AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond's remarks as prepared to the Beaver County (Penn.) Democratic Party:
Thank you, Director Bernie [Hall], my brother and friend. Bernie just recently was sworn in as our new Director in PA. We are so proud of him and excited about his leadership of our Union, here in the Commonwealth of PA.
Terri [Mitko] - thank you for inviting me to join you all tonight. I’m thrilled to be here.
Thanks to all of our friends from the Democratic Party. The true voice of working families: Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman; Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive; State Representatives Austin Davis, Brian Sims, Rob Matzie; Beaver Falls Mayor Kenya Johns. Joe Spanik is here and is one of the first politicians I met and worked with when I came to PA. Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party Nancy Patton Mills and all of you who fight the good fight on behalf of working families.
And the same goes for all of the labor leaders in attendance. In particular I would like to recognize Rick Galliano of the Beaver-Lawrence CLC.
And the newly elected President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO… my brother Frank Snyder. Your grit and determination has made the labor movement stronger… in this great commonwealth of ours and across the country.
And I am looking forward to working with you and Angela [Ferritto] and seeing your vision and leadership continue the progress of the labor movement here in the commonwealth.
And I know you had a good mentor in Rick Bloomingdale. Pennsylvania’s working families have had no better advocate than Rick. And our democracy has had no better champion. And I wish him a happy and healthy retirement.
As you all know, in August of last year, our labor movement suffered a huge loss with the untimely death of Rich Trumka. Rich and I were personal friends for over 25 years. And I know he was a personal friend to many of you too.
Rich was Pennsylvania to the core. He was born here. Raised here. Worked the mines here. And earned his degrees here.
He loved this commonwealth. He loved this labor movement.
He had faith in the future. And the Western P-A labor movement provided the greatest source of his optimism.
And he had faith in Liz Shuler.
Liz is smart, tough and the right person to lead the American labor movement at the right time.
And I am honored to serve alongside her as the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO.
Rich Trumka liked to say the labor movement must be at the front in the fight for our democracy.
And he was right. There is no better institution in America to lead the charge.
But we can’t do it alone.
Together, organized labor and the democratic party can beat back the attacks on our democracy and take on the urgent issues facing our nation today.
Racial and gender justice.
And a path to citizenship for immigrants.
All of these issues are critical to the health of our democracy… and to the lives of working people.
We want to be able to exercise our rights AND be able to access the best opportunities for ourselves and our families.
And we need our elected officials to have our backs.
Right now, working people are fed up. The pandemic has pulled back the curtain. Workers are rejecting jobs where they risk their health and safety for a poverty wage. Workers are striking and standing up for their rights.
And young people especially are embracing unions as a vehicle to speak up at work.
There’s an energy out there and we’re working hard to capture it.
By continuing to organize… building our capacity… and engaging with our communities.
We’re showing ALL working people that the labor movement is for them… women, young people, people of color.
Everybody is included. Our doors are wide open.
And the AFL-CIO is all in!
We have the momentum and we’re going to build on it and we’re gearing up to run the biggest, baddest political program yet.
Because we are not listening to the pundits. They can say whatever they want about what’s going to happen this November. Because they don’t know the true power of organized labor and a strong democratic party working together.
And we have to work together. There is too much at stake.
We have a golden opportunity to have TWO pro-union senators represent Pennsylvania’s working families.
We are going to send Attorney General Josh Shapiro to Harrisburg!
Because Josh understands the working people of Pennsylvania and what we need.
Try saying that about any of the nine candidates on the other side trying to out-Trump one another. You’ve heard their speeches. You’ve seen their ads. They don’t care about working people.
Pick any one of those nine candidates out of a hat and you’ll get the same thing… Voter suppression. Right to work.
Shapiro wants to make it easier to vote. Shapiro wants to make it easier for workers to organize. Do you know why? Because Shapiro believes in democracy!
And you better believe Shapiro will veto any anti-democratic bill that gets to his desk.
But he won’t have to. Because we are going to turn the Pennsylvania General Assembly blue!
Now look, I have called Pennsylvania home for more than 20 years now. And one thing I have learned is that the Pennsylvania labor movement knows how to mobilize and engage its members.
We saw it in 2020 during one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history.
And we’re going to see it again this year.
All eyes will be on Pennsylvania.
And together – Pennsylvania democrats and the labor movement – we can be a force for change… for working people… for our communities.
We are committed to electing pro-worker candidates up and down the ballot… and pass the legislation and policies that matter to working people.
We know elections have consequences.
If you need an example, look at the infrastructure bill President Biden signed into law. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs...good, life-changing union jobs…in Pennsylvania and across the country.
And the labor movement was key… we talked to our members and elected officials. We talked to our members about the candidates who will be our best advocates.
We campaigned and mobilized and got out the vote in 2020 so that we have a democratic majority in Congress and the most pro-union administration in our country’s history.
That is how we have these investments workers have been demanding for so long.
This bill strengthens our supply chains… and Buy America rules to help stop the outsourcing of good union jobs.
It connects prevailing wages and high labor standards to the jobs created, and we are going to make sure those commitments are honored.
Our work isn’t done. We’re still pushing for more in President Biden’s Building a Better America plan.
At the top of the list is a key piece of the PRO Act so union-busting employers who violate our right to organize will be hit with real penalties…
Major investments in energy and manufacturing supply chains… with stronger Buy American provisions…
Affordable prescription drugs… investments in education… and in child care and elder care so more working families can get back to work.
This is absolutely critical.
We have an opportunity to build a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
And we’re going to talk to every single union member and every single voter and help them see this better future.
We’re going to connect the dots.
We’re going to remind them that elections have consequences.
Remind them who delivered for working people and our economy.
And we’re going to send leaders with the compassion and courage that working people need and deserve to
Washington and Harrisburg and to every county seat in this commonwealth.
We’re going to remind them that when we stand together that there is nothing we can’t do.
Let’s show them what we got.
Let’s renew our historical bond – democrats and organized labor, together!
Let’s renew our commitment to one another.
Our democracy depends on it.
Because this election isn’t just about Democrat versus Republican.
It’s bigger than that. It’s more profound.
It’s about workers and what’s fair versus greed and inequality…
It’s about equity versus privilege...
Honesty versus corruption…
Order versus chaos…
Good versus evil…
It is about our very democracy!
Let’s protect it!
And let’s build a Pennsylvania that works for all of us!
Let’s show everybody in this great commonwealth of ours…
That when we stand together…
Democrats. Labor. Unified with a common purpose…
There is nothing – NOTHING! – we can’t do!