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tv   AFL-CIO President Talks About the Role of Unions  CSPAN  September 2, 2022 2:14pm-3:19pm EDT

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>> welcome to the national book festival. >> book tv has provided in-depth uninterrupted coverage of the national book festival featuring hundreds of nonfiction authors and guests. on saturday, but he beat returns live in person to the national book festival. all day long, you will hear from guests and authors the library of congress national book festival live saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. on c-span2. the afl-cio president talked about the role of unions. the christian science monitor held the hour-long discussion.
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>> alright, well, good morning everyy. i'm gonna call the meeting to order here. my name is mark trumbull and i'm the economy editor of the christian science monitor. uh welcome and especially welcome to our guest. today's guest is liz shuler of the a.f.l.c.i.o. she's the president of the labor federation and we're very glad to have you with us again as another labor day weekend rolls around. weekend rolls around. a little background, president schuler grew up in a union household. her father was a power lineman
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and longtime member of the electrical workers local 125 at portland general electric in oregon. her mother worked in the company's service and design department. ms. schuler attended the university of oregon and i might insert my own go ducks here, since that is the alma mater of my father-in-law. during college, ms. schuler worked summers at the electric company. i would say her life since then is testament that there can be a future for people who earn journalism degrees. after graduation, she returned to portland general electric to organize workers who were in nonunionized, clerical roles, like her mother. she then went on to lead other organizing efforts for the
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international brotherhood of electrical workers in both oregon and california. in 2000 nine she became the first woman to serve as afl-cio secretary-treasurer. the federation's number two official. and now she stands as the first woman to be elected president of the afl-cio in the organization's roughly 6060 year history. again, welcome. now, just some brief ground rules. we are on the record here. please, no live blogging or treating -- treating. no filing of any kind until the breakfast is over. once the session and set about 10:00, there is no embargo. we will email a rough transcript from this breakfast all reporters shortly after we conclude. as many of you know, if you
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would like to ask a question, you can send me a signal and i will call on you in order. now, president schuler, if you would like to make some brief opening remarks, we would welcome that. the floor is yours. >> for along time, my predecessor did this breakfast. it was my first or second week as president last year when i attended this breakfast. i was what they call, a deer in headlights. this year we are in a different place. i want to thank you for inviting me back. i want to thank all the working people in the room behind the scenes who are making this breakfast happen as well. this is an incredible moment to
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be leading the american league -- american labor movement. -- movement. it is very personal to me. you alluded to my family story. my family story is similar to so many families where it really was union membership that created the stability and pathway to a better life for me and my family. my dad grew up in a one room fruit picking shack in hood river, oregon. he and his siblings often went hungry. after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the marine corps and went straight to vietnam. when he came back, he returned to oregon, he found a job as a whole bigger. back in the days where power pole holes were dug by hand. at portland general electric. it was a power lineman's apprenticeship that put him on
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the path to a good union job. that changed everything. in one generation, our family had a roof over our head, enough to eat. such a different experience from what my father had growing up. that is the power of the union. that is what ibew 125 meant to my family. from my daddy, i learned the value of a union card. my mom also worked at the company. and i worked there. we were both clerical workers. we didn't have a union, the power lineman did. that difference was what showed me that in addition to good pay and good benefits, it also meant dignity, respect, having a voice, being heard. that is how i got my start. we started organizing clerical workers at the company and it
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really is about having one-on-one hundred stations, which we are hearing so much about these days, the importance of talking to each other face-to-face. that is what union organizing is. many of the women i worked with, the clerical workers, that is what we did. we started having one-on-one conversations about a fair work base. i learned how to organize from my mom. she was one of the fiercest organizers. she got called to the ceo's office for a one-on-one meeting during that drive. fast forward to this moment, today, an historic moment for organizing. millions of people want to join a union and they are organizing unions across industries across the country. there have been historic investments in clean energy, technology, infrastructure, we
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are coming off this wave of activity in congress that is going to lead to a competitive economy. sustainable environment and the promise of good quality jobs. our democracy is at a crossroads. will be build a more inclusive and responsive democracy? or will be allowed ourselves to be divided? for each of these opportunities and challenges, there is one response, one constant, unions. since i was here last, you may remember we had strike tober. workers everywhere from nabisco to john deere were rising up, using their collective power on the picket lines to ask for more. the momentum has only build from there. for every story you hear about working people organizing and
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joining together to form unions at amazon or starbucks, there are six or seven or more stories in other industries. just this summer, over 100 nurses at a hospital in coral gables, florida organized. rei workers in the bay area won. painters have organized in shipyards in alaska and louisiana. aircraft mechanics in north carolina, five hundred 50 researchers at mount sinai medical school have organized a union in new york city. 500 auto workers in michigan, 200 hotel workers in austin, texas won an organizing drive. hundreds more in places you would never expect. museums, cultural workers in los angeles, baltimore, new york, even hundreds of workers in the new industry, the cannabis
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industry. i always get a snicker when i mention cannabis. i am from morgan, yes i know. they have come together to form unions. this is so unexpected, so surprising and it shows that there is no industry or workplace that a union does not belong. it is every type of job. working people, the reason they are organizing and numbers are so high is because they are tired of being called essential one minute coming out of the pandemic, then treated as expendable the next. they are tired of working more and getting less in return. while their bosses collect bigger paychecks and buy rockets. they are connecting the dots and realizing that together they have the power to fight back. you don't have to just sit back and take it.
