Jul 22, 2020
Joe Biden Roundtable with SEIU Transcript July 22
Joe Biden participated virtually in a roundtable today with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where he discussed his plans to support caregivers. Read the transcript here.
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Joe Biden: (00:06)
What do the patients most miss when they talk to you about what they miss most about … Is it seeing their families? Is it seeing their grandkids? I mean, what do they talk to you most about?
Shanrika Nelson: (00:21)
They talk to me mostly about not being able to spend that quality time with their family, not being able to see them like they normally do before the pandemic started. Their family members used to visit a lot, so they are more concerned about not being able to interact with other residents, other staff, and seeing their families on the regular.
Joe Biden: (00:40)
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s a smart thing to do for … what you guys are doing. It’s about something much bigger, though. It’s about making sure we provide dignity and respect for work you do.
Shanrika Nelson: (00:55)
Joe Biden: (00:55)
I think the president has a duty to care about that, and that’s what I want to try to do with you all. I’m interrupting you here, keep going.
Shanrika Nelson: (01:06)
How significant are caregivers to you?
Joe Biden: (01:09)
Well, they are the future. Look, I look at it two ways: I had a friend who used to say, “It’s great when conscious and convenience cross paths.” My conscience knows because, look, I’ve been a significant recipient of caregiving, my mom and dad, separately, years apart, died in my home with hospice. I lost a wife and a daughter in an automobile accident, my two boys, I watched nurses and nurses’ aides nurse them back to health.
Joe Biden: (01:47)
I spent 18 months with my son Beau dying of stage-4 glioblastoma cancer, and I was hospitalized for a while, long time ago, with an aneurysm. I tell you what, doctors let you live, but nurses and nurses’ aides make you want to live. You give hope, you give hope, you’re incredibly, incredibly important to the psyche of families.
Joe Biden: (02:18)
I just can’t tell you … but secondly, you also, we’re in a situation with this pandemic where, if we do what we have to do and focus on dealing with making sure that we deal with caregivers in a way that we haven’t up to now, we can ensure in a financial burden is taken off of working families who are struggling to pay the cost of caring for their loved ones.
Joe Biden: (02:45)
In addition to that, we’re in a situation where you also deserve to be paid. Now, expanding the options for older Americans is a gigantic, gigantic opportunity, and for both in-care facilities, easing the financial burden, low- and middle-income families will, under my plan, spend no more than 7% of their income on childcare for kids under five, but also deal the same with expanding for the elder care. You got to expand options for older Americans. My plan expands options for older Americans to receive care at home as well.
Joe Biden: (03:26)
An example is, there’s a pilot program going on right now in 27 cities in 16 states where a nurse, an occupational therapist and a handyman go to visit a home of an aging family member, and they may not be able to cure Mom’s Alzheimer’s, but they can make sure she doesn’t fall and break her hip, they can walk through the house and install handrails in the right spots in the bathroom, fix the door so it doesn’t stick and she tries to open it, creating millions of jobs to help people in this economy recover.
Joe Biden: (03:58)
It saves a lot of money, it costs about 3,000 bucks to do that, but what it does is in fact saves hundreds of thousands of dollars so people aren’t hospitalized and the like. But what you do in a facility like the one you’re in is critical. You just give people hope, it really matters so much. You deserve to be paid better than you’re being paid now.
Shanrika Nelson: (04:22)
Okay, I like that.
Joe Biden: (04:24)
No, I really mean it. [crosstalk 00:04:25]
Shanrika Nelson: (04:25)
What I hear where I’m at now is staff complaining about the proper PPE that we are to use when we come to work every day. So I hear what they … the protective wear.
Joe Biden: (04:35)
Shanrika Nelson: (04:36)
This is the isolation gown that you are to pin on your body before you do any type of care on any resident in the facility. [inaudible 00:04:47] that we are to wear, something like the one that I have on, to protect your face from anything. [crosstalk 00:04:54]
Joe Biden: (04:54)
Do you have enough of the … [inaudible 00:04:59] do you have enough of the PPE in these months of late? I mean, do you have all you need?
Shanrika Nelson: (05:06)
Yes, we do. [crosstalk 00:05:07]
Joe Biden: (05:07)
Shanrika Nelson: (05:07)
I’m glad about that, because my facility, we have enough PPE, they made sure of that from the beginning. We had a glitch in the system in the beginning, but now we are fully prepared. We have everything that we possibly need.
