Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding joining the UAW Local 3039 picket line in Rockland, New York, this morning, the WGA’s tentative settlement, and Democrats’ record of standing up for American workers. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Earlier this morning, before I came to Washington, I went to Rockland County, New York, and stood with UAW Local 3039 on the picket line in solidarity with their fight for better wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions.
Rain or shine – and today, it was mostly rain – UAW Local 3039 is out there, standing for a fair, equitable contract to share in the profits they helped create. We must not forget, during the auto crisis of 2008, unions and workers gave back plenty. It’s one of the reasons that the auto companies are making such large profits. And the workers are entitled to have a fair share of those profits. So, we need to make sure that this settlement, that [what] the strike will produce is fair to working people.
It’s simple: when unions win, workers win, the middle class wins, America wins. Just take the WGA strike, the Writer’s Guild, for example. This past weekend, after nearly five months on strike, the WGA announced a tentative settlement with Hollywood studios to get members back to work.
The WGA deal proves that progress is possible, that workers can gain, and I hope it encourages the big three auto companies to stay at the table and bargain in good faith.
And today, in a milestone for the UAW strike and the history of working people in this country, President Biden traveled to Michigan today to stand with the UAW on the picket line. It’s likely be the first time in 100 years a sitting president joined workers on the picket line. It shows how important strong labor unions are to this president and to Democrats. And that’s why I thought it was appropriate for me this morning to join some of our New York UAW members on the picket lines in New York, as the President marched in Michigan.
President Biden’s visit underscores a historic moment for the American labor movement. We may be on track to see the most labor activity in 40 years.
And I am proud that so many of my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle have stood on the line with workers fighting for a better life.
As President Biden said today: “the middle class built this country – and unions built the middle class.” Praise God we have a President as pro-union and pro-worker as President Biden in office at a time like this.
Of course, we weren’t always so lucky. Former President Trump will also be in Michigan this week, where he will no doubt try to style himself as a champion of unions and working Americans. That’s pretty rich coming from someone who led one of the most anti-worker Administrations in recent memory, one openly hostile to labor unions, disinterested in the wellbeing of working families, and appointing anti-labor people to many of the agencies that regulate labor.
No working American should believe Donald Trump when he claims to fight for them. Where was Donald Trump when UAW went on strike against GM in 2019? All talk, no substance. Even now, he is openly attacking the UAW that is trying to secure better contracts.
The difference between the Biden Administration’s record on labor and the Trump Administration’s record couldn’t be starker.
Under the Biden Administration, Democrats secured historic relief to protect hard-earned pensions through the American Rescue Plan.
Under the Trump Administration, on the other hand, Republicans reversed rules to expand overtime pay for eight million workers, loosened infection and safety rules for oil rigs and coal companies, and reversed bans on toxic pesticides that protected farm workers.
Under the Biden Administration, Democrats broke the nearly decade-long funding freeze on the National Labor Relations Board.
But under the Trump Administration, Republicans appointed most anti-labor NLRB nominees and they voted to make it harder for workers to organize while making it easier for employers to oust existing unions.
Under the Biden Administration, we passed historic bills like the Infrastructure Bill, CHIPS and Science, and the Inflation Reduction Act, all of which are creating good-paying jobs. And as Majority Leader, I made sure that pro-union provisions were written into this legislation.
But under the Trump Administration, Republicans passed a trillion-and-a-half dollar tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited big corporations and the ultra-wealthy, while giving peanuts to working families that Donald Trump claims to fight for.
So, it’s easy to see who is really on the side of unions and working Americans and who isn’t. I was proud to stand with the UAW this morning. I am proud that President Biden is standing with working people of this country today.