Jan 9, 2021
Building an economy that’s stronger and fairer for working people
Remarks Announcing Labor, Commerce, and SBA Nominations as Prepared for Delivery by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware
One of the fundamental values that President-elect Biden and I share is a belief in the dignity of work.
We both understand that a job is about more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity and respect.
Joe learned that lesson from his father. I learned it from my mother.
My mother taught me in her words and her actions, that no matter how you earn a living, whether you’re a caregiver or truck driver, grocery store clerk or small business owner, every job has inherent value and worth.
And every worker, everywhere, has a right to earn a living wage, work in safe and healthy conditions, and pursue a better life for themselves and their family.
We also know that right now, the dignity of an honest day’s work, and the financial stability of a steady income — are out of reach for millions of Americans.
The December jobs report makes that very clear.
Food banks are being strained trying to feed people who’ve had to worry, for the first time in their lives, about where to go for their next meal.
Essential workers, like the nurses Joe and I called over the holidays, continue to risk their own health and the health of their families for all of us.
Small business owners, from restaurants to barber shops to dry cleaners, are hurting.
And let’s be clear: those who run America’s small businesses aren’t just business leaders, they’re civic leaders and community leaders. They’re the ones who sponsor Little League games, scholarships, and all kinds of local causes and activities.
And we must do right by them.
So, first and foremost, as the President-elect has said, we need to provide more immediate relief for working families and businesses — now.
And even as we address our immediate crises, even as we work to contain this pandemic and open our economy responsibly, we must also do what President-elect Biden and I have pledged to do:
We must build our economy back better.
So it lifts up everyone, no matter what you do for a living or where you live, whether it’s in small towns, big cities, or anyplace in between.
That means providing access to capital for small business owners — the economic engines of our neighborhoods — so they can create jobs and help our communities thrive.
It means making sure we’re equipping workers with the skills they’ll need for the jobs of the future, and making sure our entrepreneurs and businesses continue to out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.
And it means protecting and expanding workers’ rights by fighting for a higher minimum wage and paid leave, safe and healthy workplaces and stronger unions.
From working with unions as San Francisco’s District Attorney, to helping author the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in the U.S. Senate, I can tell you from personal experience, that whether it’s the apprenticeships of the building trades, or the caregiving skills of home health care workers, this is some of the most important work being done in our country.
The President-elect and I know that.
And so does the team we are announcing today.
These leaders, together with the rest of our economic team, will help create millions of good-paying, union jobs, and build an economy that’s stronger, and fairer for working people.
They are seasoned public servants with track records of not only standing up for workers and unions, but spurring innovation, and creating opportunity for small business owners.
And like President-elect Biden and I, they will fight to honor the dignity of work.
The President-elect and I share a vision of America where opportunity is within reach for all The People.
Where everyone can see a brighter future for themselves and their children.
With the leadership of these public servants and our entire economic team, we will get to work building that America less than two weeks from today.
Thank you, Mr. President-elect.