Joe Biden: (05:24)
What’s it like getting used to wearing the PPE?
Shanrika Nelson: (05:28)
I don’t think we ever got used to it.
Joe Biden: (05:29)
Shanrika Nelson: (05:32)
It’s hot. The weather changed outside, it’s very hot to be wearing it, but we know it’s important. We have to wear it to protect ourselves.
Joe Biden: (05:39)
How do the patients respond to y’all?
Shanrika Nelson: (05:44)
They got used to it. In the beginning, they used to be like, “Are we sick? Why are we wearing this?”
Joe Biden: (05:49)
Shanrika Nelson: (05:49)
Then once they started being more educated on the importance of us having it, because they wear it as well. It’s important for them to wear it as well.
Joe Biden: (05:59)
All right. Where are you now, in a patient’s room?
Shanrika Nelson: (06:02)
Yes. Right here, I’m the resident’s room. And in this room, if it was two residents that occupied each bed, the amount of time that we would have to spend with these residents is around 15 minutes. Imagine only spending 15 minutes with a resident, especially when they need you the most. When you’re short-staffed, you can’t spend the quality time with your residents’ needs.
Joe Biden: (06:32)
What would it take to recruit more people to do what you’re doing?
Shanrika Nelson: (06:36)
Better pay wages.
Joe Biden: (06:38)
Shanrika Nelson: (06:39)
If we had better pay wages-
Joe Biden: (06:42)
Shanrika Nelson: (06:43)
-then we would be able to recruit more people.
Joe Biden: (06:45)
Well, that’s what I’m intending on making sure you’re able to do. Also, so you can also, at the same time, be in a position where you can, if you decide to, get additional training to go from being what you’re doing now as a nurse’s aide to become a practical nurse, to become a nurse. I mean, there’s ways we can do this that will greatly increase your opportunities, increase pay, increase the services that people have, and generate economic growth in the nation overall, helping everybody, because the more you get paid, the more taxes you pay; the more you spend, the more the economy grows.
Shanrika Nelson: (07:24)
Right, right. And that’s what we need them to understand.
Joe Biden: (07:28)
I understand it, we’re going to make sure everybody else understands it too. I think people are realizing it, they’re realizing one of the reasons why they’ve been able to stay safe and stay home is because people like you are out there risking your lives every day, taking care of folks who need help, and no one else can take care of, and no one else is taking care of.
Joe Biden: (07:50)
How many patients do you have on your daily routine? How many patients are you responsible for?
Shanrika Nelson: (07:57)
I’m responsible for anywhere between 13 to 15 residents a day.
Joe Biden: (08:03)
Shanrika Nelson: (08:05)
And that’s a lot, and especially because we’re short-staffed and the pay is not good.
Joe Biden: (08:11)
That is a lot. Well, my son-in-law is a surgeon in Philadelphia at Jefferson Hospital, and he tells me, it’s not the same thing, but he tells me about the incredible stress on staff and nurses’ aides and nurses that exist throughout the whole system, but you have to do it every day. Those people get to know you, don’t they, your patients? They’re looking forward to seeing you, because … what kind of questions are they asking?
Shanrika Nelson: (08:42)
They ask how long is this going to be going on, when are we going to be able to see our families?
Joe Biden: (08:49)
Shanrika Nelson: (08:49)
When are people going to open up the economy, because they want to be able to visit their family. They want to be able to see their family. They’re lonely.
Joe Biden: (08:58)
Yep. Now, do you have any mental health workers at the facility that are able to, when you need that extra help with a patient?
Shanrika Nelson: (09:10)
I didn’t hear what you said, what’d you say?
Joe Biden: (09:12)
I said, one of the things we’re finding out nationally is there’s a lot of strain on mental health, there’s a lot of concern and anxiety, and there’s a need for psychologists and others to be able to get engaged and helping people deal with what’s happening in terms of their concerns about their anxieties. Do you have folks at your facility that are able to do that, when you have a patient that’s particularly anxious about something?
Shanrika Nelson: (09:46)
Well, we used to before this pandemic, and a lot of people are not able to come into the facility, so we are the ones who are to sit there and talk to them.