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gallup just released their latest polling. you all probably know this, i am in a room with very educated people. but, that poll found that a record high 71% of people in this country support unions. i have to tell you when i am on picket lines or i am talking to organizers, there is an energy and a drive unlike we have seen among working people in a generation. what keeps me going everyday is hearing from them and bringing their voices into these conversations, keeping my finger on the pulse of what working people are thinking and feeling. we need, in this moment, to bring as many people as possible from the margins of the economy to the center. making sure that women and people of color are helping drive our agenda because they are the future of our workforce. we need to build a labor movement that is modern -- as
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modern and dynamic as our work laces. the needs of working people are going to be different as work is changing and technology evolves. the labor movement has to evolve with it and we have to grow the number of people in unions so that working people are driving the future, not just ceo's. that is why growing the labor movement is the first goal coming out of our convention we announced the center for transformational organizing. our baseline goal is to organize one million new workers. we know that growing the number of people in unions is going to create the power balance we need to fix our broken economy. the cto is going to be the place, the center of gravity, where we make those plans for growth together, where we are bringing the power of all of our unions and landing on specific goals. that is where we will get out of
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our silos and build a movement that is taking on very specific goals together. particularly in nonunion areas of the economy like gig work, amazon, the clean energy economy. we are also taking that same all in approach on organizing to our political work. i know everyone here is anxious to talk about the election. but, we have been in the business of one, face-to-face conversations since our inception. people are recognizing the power of those tactics that really come in this moment where everyone is so polarized and divided, the only way you breakthrough is by talking to each other. it sounds so old it is new. that is the way you breakthrough the noise. when it comes to the midterms, we are not only -- because we
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know how to do this, but we are uniquely positioned to make a winning difference because we have this infrastructure that no one else has. we have a network of state afl-cio's, central labor councils in three zip code in the country. we are taking that network and turning it up to 11, as they say. working people are reclaiming their power. everywhere from the workplace to the ballot box. we are organized and we are ready to win. with that, i appreciate the time and look forward to having a conversation. >> wonderful. i will start with a question or two and we will open it up. you mentioned the health of our democracy being at stake i wondered, this is a broad question, but what do unions, what can they bring? what can you bring that connects
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the dots from economic health of workers to the political health of our country? how do you see that working? as part of that, is there something to do with the fact that the middle class seems to be smaller as a share of the whole society, than it was way back 50 years ago? >> we would argue that's because union density usually tracks the health of the working economy. your question is timely because you are right. people are angry, frustrated, set up. the economy is broken and that is translating into our politics. we are seeing that frustration manifests itself in the way people respond in elections. we would say that unions are a pillar of a healthy democracy. we see it around the world, unions have always been a
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bedrock, the foundation of a healthy economy and healthy society. as unions get stronger, our democracy gets stronger. our fundamental role and responsibility is to educate our members and all working people about how to balance the scales of the economy by coming together collectively. when you come together collectively, you have more power both in your work lay send your ability to influence those decisions made on capitol hill. i think we saw that demonstrated in this last year alone with the investments that have been made in congress. it is because working people demanded it. in the last election, they made it clear what they were looking for. they want more investments in clean energy to grow a stable future and create good jobs. they wanted investments and things like health care my hate
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-- safety and health on the job. coming out of a pandemic, it could not be more important. they are deeply connected, but the labor movement is uniquely positioned to reach real working people and actual workplaces across the country. we can be the messengers. we can be a trusted source for information and help people connect the dots between their frustrations and actually how to make the change they desperately want in their politics. >> ok. follow-up, you mentioned strong polling numbers. your favorability overall. yet, there's a lot fewer people in unions than there used to be. is there something that unions the cells need to do better to make this case that you are making, that it is time to rebuild them? >> we are always looking in the
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mirror, trying to be more effective and more relevant to working people and what they need and deserve. especially as the workplace is changing. we need to be more dynamic, modern and inclusive to reflect the changes happening in the work waste. i also believe that the fundamentals of our labor laws are so broken that that is mostly the root of the issue. why so many people want to and support unions, yet have trouble joining them. we know that the law of the land, the national labor relations act encourages unionization. it is a fundamental right in this country to be able to join the union freely. however, that has been chipped away at overtime and has been tilted in favor of corporations who do not want to see people
