of the Treasury Department. She served as head of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers in the late 1990s and was chairman of the Fed from 2014 to 2018, where she helped to shore up the economy by prioritizing jobs and wages following the Great Recession. “We have to rebuild our economy so that it creates more prosperity, for more people, and ensures that American workers can compete in an increasingly competitive global economy,” Yellen said during her confirmation hearing.

Installing Union Members in Key Jobs

             The IBEW benefits when IBEW members serve in influential leadership roles. Ask President Stephenson, who served as a trusted advisor to President-elect Biden on his transition committee. Here are some important union appointments:

             Jennifer Kropke, Director of Energy Jobs, U.S. Department of Energy

Los Angeles Local 11 member Jennifer Kropke, the first Director of Workforce and Environmental Engagement for Local 11 and the National Electrical Contractors’ Association-Los Angeles’ Labor Management Cooperation Committee where she helped create clean energy opportunities for union members.

            Jessica Looman, Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor

Minnesota Department of Commerce commissioner Jessica Looman previously served as deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, general counsel for the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota and executive director of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Respecting Federal Workers (not Trashing Them)

            This quotes from an executive order issued hours after Biden took office: “It is the policy of the United States to protect, empower, and rebuild the career federal workforce. It is also the policy of the United States to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining. The Federal Government should serve as a model employer. ”With his signature, Biden cancelled previous orders by former President Trump to gut federal employee unions and strip workers of their civil service protections, restoring collective bargaining rights to federal workers.

Prioritizing Worker Health and Safety Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

            President Biden issued a suite of orders to ensure that workers are protected from COVID-19 infection on the job, directing OSHA to issue stronger guidance to protect public employees and enforce COVID-19 violations.

Harnessing Innovation for a Cleaner Future

            Upon President Biden’s executive actions on climate change and clean energy on January 27, President Stephenson hailed them as a critical step to address the ongoing climate crisis and a massive investment in America’s energy infrastructure: “It ensures that all new energy jobs are good jobs by ordering federal agencies to strictly enforce federal prevailing wage law and encourage theuse of project labor agreements. “Across the nation, the power professionals of the IBEW are hard at work building the clean-energy economy of tomorrow. We know that addressing climate change can create good, middle-class jobs that rejuvenate communities across the United States. It is proof that cutting carbon and creating jobs do not need to be at odds with one another. We can succeed at both with the right leadership.”

Delivering COVID-19 Relief

            The Biden administration is proposing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The package accelerates COVID-19 vaccinations, reopens schools, extends unemployment insurance through September, invests $20 billion to help public transit agencies avoid layoffs and service disruptions, provides another $1,400 stimulus check, and reinstitutes paid family and medical leave, among other policies. Biden is urging Congress to pass this legislation in the next couple weeks.

IBEW: Preparing for the Future, Committing to Excellence

            Washington, D.C. Local 26 member Cary James was featured in this inauguration video. “We stand ready for the future, training our apprentices for the careers of tomorrow and instilling a commitment to excellence unparalleled in our industry.”

 

 

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