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A Proclamation on Workers Memorial Day, 2024 and Critique from AI

A job is about more than a paycheck — it is about dignity and respect.  Our Nation’s workers built this country, and we need to have their backs.  On the most basic level, that means every worker in this Nation deserves to be safe on the job.  Too many still risk their lives or well-being in unsafe work conditions or dangerous roles.  On Workers Memorial Day, we honor our fallen and injured workers and recommit to making sure every worker has the peace of mind of knowing that they are protected at work and can return home safe to their families every night.

I am proud to be the most pro-labor President in history, and from day one, my Administration has fought to make workplaces safer and fairer.  Our American Rescue Plan invested $200 million into keeping workers safe during the pandemic and guaranteeing that workers had sick leave available if they got COVID-19.  We also used the full power of the Defense Production Act to deliver personal protective equipment to workers who needed it.  We vaccinated 230 million Americans so they could return to offices, stores, factory floors, and more without worrying about their health. 

Strong unions are at the core of all of this work.  Every major law that protects workers’ safety passed because unions fought for it.  That is why, as my Administration makes the biggest investment in our Nation’s infrastructure in generations, we are also incentivizing companies to hire union workers, pay prevailing wages, and support pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships that help workers learn how to safely do the job.  At the same time, my Administration finalized a rule requiring Project Labor Agreements for most large-scale Federal construction projects, helping ensure these projects are completed safely, efficiently, and on time.

I am proud of my work standing up for unions, from being the first sitting President to walk a picket line to nominating union advocates to the National Labor Relations Board, which has helped protect the right to organize.  I also signed Executive Orders restoring and expanding collective bargaining rights for the Federal workforce, and I re-established labor-management forums at Federal agencies to ensure Federal workers on the job are heard.  I signed the Butch Lewis Act, protecting the pensions that millions of Americans worked their whole lives for.  I have expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act and slashed prescription drug prices, making health care more affordable for millions of working families. 

At the same time, the Department of Labor has also made it easier for whistleblowers to report unsafe working conditions, regardless of their immigration status, and are hiring and training hundreds of workplace inspectors to ensure employers are meeting health and safety requirements.  Last year, my Administration issued the first-ever heat Hazard Alert to protect millions of farm, construction, and other workers who spend their days outside in increasingly extreme heat.  We also finalized a new rule to limit miners’ exposure to toxic silica dust — protecting more than 250,000 from its harmful effects.  The Department of Labor has also ramped up the enforcement of heat-safety rules, conducting more than 4,000 heat inspections in the past 2 years.  They have also completed over 65,000 workplace safety and health inspections since 2022, helping keep workers in high-risk industries safe.  Further, my Administration published a rule that allows workers to choose a representative to accompany an Occupational Safety and Health Administration official during a workplace inspection, ensuring workers are being heard.  The Department of Labor is working to develop a national standard to protect indoor and outdoor workers from extreme heat that can be hazardous to their health.

We are also fighting for the courageous first responders who routinely run toward danger to protect the rest of us.  The Department of Labor proposed a rule that would strengthen safety standards for emergency responder equipment, training, and vehicle operations for the first time in more than 40 years.  These new standards would transform many current industry best practices to requirements and could prevent thousands of injuries for more than one million brave first responders across the country.  I was also proud to sign the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which boosted pay for over 10,000 Federal firefighters to help recruit more to the job, because I know that nothing keeps firefighters safe like more firefighters.  We are also committed to protecting firefighters from the harmful effects of toxic “forever chemicals”, which are still too often found in firefighting equipment and fire suppression agents.  I signed legislation extending the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program to firefighters who are permanently disabled and to families of firefighters who die after experiencing trauma like PTSD — it will not bring their loved ones back, but we owe them.

