WASHINGTON — North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) president Sean McGarvey issued the following statement on the just-released COVID-19 relief deal and omnibus agreement:
“As we pour through details of the COVID-19 relief deal and omnibus agreement, it is clear that Congress failed to meet the moment. While they resurrected the ‘three-martini lunch’ tax deduction in this bill, although not as outrageous as the $210 billion tax cut for the wealthiest families in the country in the Cares Act, Congress should sip on the fact that they will be directly responsible for not supporting the creation and retention of thousands of middle-class jobs in their states and districts.
“We are particularly displeased that Congressional leaders who by now should understand what the electorate said loud and clear on November 3. It is about working families’ economic security. Whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, it is first and foremost when they vote.
“Congress could not see fit to hold the line on consistent application of labor standards that help all construction workers maintain a middle-class standard of living. With an executive branch that is more unstable by the day, this is a dire time for our country. After nine months of waiting, the Congressional response should not have turned its back on American workers and their families.
“While Congress dithered for months, they remained completely focused on the most important jobs in the country, ‘theirs.’ We understand that almost all members of the Republican caucus objected to having labor standards in the bill; however, in these negotiations, the so-called ‘four corners negotiations,’ Democrats ultimately chose to agree on what was in the omnibus and had the power on what to keep out. Therefore, it is regrettable that, at the 11th hour, leadership negotiators summarily ignored practically all working families. They once again rushed to funnel tax dollars to interests that have little or no regard for workers. We’re unclear as to who may truly benefit from this irresponsible action at this time, but it will become evident who those beneficiaries are. Americans once again settle for the fact that workers were told to take a seat and wait. The old adage appears to be true: ‘Go by what they do, not by what they say.’
“As 2021 approaches, we will work with the incoming Biden-Harris administration to help all Congressional leaders regain their resolve, or, in some cases, finally understand that they need to be on the side of those who built this country, who protect it, who fight its wars, who feed it, who care for it, and who provide all of the services that every citizen of this country deserves and all they ask for is to be treated fairly by their elected representatives. We look forward to working with the true allies of the nation’s workers who do not waiver but rather always champion policies that keep and lead people on the pathway to the middle class.”
For more information, visit www.nabtu.org.