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form unions because they perceive it as a threat to their ability to run their business for their bottom line. what we need is to reform our labor laws so that it actually gets back to the spirit of the national labor relations act and give people the rights they deserve into the voice they deserve in the workplace. be able to freely join unions so that if you see a partner at starbucks, that they are truly treated as a partner and enable to form a union. our little legislation we have been backing, the proactive. for a number of years, we talked about it last year. it reforms the law so that it makes the intimidation tactics and the hostile environments that companies create illegal so that employees are not forced to sit and listen to antiunion propaganda against their will.
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they are not fired for the basic exercising of basic rights. which we see in campaign after campaign. i am so glad you all are covering starbucks and amazon the way you are because it has shined a light on the tactics that have been happening for decades. the fact that there are unionbusting consultants, hired to harass people and intimidate them. we have seen it time and time again. labor law reform is the key ingredient here to enable people to join unions without fear. of course, we are constantly looking for the labor movement to be more responsive to the needs of working people as we modernize our economy. >> grade. now we will go to neil. [indiscernible] >>[indiscernible]
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it is a bit of a political question. the president is going to the president is going to wisconsin and pennsylvania on monday on labor day for labor related events, something you said about how you're having success in organizing in places that are not traditionally where you would think they would be uh leaves the question of how do you deal with the likelihood that the membership of the unions in some of these places where there are not traditionally unions may not be democrats, they may not be people who would traditionally be biden voters or people who you're going to gotv for democrats in november. how do you deal with the membership that may not look lyrically, there other political positions -- that may not
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politically aligned with the labor movement's goals are at the federal level. liz: well, that is a question that i think speaks to the moment we're in in our country where, you know, we have a lot of divergent views and in fact, we're pretty polarized as a country. i would say the labor movement's membership, you know, kind of exit similarly. -- kind of tracks similarly. we have members that certainly will disagree with candidates that perhaps have been endorsed at the local level. but those are democratic processes, right? the members on the ground that actually make those decisions they deliberate based on the issues and where candidates stand. and that's the one thing i hope you take away is that we are an issues driven organization. we don't put candidates first, we put workers first and we look through the lens of working people when we're identifying the issues that we measure those candidates against and it happens to be that president biden, who is a democrat has been very much a pro union
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president. so we are proud of the track record that he has had and his administration has had. that translates down at every level, you know, from city council to congress and the added state sentence. through an issues based lens. so what i would say to a member that perhaps is unhappy that a democrat is endorsed, is to look at what's underneath that look beyond the party label and look at the issues that we are measuring against. and so is that candidates supporting raises in the minimum wage, is that candidates supporting stronger safety and health protections, osha protections, you know, is that candidate actually supportive of collective bargaining and in forming unions, and that's usually where we fall off, right, is that many republicans disagree with the fundamentals of collective bargaining and being in a union. and so how do you support candidates that disagree with
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your very existence? what we try to do is be very objective and and an issues based approach, and we can talk more about that as we go here, but we are taking a different approach this year and that we are not flying in, you know, from the national level and basically trying to land on a minute he and -- community and push a particular brand of political program. we're actually doing the reverse. it's more of a grassroots effort that then influences what we do nationally because it's driven around issues and really listening to our members and what are the issues that they care about? at what we think in washington dc -- not what we think in washington dc they should care about but locally. i'm hopeful that that actually enforces you know, the strength of those endorsements because they will be deliberated on based on the issues that are
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driven locally. >> two questions. first i want to follow on. your account about trying to organize a million new members and that's a pretty big number. according to bls the number is around 15 million. it has gone down in the last few years. liz: over 10 years. >> two sectors, there is a big push on immunization, clean energy. the new battery plants which are writing everywhere the uaw is aggressively trying to organize, you know, both theplants and the troy, three arco building as well as the transplants. can you talk about what sort of efforts you're going to try to encourage that? and then also on the on the airline front, right? delta. liz: battery is a delta and what