Today, our Nation is in the midst of a great comeback.  Our economy is growing, wages are rising, and inflation is down.  We have created a record 15 million jobs.  On Workers Memorial Day, we recommit to making sure that every worker in this country is safe on the job.  We honor those who lost their lives or have been injured on the job; we stand by their families; and we stand with the labor unions that are fighting to guarantee every worker safety, dignity, and respect.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 28, 2024, as Workers Memorial Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs and ceremonies in memory of those killed or injured due to unsafe working conditions.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

April 26 2024 White House Washington DC

AI: Rhetoric vs. Reality: Critiquing the Shortcomings of Biden’s Workers Memorial Day Proclamation

Here are some potential criticisms of the Workers Memorial Day 2024 proclamation:

  1. Lack of specific data on workplace fatalities and injuries: While the proclamation mentions honoring fallen and injured workers, it does not provide any concrete data on the current state of workplace safety or trends in fatalities and injuries. Critics could argue that without clear statistics, it is difficult to assess the true impact of the administration’s efforts.
  2. Insufficient focus on high-risk industries: The proclamation broadly addresses workplace safety, but does not delve into specific industries with higher rates of injuries and fatalities, such as construction, agriculture, and manufacturing. Critics may argue that more targeted efforts are needed in these sectors.
  3. Concerns about the effectiveness of OSHA enforcement: While the proclamation mentions increasing workplace inspections, critics may point out that OSHA’s enforcement capabilities remain limited, with a shortage of inspectors and low penalties for violations. They could argue that more resources and stronger enforcement mechanisms are needed to truly protect workers.
  4. Criticism of the administration’s stance on worker classification: Some critics may argue that the administration has not done enough to address the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, which can deprive them of important protections and benefits.
  5. Lack of progress on paid sick leave and family leave: The proclamation acknowledges the need for paid sick leave and family leave, but does not mention any specific actions taken by the administration to address these issues. Critics may argue that the lack of progress on these fronts undermines the administration’s claims of being the “most pro-labor” in history.
  6. Concerns about the impact of the pandemic on worker safety: While the proclamation mentions the administration’s efforts to protect workers during the pandemic, critics may argue that more could have been done to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on essential workers and those in high-risk industries.
  7. Criticism of the administration’s stance on worker representation: Some critics may argue that the administration has not done enough to protect workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain, which is essential for ensuring safe working conditions and fair treatment.
  8. Concerns about the administration’s ties to corporate interests: Critics may argue that the administration’s close ties to corporate interests and reluctance to impose stricter regulations on businesses undermine its credibility as a champion of worker safety and rights.
  9. By incorporating these criticisms and facts, the response can provide a more balanced and nuanced assessment of the proclamation, highlighting areas where the administration’s efforts may fall short or face challenges.

Here are some key arguments that could be made against the Biden administration’s policies on worker safety:

  1. Lack of specific data and metrics: The proclamation lacks concrete data and metrics to quantify the impact and effectiveness of the administration’s initiatives in improving workplace safety. Without clear statistics, it is difficult to assess the true progress made.
  2. Insufficient focus on high-risk industries: While the administration has taken some actions, critics argue that more targeted efforts are needed in industries with higher rates of injuries and fatalities, such as construction, agriculture, and manufacturing1.
  3. Concerns about the effectiveness of OSHA enforcement: Despite increasing workplace inspections, OSHA’s enforcement capabilities remain limited, with a shortage of inspectors and low penalties for violations1. Stronger enforcement mechanisms are needed to truly protect workers.
  4. Criticism of the administration’s stance on worker classification: The administration has not done enough to address the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, which can deprive them of important protections and benefits3.
  5. Lack of progress on paid sick leave and family leave: While acknowledging the need for these benefits, the administration has not taken specific actions to address the lack of paid sick leave and family leave for workers3.
  6. Concerns about the impact of the pandemic on worker safety: More could have been done to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on essential workers and those in high-risk industries1.
  7. Criticism of the administration’s stance on worker representation: The administration has not done enough to protect workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain, which is essential for ensuring safe working conditions and fair treatment3.
  8. Concerns about the administration’s ties to corporate interests: Critics argue that the administration’s close ties to corporate interests and reluctance to impose stricter regulations on businesses undermine its credibility as a champion of worker safety and rights24.

These criticisms highlight areas where the administration’s efforts may fall short or face challenges in truly prioritizing worker safety and rights.

Source: Midtown Tribune NewsWH.gov

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