Joe Biden: (09:58)
Gotcha. So there’s no staff personnel that deal with mental health problems.
Shanrika Nelson: (10:05)
Joe Biden: (10:05)
And anxiety. Okay. That’s a big issue.
Shanrika Nelson: (10:11)
Yeah, it really is, it’s a really big issue. That’s the reason why, one of the reasons why I joined a union. 10 years ago, I became a union delegate because the union allows us the opportunities to have a voice for our co-workers and for our residents.
Joe Biden: (10:32)
Shanrika Nelson: (10:36)
That’s why we need you. That’s why we need you to become president, so you can stand with us and help us with the Fight For 15 wages, affordable healthcare for all, union security, and for people to be allowed to join a union if they want to.
Joe Biden: (10:54)
Well, I guarantee you that’s my view. I’m union guy all the way through, and I think it’s the only way we can make sure that you get compensation and the patients have the best-trained people, and that you’re able to advance and learn more and more and increase your ability to give … do the job you do, and increase your pay as well.
Shanrika Nelson: (11:19)
Yeah. My long-term healthcare goal will be for us to have better staffing, better wages, job security, and you as our president.
Joe Biden: (11:35)
Well, I can get you the first three if I get to be president, but thank you very, very much for saying that. And thank you for what you do, thank you for what you do. Like I said, it’s slightly different, but I watched the nurses’ aides helping my mom in hospice and my dad in hospice, and was in my home for months. I watched how they care, I watched how critical it was, and I watched what it did to their psyche, how it just helped them. It gave them some hope.
Joe Biden: (12:21)
We going in [inaudible 00:12:22] room?
Matt Yarnell: (12:28)
Hi, Vice-President, how are you?
Joe Biden: (12:30)
Matt Yarnell: (12:31)
Good. This is Matt Yarnell, I’m president of our union, I’m super-excited to be able to jump here in for a minute while Shanrika is getting her service back up. Really appreciate you taking the time to meet with Shanrika and learn a bit more about her role as a caregiver in a nursing home. I was a former caregiver myself before I became president of our union here in Pennsylvania.
Matt Yarnell: (12:53)
Just real quick while we’re waiting for Shanrika, she lifted up, I think, the need for more staffing in nursing homes and the need to be able to really have a seat at the table when it comes to thinking about what the nursing-home industry and the long-term living industry looks like. We’re really excited to hear more from you about your thoughts on the plan that you unveiled yesterday around caregivers specifically and how we can really support the incredible work that Shanrika and her colleagues all around the country do as nursing home workers and long-term care workers.
Matt Yarnell: (13:26)
Last thing I’ll say before I let you answer that question is, COVID has wreaked havoc in a devastating way on nursing homes, we know that nationally, 57,000 deaths have been in nursing homes of nursing home residents, that’s more than 42% of the country’s deaths related to the pandemic. And in Pennsylvania specifically, we have 756 facilities where there’s been 21,000 cases, and actually about two-thirds, or 67% of the deaths in Pennsylvania have been in nursing homes. We’re really excited about the plan that you unveiled yesterday around caregiving, which is so important and wanted to hear a little more from you about how you are hoping to make advancements for folks like Shanrika who get up every day and care for those who can’t care for themselves in this country.
Joe Biden: (14:18)
Well, first of all, the caregivers in nursing homes should have a say in what they need. A lot of those places, including in your state, you pretend it isn’t true, but it is true, have not had the PPE they need to begin with. There’s an enormous burden on families financially, and there’s an enormous burden on the workers. Easing the financial burden on working families who are struggling to pay for the cost of caring for their loved ones.
Joe Biden: (14:51)
Now, no low- and middle-income family under my plan will spend more than 7% of their income, and they’re going to average, families … going to save them thousands of dollars a year. Expanding care options for older Americans, my plan expands option that, in fact … Americans receive care at home as well. For example, as I said to Shanrika, there’s a pilot program-
Shanrika Nelson: (15:19)
Joe Biden: (15:21)
I beg your pardon? I didn’t hear. Anyway, you got 800,000 folks under Medicaid, trying to figure out how they can get home care help without having to go to a nursing home, so there’s a program in 26 states where you take an occupational therapist, a nurse as well as a handyman, they come to the home of those 800,000 people, because we’re going to give the states more money to find alternatives to deal with this. And while they might not be able to cure Mom’s Alzheimer’s, but they can make sure that she doesn’t break her hip when she walks to her door, as I told Shanrika, they find handles in bathrooms and they fix doors so they don’t stick.
