Even in times of struggle and disappointment, we see evidence of the power of unity in bringing good things to the American people.
Thanks in large part to a determined Labor Movement, our nation stands to benefit from two major packages of legislation, one of them already enacted.
The first is the American Rescue Plan, commonly called the COVID Stimulus Package, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11.
Many of our Union’s members have benefited already from this law, which, among other things, provides direct payments of $1,400 to individuals. It also extends a $300 weekly supplement to state unemployment benefits, provides billions for housing assistance, helps state and local governments continue providing essential services, and increases aid to education.
A victory for pensions
The American Rescue Plan also includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, a major victory for Americans who have earned a stable and secure retirement after decades of hard work.
Passage of this act culminates a long campaign by our Union working with our our allies to shore up many of the country’s endangered multiemployer pension plans. Among other things, it will provide Treasury loans to insolvent plans, allowing them to stabilize their finances and preserve retirement benefits for millions of people.
The Butch Lewis Act is an important accomplishment which does more than protect the hard-earned retirements of American workers. It also protects millions of businesses and governments which rely on pensioners’ spending to pay their bills.
The Butch Lewis Act would never have passed without the support of Unions. We have been active in defending and advocating for these changes for over a decade. It’s gratifying to see our tireless efforts are paying off and real consideration is being given to dignity in retirement.
Rebuilding the infrastructure
On the heels of Biden’s victory with the American Rescue Plan, the United States Senate is now considering his $2 trillion plan to repair and modernize America’s roads, bridges, electrical grids, water supplies and more.
While there still remains some haggling on the details, the outlook is promising for this legislation, which would improve our nation’s competitiveness, prepare the way for clean and renewable energy, and provide millions of good Union jobs in the process.
Here again, Unions have been the leading force in building a better, stronger and more just economy for America.
After decades of listening to rhetoric about “trickle down” and “supply side” economics — more accurately described as anti-Union laws and tax cuts for the rich — the nation is beginning to understand true economic growth comes from putting money in the pockets of average Americans.
A healthy economy works from the bottom up, not from the top down. When workers have the power to demand a fair share of the wealth they help create for their CEOs and shareholders, everyone will end up doing better.
The American Recovery Act and the American Jobs Plan are designed to achieve this all-important objective. And we have Unions to thank, yet again, for leading the way.