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was the second? pto. -- cto. thanks for clarifying. when we convened in philadelphia we launched our center for as formation of organizations -- transformational organizing. i met with our key leader union leaders to figure out what would be a realistic goal to set a lower not a ceiling. i just want to make that clear. and so a million new members also is the key, um, over 10 years means about 100,000 year. we're putting that out there so that we can hold ourselves accountable which we don't normally do. and i wanted to be bold so that we put something out there for us to actually aspire to another. -- together. and that's the difference is
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that we're bringing unions together in single strategy to land on industries that will benefit the entirety of the labor movement. we know amazon, for example, has a footprint and not just packaging and warehouse and delivery, but media prescription drugs, you know, transportation. the massive company and pretty much every industry that has had a ripple effect across the economy. so, clean energy economy is the thing where we have such tremendous opportunity to grow good union jobs in an industry that is non union for the most low-wage at this moment. but it's up to us to actually lift those standards and bring people together in new and creative ways so that we can make the clean energy industry, like the auto industry right. which started out as dangerous jobs with low pay and horrible safety conditions organized a union elevated those standards. we want to do the same with the clean energy economy and it's going to benefit everyone. that million member goal is a
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floor, not a ceiling. we will bring together the best organizers and researchers and technologists into our organizing strategies and go to work. that, to me is one of the most exciting things that came out of our convention. there is unity of around those goals. that's the other key that we all are all in, it's not just one union taking on one company. it's all unions banding together. in terms of batteries, you are right. again, huge opportunities coming out of the ira and the infrastructure legislation and chips act to really reclaim domestic manufacturing as an industry that is driving good jobs. and with the labor standards we have in the legislation to make sure that we're not lower roading these investments are
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tax dollars should be used to create good jobs. and the battery is the new question engined and -- combustion engine and a lot of the skills that we see that have traditionally been in the auto industry, we believe will transfer to the way this industry grows and emerges over time and that we have the potential to create a good high road high wage future that is family sustaining in the clean energy, an ev specifically industry and our unions see if we can focus on the administration to see if we can bring together almost tripartite approach to high road solution where we can get some of the companies who are manufacturing and who will take that commitment seriously and make the s part of that esg real.
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and come to the table and then we can forge a solution as a country about how do we want to tackle this, this clean energy economy. finally, on delta i would say, again, all in the entire labor movement landing on the organizing campaign, the faa -- the afa has been waging with delta. and we have the machinists also ring with of the flight attendants because that company is an out layer -- outlier, they're one of the only non union companies in the airline industry where their flight attendants continue to be non union. and you see the tactics, they're responding, they've hired union busting firms, they're putting millions of dollars into anti union tactics and every once in a while they see an issue that flight attendants are upset about and then they try to fix it and do that, you know, proactively to undermine the organizing campaign, right? because they well give, give a
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raise or the pay that they instituted for the idle time or the time people are when they're boarding the flights. i think the bottom line is that we're coming together as a labor movement to support organizing wherever it happens. this is the moment because we have so much momentum. the public is pro union, the administration is the most pro union administration in history and we have working people standing up taking risks, tremendous courage against the odds because of our broken labor laws willing to say, you know, what enough is enough. >> i'll go to kirk of national journal and over to riley. >> thank you for being here. what are your priorities at the federal level as democrats keep
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control of congress after the midterms and then how are these priorities changing if republicans take back the house? liz: last couple of years we've been in a proactive posture where we've put forward a lot of legislative ideas and proposals and been on offense because we have a pro-worker majority in both the house and senate and in the white house. so it's been unusual feeling, i will admit that we didn't have to be on defense as much, which obviously if things change in november we have to recalibrate our strategy. i don't think the priorities change though, i mean we're giving voice to working people on a whole host of issues that are pretty evergreen. and that is always you know, looking at, are the investments that our government is making going to create good jobs? we've seen a lot for example with investments in technology
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that's been an area of growth that traditionally hasn't had a union voice at the table and so that's something we'd like to do need to push hard to change. in fact, we have a great example with the chips act. since we did have a pro worker majority in congress where we were actually able to get labor a seat at the table. so when those investments are trickling down to the community level that we have a worker voice and how that will be taped. -- shaped. um we have partnerships that we now have a door open to with companies who are building chips that we want to partner and provide training to make sure they have the most highly skilled, highly trained workforce. we're partnering with carnegie melon university to make sure that there's a worker voice and perspective in things like ai and robotics.