Joe Biden: (16:09)
They’re creating of new jobs to help the economic recovery, and elevating the pay and dignity of work as well. These workers haven’t gotten respect they need, but what it does overall, this is a win-win-win. It will increase the opportunity for caregivers to up their skills by providing for them to be able to go on and move from one level to another with the training they’ll be able to get for free, it’ll make sure we’re in a situation where the family is able-
Joe Biden: (19:12)
– low- and middle-income families going to be in a position where they can’t afford basic necessities to take care of their elderly parent or someone with a chronic disease. I’m sorry, I’m confused who I’m talking to here. But anyway, whoever it is …
Shanrika Nelson: (19:37)
Hello, Vice-President Biden. I just want to say I appreciate you doing this walk a day in my shoes, and thank you for everything.
Matt Yarnell: (19:47)
[crosstalk 00:19:47] Mr. Vice-President, I want to just say I appreciate Shanrika’s leadership here and know the technological challenges of living in the COVID world here, but she’s been an incredible leader of our union and we really look forward to working with you and your administration on the other side of this election to make sure that … the rules have been really not fair, frankly, to caregivers and nursing-home workers and to home-care workers across our country.
Matt Yarnell: (20:11)
We really look forward to working with you and your administration to make sure that folks like Shanrika, caregivers, have a seat at the table to figure out how do we come up with the solutions to make sure that people get the best care in the setting they choose and to make sure that workers have a right to be at that table, and make sure that they have a good life for the non-stop caregiving they do across this country.
Joe Biden: (20:32)
And they can also have a right to up their skillset.
Matt Yarnell: (20:36)
Joe Biden: (20:36)
They should also have a right to move beyond, if they want to, beyond where they are in terms of their skillset, to move beyond where they are and … look, Shanrika, how [inaudible 00:20:47] healthcare during this crisis?
Shanrika Nelson: (20:49)
How do I … I couldn’t hear what you said.
Joe Biden: (20:51)
I said, how has the union helped you and your colleagues during this COVID crisis?
Shanrika Nelson: (20:59)
Well, they allowed us the opportunity, they always checked up on us to make sure that our facility had the right and proper PPE, and that every day we was well taken care of. Every day, I was always on the phone with my organizer, and she was like, “Do y’all have everything y’all need for today?”
Joe Biden: (21:18)
Shanrika Nelson: (21:18)
“Are they providing everything?” So they have really been working firsthand, they have been going out to facilities, making sure that all the other facilities have proper PPEs as well. So they really had our backs during this whole pandemic.
Joe Biden: (21:31)
Now, I know you may not know the answer specifically, it may be an unfair question, but how short are you in terms of personnel in the nursing home you are dealing with? How many more people you need doing your job with you?
Shanrika Nelson: (21:47)
We need … depending on each unit, because every unit is run differently depending on the amount of residents that you have in the unit. Typically on the unit that I work, which is a short- stay unit, it holds 55 beds. So we need-
Shanrika Nelson: (22:03)
… a short stay unit, it holds 55 beds. So we need at least the ratio for residents to CNA should at least be accounted for. It needs to be looked into. So we shouldn’t have no more than eight or nine residents to one CNA, especially if you have 55 residents. No facility should have to work with 15 to 20 residents a day.
Joe Biden: (22:28)
I agree. And look, let me ask you one more question. I’m sorry to hold you up, but it’s a big help to me. What has it meant to your family? Because I’ve done a lot of interaction with the folks doing what you do in hospitals, in community centers before this as well. A lot of people are worried that when they go home, they may be bringing home to their family the virus, and maybe bringing home to their family some problem. When you leave work to go home, are there certain things you do that are different than you did before?
Shanrika Nelson: (23:24)
Well, I was saying that I was so scared in the beginning when this pandemic first came about and we was trying to protect ourselves. So I wasn’t able to see my family for like months, because I didn’t want to expose them to anything that I might come in contact with while I’m working. So it’s been a bit strained.
Joe Biden: (23:44)
Gotcha. Have any of your coworkers gotten the COVID?
