Day Three: Building the Movement to Meet the Moment
Message from President Liz Shuler
- We’re here in Philadelphia to talk about our future as a movement. And so much of what the future looks like is going to depend on what we do between now and Nov. 8, Election Day—and on what we do between now and Nov. 5, 2024.
- Elections have consequences, and they turn on the choices we make about mobilizing, organizing, getting out the vote.
- The conversations we have are how we drown out the Big Lie, and break down the barriers and find common ground in our lives. These conversations are going to lead to a stronger democracy in our workplaces and at the ballot box.
Biden Declares Unyielding Support for the Labor Movement as We Fight to Build an ‘Economy That Works for Working People’
“It’s good to be home,” President Biden began, as he took the stage at the AFL-CIO Convention.
He heralded labor’s fight to transform our economy, including winning passage of the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “The infrastructure law is about more than rebuilding our infrastructure, it’s about rebuilding the middle class,” Biden said. Delegates rose in applause as he called on Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which will allow more workers to have a voice on the job.
Biden also spoke about what his administration is doing to blunt the economic impact of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused gas and food prices to skyrocket in recent months. “When we work to bring down gas and food prices, we can save families’ money on other items,” he explained. “We can change the dynamic for working-class families” by expanding affordable child care and capping the price of insulin.
“We can do all this. All I’m asking is the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans to begin to pay their fair share of taxes,” he said. Biden pointed out that the tax rate on America’s workers is much higher than the effective tax rate on greedy corporations and billionaires.
And while anti-union senators propose to sunset Social Security and Medicare, and undermine the Affordable Care Act’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions, Biden made clear that he and the labor movement will always stand in their way. “We’re not going back to the false promise of trickle-down economics. We’re going forward.”
“We’re counting on you again to build this country for all of us,” the president told the assembled delegates. “I promise you, I’m going to keep fighting for you. Are you prepared to fight with me?”
The answer from workers in the hall was unanimous and in one collective voice: “Yes!”
Secretary-Treasurer Redmond Calls on Labor Movement to Save and Heal Democracy
On Tuesday, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond introduced professor Timothy Snyder, who gave our convention a teaching on how to fight and win against tyranny’s encroachment on democracy. Redmond asked us to learn from our history.
“This country’s founding fathers looked to ancient Greece and Rome for instructions on how to form a democracy,” he said, “and we must once again look to the past to save it.”
‘We Cannot Be Silent; We Cannot Be Still,’ Abrams Proclaims
Our opponents have waged an all-out assault on voting rights in Georgia, making it harder for working people to vote, and especially making it harder for Black and Brown workers to vote. Pro-labor Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ opponents are desperate to restrict the vote, but her campaign is fighting back—and our movement is right beside her in the fight for democracy.
“There are those who believe that the answer is protest and others who believe that the answer is voting. I believe in protesting at the ballot box,” Abrams said. “We can meet this moment, and we can make this moment ours. But we’ve got to believe we have the right to be.”
Voices of the Movement: Jeannette Bradshaw
Meet delegate Jeannette Bradshaw, secretary-treasurer of the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO and recording secretary of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 58. She reflected on the historic election of Liz Shuler and Fred Redmond to lead the AFL-CIO as our officers.
“We want program, we want action, we want messaging, we want to be out in our communities and talking to our members and making an impact,” Bradshaw said of her central labor council.
She also serves on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which is responsible for certifying statewide election results, including the certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory in the battleground state. The labor movement’s role in defending democracy is “100% key and vital,” and Bradshaw is organizing union members to be part of the elections process.
- ABC Action News: Biden Addresses Inflation During Philly Speech as Economists Predict Aggressive Interest Rate Hike
- CBS Philly: President Biden Addresses Economy, Gas Prices During Speech at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia
- People’s World: Labor’s 2022 election work to be driven from the bottom up
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