By CWA President Chris Shelton
Labor Day traditionally marks the homestretch of election season. As we race toward November 3rd, working people have more at stake than ever before.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Donald Trump as a total fraud. Day after day during this crisis, he's bungled the basic functions of leading this country. He's refused to listen to medical experts and has failed to address the coronavirus crisis, causing many unnecessary deaths and making it harder for our nation's economy to recover. And he is blocking actions in Congress that could help many working families and small businesses get through the crisis.
While in office, he's secured tax breaks for his billionaire buddies and for corporations that move jobs overseas, and totally deserted working people. He's put a union-busting lawyer in charge of the Labor Department, gutted workers' rights, and now he wants to make sure companies can't face any sort of legal consequences for exposing their workers to COVID-19.
Trump has absolutely no moral compass, no compassion for people who are struggling, and no interest in actually rolling up his sleeves to solve the problems our nation is facing. While millions of underpaid frontline workers are pleading with him to take basic actions to save their jobs and save their lives, Trump is picking fights with his critics on Twitter and fanning the flames of hatred and division in our country.
This crisis has made it abundantly clear: Donald Trump is destroying our country. If working people want our nation to recover from this crisis, we must do every single thing we can to elect Joe Biden in November to be the next President of the United States.
If there's one quality that Trump utterly lacks, it's compassion. And that's where Joe Biden shines in comparison. From the actions he's taken during his long career in the U.S. Senate and as Vice President, we know that Biden truly cares about working people. And unlike all the broken promises Trump made to working people when he was running for office, it's not just lip service to win votes.
Biden will combat the coronavirus pandemic by ensuring that public health decisions are made by public health professionals – not politicians. He supports requiring employers to provide paid leave so that workers don't have to choose between their job and staying healthy or caring for sick relatives, and not just during the current crisis, but permanently. As millions of people find their livelihoods at stake, Biden – hopefully with the help of a Democratic U.S. Senate – will work with Congress to pass crucial COVID-19 relief to provide funding to keep workers on the payroll and expand access to paid leave and unemployment benefits.
When Joe says that we must "build back better" to recover from the pandemic, it's clear that for him, better means ensuring that workers are able to join unions and have a say in their working conditions. He knows that unions built the middle class and are necessary to address the inequalities created by an economy that follows the whims of Wall Street instead of serving the needs of working families.
He's ready to undo the damage of the corporate tax cuts that Mitch McConnell and Trump cooked up. Look at what happened at AT&T, which used to boast about being one of the largest majority union employers in the United States and take pride in providing universal telecommunications service to Americans. AT&T got a $20 billion windfall from the corporate tax cut bill and proceeded to cut tens of thousands of good union jobs. The company has reduced its broadband buildout and cut workers who install, repair, and maintain the wireline connections that have been critical for public services, schools, businesses, and our communities during the pandemic.
A Biden administration will invest in infrastructure – including broadband – and make sure the jobs created by those investments pay union wages. It will ban corporations from using taxpayer money to artificially inflate stock prices through buybacks. And Biden will make sure that all workers – including those at AT&T – have a fair opportunity to join a union.
On Labor Day, as working people, we must decide what we want for our future. And if we want to end Trump's ego-driven chaos, we must dedicate everything we have to electing Joe Biden and Democrats in the Senate in the fall.