Shanrika Nelson: (23:49)
Joe Biden: (23:49)
Shanrika Nelson: (23:50)
Not as I know of. I haven’t had any.
Joe Biden: (23:52)
Good. Well, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking me on your tour. Mr. President, you’re looking for me, too?
Matt Yarnell: (23:59)
I just want to swing back in. Really appreciate Shanrika for her time here today, really leading us in the first of its kind virtual Walk a Day. And thank you, Mr. Vice President, and look forward to working with you and your administration in the future here.
Matt Yarnell: (24:13)
I know we’re going to move now, I think, to the worker roundtable, and so just wanted to appreciate both of you, and I look forward to this conversation being continued as we move into the future. It’s one that’s desperately needed. So thanks so much.
Joe Biden: (24:25)
Shanrika, thank you. As my mother would say, were she’s still alive, you’re doing God’s work good.
Matt Yarnell: (24:29)
Joe Biden: (24:29)
You really are. No, you really are.
Shanrika Nelson: (24:33)
Yes. I appreciate you. Thank you so much.
Joe Biden: (24:35)
Shanrika Nelson: (24:35)
I appreciate you doing this Walk a Day in My Shoes, and closing I just want to say my job is awesome. I love working at [Somerton 00:24:43] Center, and Somerton Center and myself thank you for doing this Walk a Day today. I really appreciate it.
Joe Biden: (24:50)
I hope I can come and actually walk it with you, physically walk it with you.
Shanrika Nelson: (24:54)
I wish you could. I really do.
Joe Biden: (24:55)
All right. Thank you.
Shanrika Nelson: (24:58)
Matt Yarnell: (24:58)
Take care, stay safe.
Speaker 1: (24:59)
Before the pandemic, we were already in crisis. I’ve always been an essential worker.
Speaker 2: (25:04)
I’ve always been an essential worker.
Speaker 3: (25:06)
I have always been an essential worker.
Speaker 4: (25:08)
This is about us, the people who are working to keep this country safe, keep this country clean, keep this country safe and healthy.
Speaker 5: (25:16)
We are fighting for the right to a decent life for all working families.
Terry Thomas: (25:22)
The stakes are higher than ever. We can’t afford another four years of this. We need a change.
Joe Biden: (25:35)
Every single frontline worker should have the personal protective equipment that they need to be safe.
Nimo Ali: (25:41)
Lack of planning and willful neglect has left most of the healthcare workers at risk of contracting the virus.
Joe Biden: (25:48)
If Donald Trump prevails in court, insurers would be allowed once again to strip away coverage, jack up premiums, simply because of the battle they survived fighting coronavirus.
Rhonda Miller: (26:01)
No matter what my gender is, what my job is, what my race is. Everyone deserves a good quality of life.
Joe Biden: (26:10)
Everyone in this room should have a minimum starting at $15 an hour wage across the board.
Speaker 6: (26:17)
We need a union to fight for better wages. We need a union to fight for better benefits.
Joe Biden: (26:24)
Only one way you can fight back power is with more power, and that’s union power. We should unionize McDonald.
Debra Dawson: (26:35)
Unions have to be on the forefront of bringing people together and changing our country.
Bobby Roy: (26:39)
Unions are social justice organizations.
Pamela Owens: (26:42)
Racial justice is a situation that we’ve been dealing with all our lives.
Joe Biden: (26:47)
We can’t leave this moment thinking that we can once again turn away and do nothing. The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism.
Perla Canales: (26:56)
I’m coming this country in 1993 when my husband passed away. I have four children. I has to make a hard decision for better life for my kids. My life is in the finger for this administration.
Joe Biden: (27:13)
On day one, I’m going to stand the legislative immigration reform bill to Congress, provide a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Bobby Roy: (27:23)
Working people and our families need to be engaged in the civic engagement process.
Vivian Deniston: (27:27)
Something is going to happen. There’s going to be a change. A really good change. It’s going to be Joe Biden.
Speaker 7: (27:38)
He is for equality, fair housing, affordable healthcare. He is for the people.
Chris Ellis: (27:46)
To me, it’s a clear choice to vote for Biden.
Vivian Deniston: (27:48)
He’s going to be the president.
Tsoganesh Endogoshet: (27:50)
It’s supposed to Joe Biden.
