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Trumka unveils Workers First Agenda; reiterates call for Trump’s removal

The following is from the AFL-CIO:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 12, 2021) — On Tuesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka introduced the Workers First Agenda to fight back against COVID-19 and build an economy that puts more power and prosperity into the hands of working people. He also discussed the role the labor movement has in preserving democracy after last week’s riot incited by President Trump.

“At the center of this agenda is the PRO Act—Protecting the Right to Organize,” Trumka said. “This worker empowerment legislation would allow millions to freely and fairly form a union. So we can raise wages and expand health care. So we can make workplaces safer and retirement more secure. So we can expand opportunities for women, immigrants, people of color and the LGBTQ community. The PRO Act is more than labor law reform legislation. It’s an economic stimulus bill. It’s a civil rights package.

“That is why workers’ safety is another priority of our agenda,” he added. “We will never get this pandemic under control if we cannot protect working people. That starts with emergency COVID-19 OSHA and MSHA standards so we can protect workers from this virus.”

The Workers First Agenda (download PDF) includes:


Because stronger unions are essential to addressing the multiple crises facing America, we will urge the new administration to have a plan ready on Day One to enact the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act; create an interagency task force on collective bargaining; and rescind executive orders undermining collective bargaining.


The most immediate focus of 2021 will be bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control, starting by guaranteeing access for all workers to free vaccines and rapid testing; issuing emergency COVID-19 standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration; signing an executive order under the Defense Production Act to ensure adequate supply of personal protective equipment; and ensuring paid sick days, paid family leave and child care for all workers.


The first order of legislative business in 2021 will be the next COVID-19 bill, which must include $1 trillion in flexible grants for state and local governments. But we must begin now to focus on “building back better,” starting with a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package and federal labor standards and domestic sourcing requirements for clean energy projects. Other priorities for promoting good jobs include rescinding the Trump Labor Department’s anti-worker regulations; raising labor standards for all jobs supported by federal funding; eradicating workplace discrimination; reforming Wall Street; making the global economy work for working people; building a more just immigration system; increasing public investment; and making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes.


The racial justice crisis is intimately connected to the ongoing public health and economic crises. We will urge the administration to appoint a “racial equity czar” to lead an interagency task force to survey and address the structural racial equity issues in jobs, health care, criminal justice and policing that have become more apparent during the ongoing COVID-19 crises. The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol also underscored the pressing need for racial justice and democracy reform.


We will urge Congress and the new administration to address America’s continuing economic security crisis by providing pension funding relief; increasing Social Security benefits across the board; reducing prescription drug prices; lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50; creating a public option; strengthening the Affordable Care Act; rebuilding the unemployment insurance system; and establishing postal banking.

Trumka also reiterated the AFL-CIO General Board’s call for President Donald Trump to resign or be removed from office at once.

“What happened at the Capitol was the result of many things,” Trumka said. “Economic and political systems failing to serve the majority of working people.The Electoral College being so arcane that a president and members of Congress thought they could manipulate the rules to steal an election. Fear. Hate. Disinformation. Conspiracies. And yes, white supremacy. If striking workers stormed the Capitol, tactical teams would have been deployed in seconds. And if people of color had crossed the barricades, a massacre would have followed.”

“That is why the AFL-CIO’s general board called on President Trump to resign or to be removed from office. He incited this insurrection. He pushed judges and lawmakers to overturn democratic election results.He knew exactly what he was doing. There was no voter fraud—we all know that. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz know that. Even Trump knows that. Trump is outraged because Black and Brown Americans voted, and their votes counted.”

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