Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
11:26 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It is a great honor to welcome to our office these incredible American leaders — national leaders, labor leaders, women leaders.
I have worked with many of you for many years on many issues. And I am so looking forward to a deep-dive conversation about where we are as a country and where we can go, always thinking and motivated by, as the President likes to say, all of the possibilities, but knowing it requires coalition building. It requires organizing like only labor knows how to do. It requires having our ear on the ground and our feet on the ground, as only organized labor and unions can do, and hearing from the people and speaking with the people and on behalf of the people.
And so I’m honored to have these incredible leaders at this table with me. It is Women’s History Month. And so, in a nod to that, I will also say that we know that women are a part of the foundation of America’s labor movement from the time that we have the Washerwomen of Jackson in the 1860s, to the Triangle Shirtwaist Workers of the 1910s, to all the women who are at this table, virtually and in person.
And when we look at the state of our workforce in our country and how women are doing, we also know, even before this pandemic and the crisis that hit, there are a multitude of challenges facing women in the workforce, both in terms of wages and benefits and their safety at the job, but also in terms of their ability to organize. Ai-jen Poo, Mary Kay, so many of us have been talking about this for a long time — what we need to do around women who are in service industries, women who are in the care industry.
And then, of course, we look at the fact that during the course of the pandemic, over 2 million women left the workforce, and most of whom did not want to leave the workforce for a variety of reasons that are both about economic but also they’re professional, and goals around just them appreciating the dignity of work and their work ethic.
It has highlighted in many ways — this pandemic — the failures and the fissures in our system on every level, including women in the workforce, in the workforce in general, both around paid leave, sick leave, family leave, affordable childcare.
And so all of these are the issues that we have been working on together for years but that you in particular — these leaders — have been fighting for, for dare I say — for — on behalf of generations of workers in America.
And so I thank you for joining me today. It is great to see you all. And I look forward to our discussion. So, thank you.
END 11:29 A.M. EDT