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so this is an area of growth for the labor movement that i think um we will continue to keep our eyes on as congress, well we will see how it shakes out in november. but, we will spend quite a bit of time on defense. i have a feeling most of the gains that we made in as congress there will be attempts to roll back. there'll be attempts to institute things like right to work, cuts to funding for osha and the national labor relations board and the enforcement agencies that have actually been looking through a worker's lens when they approach their work. we have seen it before, we endured. we're not going to stop fighting for working people and the issues they care about and that doesn't depend on who was in control of congress. it just we keep going to work every day and bringing their voices forward. thanks. >> riley, detroit news. >> f2 questions -- i have two
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questions. one follow-up, the economy has been popping up in states like georgia, tennessee and kentucky where there is a lot of clinical and cultural resistance to unionization. i wondered if you could talk about how the labor movement can overcome that and get gains there. my second question is how might sort of the discussion about a potential recession impact the momentum and sort of organizing efforts that you discussed at the top. liz: i have to applaud of the uaw for their forward-looking posture. the president and his investments in organizing, particularly in the south have started to pay off. i know they recently had a convening that brought workers from all kinds of companies in the south, union, non-union to start thinking about how they could work together more
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closely. we as a labor movement are investing more in the south. you can imagine there is a softening of the ground when you have more people, talking about unions, investing in infrastructure, forming those community partnerships and alliances, that people recognize when you have more union jobs, it lifts up entire communities. it raises the standard for wages, for, it has that ripple effect across the economy. so the auto industry specifically has always played that role, and we want to see that continue to happen in the south right to work states are off. -- tough. but it doesn't mean that workers sit on the sidelines, right? and from what we're seeing um you know, the amazon election in bessemer alabama, for example, we came so close in a right to work state, that has never
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happened. i always say that if that election were held in new york city, we would have to amazon unions. but you know, they're still organizing on the ground there and sometimes it takes because labor laws are so broken and there's so much stacked against workers, it takes, 12, 3, 4, 5 tries to actually um to get the union that that the workers need and deserve. and so that's still happening in bessemer and i think that that's a case study for how we can apply that kind of collaboration to the auto sector, which is obviously growing by the day. also, the cto will be a great place for us to strategize and when i say clean energy economy, that includes the batteries and ev's, because that is a key part of the clean energy future. so inevitably that means we're bringing 57 unions resources and strategies and organizers to
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bear for these campaigns. that has not happened in the past. nissan for example didn't have the full breadth and scope of the labor movement like it could or should have. i think that that's a culture shift that we're seeing that unions are um less worried about people, you know, kind of looking behind the curtain at their organizing strategies because they have such a show lysed expertise. -- have such a specialized expertise. we're now more open to each other's ideas and bringing strengths and best practices and literal organizers to the table. i think that's really exciting. in terms of a recession, we have been through this before, cyclical changes in the economy and we prepare for them. i think, unfortunately what we are seeing with the fed, where
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jerome powell is continuing to raise interest rates and saying, well, it's just gonna be painful, sorry, working people, you're gonna just have to endure. it is a big mistake. we have been patient, we've, you know, been working hard for the past 30, 40 years with real wages being stagnant essentially. s now we have seen, with the labor market -- just now, we have seen with the labor market tightening, the ability for workers to have that courage and that security, you know, that more secure feeling that they can actually stand up and take a risk. i don't think that's gonna stop. because as i said earlier, working people are waking up to their power. they're fed up, they're fired up, they're ready to make change and they're finally connecting the dots that the labor movement
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is the place to do that. and so i don't think that's going to slow down and i think that we're gonna continue to see people waking up to this notion that coming together collectively is how we rebalance the scales, particularly, you know, people are angry at what they're seeing with these record profits coming out of the pandemic and companies making billions of dollars and then not being able to afford very modest wage increases for their workers. i think that that's that's just going to continue. >> paul, bedard washington examiner and then over to ramsey. your comment on the fed, haven't thought about that. but on the president, his first year in his budget documents and other things, he put a big focus on hiring union workers. for government jobs. clearly, you said he is the best partner possibly that unions have had ever. what has been the impact of