Terry Thomas: (27:51)
I’m going to use that same energy to get Joe Biden in for President. You’ve got to win.
Mary Kay Henry: (29:41)
Hello. Welcome to the essential worker round table with Vice President Joe Biden. I’m Mary Kay Henry president of SEIU and I’m so proud to welcome you, Mr. Vice president, for the amazing work that you’ve done in making crystal clear to everyone in this nation that you see care workers and you feel their immense difference they make each and every day and yesterday you told the nation that you’re going to make care jobs the cornerstone of the next American economy. That includes all of us.
Mary Kay Henry: (30:16)
And we’re so, so proud of your commitment to that and your absolute clarity about the way in which working people have power across the service sector in this country is through their union. So thank you for joining us. Thank you for that amazing Walk a Day that you just did with Shanrika. You are making history in so many ways, Mr. Vice-president. That’s a first ever for SEIU to do a virtual Walk a Day through a nursing home. Thank you and welcome. And we’ve been joined by these other essential workers that I’m proud to introduce you to, but let me just pause for a second to welcome you, Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (30:59)
Mary Kay, it’s great to see you and all the frontline workers. You risk your lives every time you go to work and the question is how to protect y’all and to make sure you get respect that you deserve. But Mary Kay, I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I’ve been the recipient of the incredible work, my family and my extended family, that all the people on this call do. And it really makes a difference. You change people’s lives. And a lot of people wouldn’t be able to live the lives they’re living now without you. They’d be in real, real trouble.
Joe Biden: (31:44)
Anyway, why don’t I, as my mother would say, hush up, and [crosstalk 00:31:48] whatever you want me to do next. But Mary Kay, thanks for being my friend, thanks for the support. And by the way, this is a case where not only have an opportunity to make sure we provide better care and affordable care to more and more people, particularly in that sandwich generation, those who are taking care of a mom and taking care of a child at the same time, as well as making sure that we provide more jobs, better paying jobs and more respect for the people providing that kind of care.
Joe Biden: (32:21)
And the consequence of all that, even the people who aren’t crazy about my ideas acknowledge that this will in fact increase economic growth and everything gets better. The economy will grow. We can employ by this program over the next four years about 5 million people, better pay people and put people back to work who in fact can’t work now because they can’t afford the care and people who can afford it, who are providing the care, they’ll be able to afford to live because they’ll get a decent wage. And now we’re going to employ more people.
Joe Biden: (32:53)
So there’s a lot going on here. As you heard me say before Mary Kay, and I’ll stop, my mother used to say, ” Everything terrible, Joey, something good will come if you look hard enough for it.” This is an opportunity. An opportunity for us to deal with systemic racism, systemic inequity, as well as providing a better life for an awful lot of people.
Mary Kay Henry: (33:14)
Great. Thank you so much, Mr. Vice-president. We’re going to do a rapid fire round from the caregivers in the healthcare sector, home care and hospitals. Then we’re going to deal with two leaders that are confronting corporate power in fast- food and airlines. And then we want to tackle with you the anti-immigrant, anti-Black racism that’s raging in this country and what our union is doing to unite with you to end it once and for all. And then we want to wrap it up with investing in public service work at a state and local level.
Joe Biden: (33:50)
Mary Kay Henry: (33:51)
So I’m going to introduce Suk Kim is part Of our incredible home care leadership team. Suk, welcome.
Joe Biden: (34:00)
I can’t hear you, Suk. You got to press-
Mary Kay Henry: (34:06)
Suk, we can’t hear you.
Speaker 8: (34:08)
Joe Biden: (34:08)
The button, yes.
Joe Biden: (34:19)
We can’t hear you, sorry.
Mary Kay Henry: (34:22)
So I’m going to move to Marlin and then come back to you, Suk. We’ll figure out the audio. Marlyn.
Marlyn Hoilette: (34:31)
Hi, my name is Marlyn Hoilette. I am a member of 1199 SEIU Healthcare, union workers in Florida. I’m a proud immigrant from the Island of Jamaica. I’ve been a registered nurse for 24 years.
Joe Biden: (34:49)
God loves you.
