Striking CWA Member Attends State of the Union, Joe Biden Doubles Down on Support for Workers
James “Hutchie” VanLandingham, a CWA member who has been on strike from his job as a mailer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette since early October, attended President Biden’s second State of the Union address as the guest of Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania Chris Deluzio. VanLandingham is a third-generation employee of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and has worked as a mailer at the Post-Gazette for 28 years. “I am here to tell the millionaire Block Family that we are not backing down, and that we are bringing our strike to the highest level,” said VanLandingham. Congressman Deluzio reiterated the significance of Hutchie’s attendance as a show of solidarity for the Post-Gazette workers, whose strike is stretching into its fourth month. “His story is one about hard work and how a union job can uplift and be a source of pride for families. It is also a story about how a company’s owners, despite generations of worker loyalty to that newspaper, have put their greed and lust for profits above all else,” said Deluzio.
“As my Dad used to say, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect,” said President Biden, near the beginning of his second State of the Union address. Calling on Congress to take action to fix our broken labor laws and ensure that every worker must have a free and fair choice to organize or join a union, Biden added, “I’m so sick and tired of companies breaking the law by preventing workers from organizing. Pass the PRO Act because workers have a right to form a union. And let’s guarantee all workers a living wage.”
He reviewed his administration's major accomplishments in the last two years, including legislative victories that directly impact CWA members such as the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. He highlighted his administration’s success in expanding Medicare access, bringing down prescription drug costs, and capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare and called on Congress to “finish the job” and cap the cost of insulin for every American who needs it.
Biden also made a strong case for corporations and wealthy Americans to pay their fair share in taxes. He was firm in his commitment to block any attempt to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.
CWA members have been actively mobilizing to help advance the President’s agenda on creating jobs through investment in our country’s infrastructure and empowering workers. As many of the federal pieces of legislation continue to be implemented, we will continue to mobilize to ensure that state and local governments are using the funds as intended, to create more good union jobs. Read CWA’s statement here.