By DON McINTOSH
Sticking with his effort to be “the most pro-union president in history,” Joe Biden spent Labor Day talking up the labor movement at appearances in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Early in the day, he attended a rally at Milwaukee Laborfest, the Milwaukee Central Labor Council’s annual Labor Day event. There he talked about improvements for working people since he took office 19 months ago, including major new infrastructure investments, project labor agreements and expanded Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, stronger Buy America rules for federal procurement, rules that make many profitable corporations pay a minimum income tax for the first time, and the Butch Lewis Act. The Butch Lewis Act, passed as part of the American Rescue Plan in 2021, rescues union-sponsored multi-employer pensions that were heading for collapse in part because of financial market losses and rules set by Congress that forced them to spend down assets during good times.
“Because of the greed of some companies, we found that an awful lot of union members were about to lose their pensions,” Biden said. “So we did something that hadn’t been done in 50 years, significantly for labor: We passed the Butch Lewis Act…. We didn’t get any Republican votes for it. But we got it done.”
Later, the president visited a union hall near Pittsburgh alongside Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and national AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler.
“Wall Street didn’t build America,” Biden said outside the United Steelworkers Local 2227 hall. “The middle class built America, and unions built the middle class. That’s just a fact.”