Marlyn Hoilette: (34:51)
As healthcare workers, we are the ones on the frontline every day taking care of patients. Safety is our number one issue. I believe the safety of patients, workers and families is far more important than healthcare organization’s profits. We don’t have hazard pay and we are pressured to return to work before having enough time to take care of our loved ones if they get sick. All healthcare workers should get personal and family medical leave. We’re given non-branded mask-
Joe Biden: (35:29)
I lost her.
Marlyn Hoilette: (35:37)
… top of that, my coworkers and I contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. It was very devastating for all. Some coworkers were even hospitalized with severe symptoms of COVID-19, which was very sad. For me, I quarantined at home in my room. I took my medications on my own. My son and my husband moved downstairs and would bring food to my door. It was a very frightening experience for them, but they took the best care of me.
Marlyn Hoilette: (36:22)
I am a fighter, and that’s why I’m here to share my experience today and to tell the stories of my coworkers. Without saying, it goes that we need proper PPE. Here in Florida, COVID-19 is on the rise and I am worried that my coworkers and myself might not survive a second time. Our lives are literally on the line in this election. My union members and myself, including Suk, risk over lives every day we go to work. Mr. Biden, as president, how could you protect us [inaudible 00:37:06]?
Joe Biden: (37:07)
First of all, let me say to you that if there are any angels in heaven, they’re all nurses, male and female. I spent a total of seven months and three months in ICU. I watched them take care of my son who was dying of a glioblastoma for 14 months. I watched them when my wife and daughter were killed, bring my boys back because they were in the same automobile when the tractor-trailer hit them. And as I said earlier, doctors let you live, nurses make you want to live. You have that special thing. You give hope, the mere fact that you’re there. You guys don’t even, I think, sometimes realize it. You lie there and you look at that screen in the ICU and you know if the line goes flat, you’re gone. But you don’t care after a while. You don’t really care, even if you’re not in pain, you just get tired of it. And I had nurses at Walter Reed hospital who would bend down and whisper in my year.
Marlyn Hoilette: (38:13)
Joe Biden: (38:13)
And go home and get me pillows. They would make sure… Actually, probably nothing ever taught in-
Joe Biden: (46:47)
(Silence) …sure you and your coworkers and others get paid and people are able to go back to work. That family you’re helping out. If you didn’t show up, they wouldn’t be able to go to work. And so you’re going to put them back to work, but we’re going to also put a lot more care workers to work. We’re going to bring more people in with you to make sure that you are able to continue to provide the services that in many cases are life and death for people. It’s gigantic what you’re doing. And so don’t ever run yourself down based on you’re from South Korea or anywhere else. Let me tell you something, the reason were so strong as an ancient because we are a nation of immigrants. That’s why we are strong. No, I really mean it. I’m not just trying to be nice. It’s the God’s truth, because what people don’t understand, as I said once to a world leader, the reason why we do so well is we’re the most unique nation in the world.
Joe Biden: (47:44)
As a nation of immigrants, we’ve been able to pick the best from every single culture, it took courage 40 years ago for your family to pick up and move. It took courage for my great grandfather to get on a coffin ship in the Irish sea to come to the United States of America. It took courage, optimism, determination. That’s why we’re who we are. So don’t let anybody convince you, you are not American in every single way. It’s an idea. We’re an idea. It’s not based on an ethnicity or race. I’m sorry to get so worked up about it, but it makes me so angry when I find that people based on the color of their skin or their national origin are somehow viewed in a different way.
Joe Biden: (48:34)
And look what he’s doing now. He’s blaming everything on China. He’s blaming everything on the Chinese. He blaming everything, and people don’t make a distinction as you well know, from a South Korean and someone from Beijing, they make no distinction. It’s Asian.And he’s just using it as a wedge. If he had moved, when he should have moved. When we knew about this, Columbia School of… In New York pointed out, there’d be 57,000 more people alive today if we moved just two weeks earlier, he’s trying to shift the blame. You deserve [crosstalk 00:49:12]
Mary Kay Henry: (49:11)
And we love it when you get angry Mr. Vice President, and Suk is as angry as you are. We really appreciate your passion. Thank you so much [crosstalk 00:49:21]
Joe Biden: (49:20)
Really. You know, I mean this. This is [crosstalk 00:49:22]
Mary Kay Henry: (49:23)
I know you do. I know you do. [crosstalk 00:49:25] …for your amazing leadership from SEIU 2015, and now I’m going to turn to Adriana Alvarez a movement leader in the global fight for 15, and a union. Adriana is from Illinois, Mr. Vice president. And she wants to tell you her story. Adriana?