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that, especially if you look at your 100,000 that you want to get this year, has biden done anything to help that? what about inflation and recession and any advantages -- advances you made, we are always -- all starting to feel like we are falling backwards. but pressure will you put on the administration to help your folks out? liz: so, the impact that we have felt from the biden administration's policies, it's, a big ship, right? and it takes time to to turn it around, but they've already made incredible progress even within the federal government, as you mentioned with the appointments they have made. secretary of labor a card carrying union member who's been out on picket lines, he's been out, you know, trying to problem solve frankly, as a lot of people don't realize that secretary walsh actually is probably talking to business almost as much as he's talking
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to labor, and he actually has great relationships across the aisle and with companies. but to have someone who's waking up every morning, looking through the lens of working people in that role is a huge shift, and i would say that that has carried over and most of the appointments, you know, throughout the federal government, cabinet secretary's, you know the regulatory approach that they take, the rulemaking, always inviting a worker perspective to the table, thinking through the mind of a working person. the white house task force on worker empowerment. a lot of people have never heard of it, because it's never been done before. people are kind of trying to get their arms around it. but what it was designed to do was to say what can we do within , the federal government to promote unionization, you know, what can we do in the policies on procurement, how can our agencies behave in a way that is more prounion?
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so they put one report out, the next report is due out any day, on a whole series of recommendations that they have already started to implement. so those are kind of the inside the beltway things, but outside the beltway really where the rubber meets the road is on these investments. the fact that there are labor standards written into the law, that means that when infrastructure dollars go out the door, that there's gonna be prevailing wages attached to those investments, that mean you're going to actually create family sustaining jobs and they're gonna be in communities where, you know, people who have traditionally been left behind people of color, women, young people will have more opportunities and we are working hand in glove at the community level to make sure that happens. we often see ourselves in the labor movement as the enforcers, right? that we interpret the law and make sure that it lands the way it's supposed to and then it's
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benefiting the people that it should. so infrastructure is a great example. i mentioned the chips act and you know, we're so desperate to manufacture in this country. it's a competitiveness issue for our country to be able to make things that we need, especially in times of crisis. not just semiconductors, but think about the pandemic and how we didn't even have ventilators that, you know enough for health care workers and what did we do? we pivoted and in fact the auto workers recalibrated a plant to make ventilators and so it was like health care workers and auto workers working together to get through this crisis. so that kind of innovation that kind of nimbleness, and ability to pivot is what we think the hallmark of a modern labor movement looks like. that will help get us through ash absolutely -- absolutely.
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and until we get the pro act passed there, it will be difficult to unleash massive union growth because our labor laws are so stacked against workers. but we don't wait for congress. we don't wait for the president. workers are out there demanding change and rising up and forming unions regardless. so we're seeing that momentum and you know, when i talk to workers that have just formed unions, no matter if it's our books if it is rei or a museum worker, the issues are the same. they are talking about respect, dignity, decent wages and health care and benefits but they are also talking about toxic work environments coming through the pandemic, how they're being treated by customers, how they are being treated by their bosses. you know, the fact that they sometimes feel voiceless in the decision-making, predictable schedules. that is a huge issue. you know, their rights as workers and having a seat at the table. so those are the things that have that seemed to drive every
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worker that i've been talking to in every industry, no matter if it's you know, industries, you might not expect like video game developers that are unionizing or workers that you know have been on strike because they've been in the union a long time. like bakery workers who i think i said last time, you know, we're all sitting on our couches, eaten snacks, oreos and ritz crackers. those workers were working 24 hours time away from their families, i was on the picket line with bakery workers with their children. who were like, i have not seen my dad because he has been working so much. i can wait for this strike to be over so we can get back to normalcy. i actually was riding in a car with a letter carrier who had been working 12 hour days, six days a week for 2.5 years
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because you know, that's what we do, we we step up through, you know, times of crisis and during the pandemic, what happened mail volume went up right because everybody's getting their goods delivered to their houses and so it falls on the backs of the working people who actually are having to work those shifts to make sure that those packages get delivered, that people get their medications, that the ballots get delivered on time. it's essential work and they should be compensated wittingly. -- accordingly. >> pressure on him to make sure somebody is getting paid fairly. liz: he is the most prounion president but we hold him accountable to and we don't always disagree. i don't think that gets covered as much right when we disagree, but we absolutely hold every elected official to the same standard that are you sticking up for the working people?
