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Union Leaders Say The $900 Billion Stimulus Is ‘Only A Step To Rescuing’ Workers

Published Tuesday, January 5, 2021
by Mark Gruenberg/People’s World
Union Leaders Say The $900 Billion Stimulus Is ‘Only A Step To Rescuing’ Workers

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The $900 billion Stimulus Law Congress passed and bitter GOP Oval Office occupant Donald Trump reluctantly signed has both good news and bad news for Workers and their families whose lives have been physically and financially smashed by the Coronavirus Pandemic and subsequent shutdowns and economic depression used to fight it.

And Union Leaders greeted ultimate approval of the measure with a “Yes, but…” attitude, saying it was fine as far as it went - but that it didn’t go far enough.

Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden said much the same thing.

Biden backed this Bill’s passage after the Senate’s ruling Republicans and Trump adamantly refused to even consider larger measures, the more Pro-Worker Heroes Act, which the Democratic-run House passed twice.

Biden backed the Heroes Act, too - but Biden also made clear that once he takes over on at noon on January 20th, he’ll send a new, bigger Economic Stimulus Package to Capitol Hill.

“I have said all along this bill is just a first step - a down payment - on addressing the crisis.  There’s a lot more work to do.  Early next year I will put before the Congress my plans for what comes next,” he told a late-December press conference.

In the meantime, Workers and their families, both Union and Non-Union, are having to live with what lawmakers wrought in the waning days of December.

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s statement, which was made before Trump signed the measure on the night of December 27th, was typical: “Millions of Americans are sick with this virus, have depleted life savings to stay afloat or are suffering economic hardship through no fault of our own (so) we are pleased a relief deal is finally on its way to the President’s desk.  It will put money in people’s pockets, keep Transportation Workers on the job and bolster housing, health care and food assistance.  It’s an important step as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to wage a long overdue national fight against this virus.  But this package should’ve been so much more.”

Trumka also took another shot at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) for holding aid hostage to his demand to exempt corporations who don’t protect Workers or customers from the Coronavirus from being sued, not just under Coronavirus Relief Acts - but Labor Laws too.

“McConnell’s delay tactics meant to protect corporations whose negligence led to thousands of deaths is despicable.  His decision to block state and local aid is an insult to the Public Service Workers who make America go.  It will only lead to more layoffs as well as slower emergency response times, higher patient ratios, dirtier streets and overcrowded prisons,” Trumka said.

So did Teamsters President Jim Hoffa: “We have seen many employers put profits over people until compelled in court to do the right thing.  That said, the Teamsters continue to be disappointed lawmakers could not approve a broader package that would address additional needs of Workers and State and Local Governments.”

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