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Workers First Agenda: AFL-CIO applauds Biden’s Day 1 actions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 21, 2021) — As America celebrated the peaceful transfer of power and the inaugurations of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States, the AFL-CIO redoubled its push for Workers First Agenda that aims to transform the lives of America’s working people through bold, structural change.

The Workers First Agenda starts with five priorities: Worker Empowerment including passage of the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act; Worker Safety and the Pandemic including emergency COVID-19 standards from OSHA; Good Jobs and Public Investment including immediate aid to state and local governments and a multi-trillion infrastructure investment; Racial Justice and Democracy including addressing the structural racial equity issues in jobs, health care, criminal justice and policing; and Economic Security including pension funding relief, increasing Social Security benefits and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50. Learn more about the Workers First Agenda.

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Meanwhile, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following two statements Wednesday in response to the Biden administration’s Day 1 actions to reshape and reform America’s broken immigration system and to fire anti-worker National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Peter Robb:

We welcome President Biden’s actions to reverse the Trump administration’s cruel, racist and divisive immigration policies and introduce constructive, inclusive alternatives. These essential steps will help to heal our country, empower workers, and build a stronger democracy and economy. Our Workers First Agenda is about all of us, with no exclusions, because the real recovery working families need, expect and deserve is impossible without equity.

America’s unions are committed to rebuilding the safety net and the ladders of opportunity for everyone who lives and works here, and we cannot do that without reforming our immigration system. The president has laid out a bold legislative framework that will reset the immigration debate. Its centerpiece is a broad, inclusive pathway to citizenship that will help to raise standards for all workers and correct the unjust treatment of essential workers—and as such should be considered a core component of our economic recovery package.

We applaud the administration for taking immediate and decisive executive action to protect workers’ status, reunite families, end discriminatory exclusions, and halt the enforcement practices that have bred fear in our workplaces and communities.

It will take time to fully address the harm built up over decades of enforcement-only immigration approaches, but these actions represent a strong start. Working people across America will continue to mobilize in support of urgently needed immigration reforms alongside other important pro-worker legislation like the PRO Act.


In his first hours in office, President Joe Biden has taken immediate action to secure the rights and protect the well-being of America’s working families by removing Peter Robb as NLRB general counsel. A union-busting lawyer by trade, Robb mounted an unrelenting attack for more than three years on workers’ right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. His actions sought to stymie the tens of millions of workers who say they would vote to join a union today and violated the stated purpose of the National Labor Relations Act—to encourage collective bargaining. Robb’s removal is the first step toward giving workers a fair shot again, and we look forward to building on this victory by securing a worker-friendly NLRB and passing the PRO Act so all working people have the freedom to form a union.

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