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are you following the laws? are you putting that worker protection into the draft? are you you know, enforcing the regulations >> ramsey, washington times.
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what is the level of concern that this could hurt candidates that you support the also support the labor movement? liz: i should be clear that we support republicans. we support republicans who are good on our issues and are pro union. there has been a conversation within the republican about being more pro-worker. folks like marco rubio have sounded the alarm and said this is a mistake if we think we are going to leave the so-called blue-collar worker behind. and that we should not make unions our enemies. a lot of the issues that working people care about should be issues that the republican party cares about. so, we do support republicans that support us. and, i would say that a lot of what the republicans base their decisions on our corporations. the corporations demands and policies that they would like to
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see. often those are antiunion. we could kind of get underneath the fact that more corporations could actually choose to not fight working people and see unionization as a benefit to their businesses. that we might have more people in the republican party see the benefits of unions as a solution, instead of a threat. because, we are not going to close the inequality gap in this country if workers do not have more power to bargained gathered. and, we saw our viewers saying this chart over time, if you see the wealth gap as inequality has risen, it tracks union decline. so that if unions got weaker, that gap, that yawning difference between what most people make and the 1% has increased. and, if you look at just the basic demand of what working people are asking or, most
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companies who want productive -- a productive workforce and a successful company are starting to listen. i used microsoft as an example where brad smith actually said, you know what? , my workforce is talking about united station. maybe that is something i should look into instead of fight. he signed a neutrality agreement with the communications workers of america for activision wizard. and, i think you compare that posture to what howard schultz is doing at starbucks and they are night and day. in fact, you wonder, the more that you fight, the more that it incentivizes people to want to form a union. because, it is the hostile behavior and antiunion animosity that creates toxicity in a work list that makes workers less productive and less likely to
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stay at the company. we would argue that being in a union can actually improve your bottom line and that we could sit at a table and actually have conversations with each other. and work through problems, work through issues and you would ask some of our union employers why -- what is the benefit of having a union in our company? they would tell you this is a way for me to systematize changes in the culture and workplace to get stuff up front in the development process and things go smoother. so, i think that will have an impact on how politics plays out in the future. and, in terms of the recession and the impacts on what that is going to mean for working-class voters, i think, recession or no recession, working people are essentially looking at withstanding with them.
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who supports the issues that they support. in the issues we hear the most about are obviously. but more importantly, health care, retirement security, and toxic work environment. the workplace "culture issues" that people are grappling with. and, i think that is, as i said, universal remote -- the matter where you work in a matter what kind of job you have and that union can be the solution for working people in this country. >> next over to this side of the table. noah robertson with the monitor and then joe. liz: you mentioned earlier that you are glad that there has been so much attention paid to the organizations and unions at amazon and starbucks. do you worry that this might
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present an underrepresented that unrepresentative -- present an unrepresentative version of unions? >> i would say no because to me it is showing people who have old stereotypes about unions that they are for everyone. i think there has been a long-standing view that unions were a relevant -- were relevant back when we had a manufacturing economy and people working in unsafe conditions but now we have laws so we do not need unions. which is absolutely not true. if you saw what he went through during the pandemic. workers crying out in the dark about unsafe mission. if you did not have a union, often you would be fired if you spoke out. if you had a union, you could actually say wait a second, i should not have to wear a garbage bag respond to patients in the hospital. i think those issues are
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universal and if you are a scholar, you want act and dignity on the job working at starbucks. if you are at a amazon warehouse, you want -- the heat is too extreme and people are fainting, then you want to be able to speak out and not have to worry about losing your job or having too much time off task. if you say something. i think, it is a representative example of representing a shift in the way people view unions and the fact they see unions as a pathway when most young people had never even heard of a union. a lot of people do not know someone in a union or know what they are or how to form one. that is our challenge. to take the 71% of people who are favorable and translate that into the ability for people to join unions and actually make a
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difference in whatever workplace they are in. i was talking earlier about how young people are approaching united station so different than some of their predecessors. and, there is a generational difference in perspective around what a union is and what it means. digital journalists, i will pick on them. they are negotiating their company's carbon footprint in their bargaining agreement and looking at corporate social responsibility as a subject of bargaining at the table. i think there is innovation happening there that makes it more relevant to the focus -- the folks are talking about who may not have seen unions as relevant to them. >> joseph morton, dallas morning news. >> thank you so much for doing this.
