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Working families deserve a leader who will focus on “we, the people,” not just on the person they see in the mirror. Only Vice President Joe Biden can be that president. I’ve known Joe for 40 years. He loves his family, loves working people and loves our country. His “Made in America” plan will revitalize America's manufacturing in a way Trump never could. Biden doesn’t only have the best plan to beat the virus and help workers recover financially—he is the only candidate for president with a plan at all. And with a Biden administration, we’ll finally pass the PRO Act, allowing workers to join a union freely and fairly.
Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Bradleys live. Those inequities became painfully apparent when Ms. Bradley, who is Black, was wheeled through the emergency room. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.

This month’s historic Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ employees are protected in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was another step forward in the march for equality. While there is much to celebrate, this ruling comes as our nation is suffering from centuries-old systemic racism and grieving its latest victims. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life.

Race-neutral policies simply will not address the depth of disadvantage faced by people this country once believed were chattel. Financial restitution cannot end racism, of course, but it can certainly mitigate racism’s most devastating effects. If we do nothing, black Americans may never recover from this pandemic, and they will certainly never know the equality the nation has promised.

Read the full article in The New York Times Magazine.

America is suffering under the crushing weight of three crises, which are a public health pandemic, an economic free fall, and structural racism. They are knotted together in that untangling one depends on how we untangle the others. For instance, structural racism is deeply ingrained in the share of black workers unemployed and dying from the coronavirus. Today, thousands of working people across the country will join together in a national day of action called the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has demanded an investigation from Facebook and a public apology from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after an online presentation touted the ability of employers to block the word "unionize" on the company's Workplace platform. "Blacklisting is illegal. Employers censoring their employees' speech about unionizing is illegal," Trumka, the leader of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., tweeted on Friday.

"We are very disappointed that three judges did not deem the lives of America’s workers worthy of holding an argument or issuing a full opinion," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a statement responding to the decision. "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s post-it length response to our petition acknowledges the 'unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic' but repeats the false claim by Big Business that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration already has done what is needed to protect workers," he added.

The ruling came as demonstrations continued Thursday in both Matamoros and Mexico City demanding the release of Susan Prieto, who faces charges that include inciting riot, threats and coercion. Her case has drawn attention beyond Mexico, including a call for her release issued Wednesday by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Wednesday. “Susana Prieto is a fierce advocate whose tireless advocacy on behalf of workers in Mexico’s maquiladoras has made her a thorn in the side of powerful companies and corrupt officials,” Trumka wrote.

In early January, before most people in the U.S. had even heard of Covid-19, Bonnie Castillo called a meeting with two trusted health care deputies at the country’s largest union of registered nurses. Castillo was alarmed by news reports about how a virus — so mysterious it didn’t yet have a name — was ravaging Wuhan, China, and asked the union’s director of health and safety and its industrial hygienist to go through some scientific reports. As she listened, Castillo, the executive director of National Nurses United and a former intensive care nurse, grew worried.