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i want to ask this play about texas. a large straight -- a large state that has gone through a lot of democratic changes. unique challenges to changing that in texas, assuming we do not get the pro-act passed in the next few weeks or whenever, how do you see that playing out in the future? what do you guys do to get the numbers up the way things go in texas on labor? liz: texas of course is a right to work state. traditionally, very high union levels in heavy industry. obviously, with the industry -- energy industry being so strong down there, we have strong representation in those industries but not so much in other areas of the economy. that has been something we have aspired to for years, knowing that the demographics are changing amongst workers in texas. there are more workers of color
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and to make the connection again for them to see the labor movement as a movement for them. we will deploy the cto tactics and strategies in pretty much every state where there is a footprint for the industries that i mentioned that were really honing -- that we are really honing in on. texas will be one of those states. we think there is raw opportunity there. but the clean energy economy, that to me is nothing but opportunity for the state of texas. >> i am going to show you the clock. this hour flew by quickly. liz: as always. we did not get to everyone, but -- >> i would like to ask for questions and maybe others would too. thank you/for being with us president liz shuler. i wish everyone a happy labor day. liz: happy labor day. you so much.
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thank you. >> some people are tweeting already. [laughter] [indiscernible] liz: -- in their ability to have a good job. the issue of choice is an economic issue. we have been able to travel and look through that lens. i think those issues are very much drivers, especially for this next generation. verrilli for all working people.
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we have been doing a lot of bowling with and our membership -- voting within our membership to find out the main drivers of choice. ok, exactly. [indiscernible]
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announcer -- >> as a physician, i took care of patients with addiction but it does not take a position to know we have a fentanyl crisis. everyone here and everyone watching knows someone who has died or suffered from addiction related to opioids. if you read of a young person who dies as a teenager or in college, most often. it is usually related to a drug overdose and you think about the tragedy of that child whose whole future was before she or he and now it has ended. affecting not just their life
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but all those generations that would come after them and that wonderful person. it is incumbent upon us to address this issue. >> much more about the continued rise of overdosed death link to fit no. -- two fentanyl. tonight, the senate health committee hearing begins on 9:00 p.m. eastern. also watch on c-span or online at c's >> on saturday, former president trump holds a rally in support of pennsylvania's republican senate nominee, dr. mehmet oz. watch live coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and our free mobile video out, spend now -- c-span now. >> in 2019, reporter ben raines discovered the remains of the slave ship matilda in a swamp outside of mobile, alabama.
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sunday night, as we showcase the best of q end, ben raines talks about his book which details the history of matilda and how in -- how and why it transported 110 slaves to alabama. more than 15 years after the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed. >> we have the whole story that serves as a proxy for everyone in the u.s. and the road whose family arrived in whatever country they were in in the hole of a ship. most of those people we know nothing about because their stories were not recorded. the curt tell is a proxy for this lost history for the millions of people were stolen from africa and spread across the world. that is what is so unique about it. it is the whole story of slavery encapsulated in one piece and we know everything about these people and what happened in their lives. >> then rang with his book "the last slave ship", sunday night
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on c-span q and a. you can listen to the q and a on our podcast and our seas and now app. >> following the supreme court decision to limit the epa ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, a house, energy, and commerce subcommittee held a hearing to discuss a decision on how recycling impacts the economy house and role community. this is just under 2.5 hours. communities. this is just under two hours. chair: the subcommittee on environment and climate change will now come to order today. the subcommittee is holding a a hearing entitled no time to waste -- solutions for america's broken recycling system. due to the covid-19 public health emergency, today's


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