Adriana Alvarez: (49:44)
Thank you, Mary Kay. Hello, Vice President.
Joe Biden: (49:47)
How are you?
Adriana Alvarez: (49:48)
I’m good. Like she said my name is Adriana Alvarez. I’m a crew member at McDonald’s. I’ve been there for almost nine years now. I a single mom of an eight year old boy. His name is Manny. And we’ve been struggling way before the pandemic. We live in a basement that frequently floods. I have to use sub pumps to be able to get all the water out. If there’s too much rain it’s overwhelming. I can barely afford to pay the day to day things that my son needs, or if we have to go to doctor visits I work for McDonald’s.
Adriana Alvarez: (50:24)
I don’t get any kind of benefits. I’m making poverty wages. Even with this pandemic pay, it’s hard to make ends meet. And this national COVID crisis has brought on new and difficult challenges for me and my son. There’s no school I have to deal with. Who’s going to babysit him while I work. It’s just too much. And like most fast food companies McDonald’s has deemed us essential workers, but they have yet to treat us as such. My take home pay and work schedules are all over the place. We are instructed to wear masks and gloves, but our store is so small. There’s no way that we can do the six feet social distancing. And it’s just extremely risky. They’re lobbying against providing paid sick leave to its employees. McDonald’s is lobbying against paid sick leave at a time where we need it the most.
Adriana Alvarez: (51:20)
And not just at my store, but a lot of these stores, it’s working mothers who are at risk for our kids’ safety because we’re in the middle of this. And our duties, we’re essential. Our work shifts are essential and I’m constantly worried about getting me myself sick or coming home and spreading it to my son. And I try not to explain it to him. He’s only eight. I want him to have a childhood. I don’t want him to worry about me. He’s already so worrisome about me. I don’t want to add to that. So no parent who works hard and plays by the rules should have to go through what McDonald’s is putting us through. We help them make billions of dollars in profit and I just don’t think it’s fair that they’re abusing us this way. And I know that Peggy knows exactly what I’m talking about and I’m going to turn it over to her so she can give us a little bit about her story.
Joe Biden: (52:17)
Peggy Vonner: (52:18)
Hi, Mr. Vice president. Thank you. My name is Peggy Vonner and I work at Bush International airport and I’ve been furloughed since March. And I am worried when I go back to work that I might catch the COVID-19 because my workplace isn’t taking it seriously because of my age and like of insurance. I know I’m at high risk and I shouldn’t have to choose between paying bills or survival in my industry that’s been taking care of the billions and bailout money. I don’t see how the industry is taking care of me or other workers. When we don’t have hazard pay or safety guidelines, we need to hold industry like mines accountable to make sure they use bail out money to directly benefit workers with health care, sustaining wages, benefits, corporates like McDonald’s, and United Airlines need to pay their fair share. Vice President, Biden as president, how would you work for us?
Joe Biden: (53:37)
Well, first of all, I’ve said from the very start I’m running to rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class, and this time to make sure everyone comes along. Wall street didn’t build this country, the middle class did. And unions built the middle class. Unions are the ones keeping the barbarians at the gate. There used to be a basic bargain in America, working to help make a business successful, got to share in the profits. If an enterprise hit hard times, everyone took a hit up and down the line from the secretary to the CEO. Today that bargain has been broken. Now the only people of benefit when the company does well are the CEOs and the shareholders and the only people that get hurt when the company hits rough times are the workers. There was a study at the University of Massachusetts done from a 10 year study from 2003 to 2012.
Joe Biden: (54:32)
It’s going to get a little wonky here, but I always talk about it because it’s important to focus on. 54% of the frontline of the fortune 500 companies, profits went back to buying, they made over $2 trillion over that period of time. Okay? 54% of that went back to buying back their stock, which increased the value of the stock that was left. And that’s how CEOs get paid mostly. 37% of that went to making sure that they paid dividends to their stockholders. 9% was left for research, training, equipment, salaries, growth, it’s wrong. The people who do the work should share in the gains. This administration doesn’t believe in accountability instead of getting relief to working families and main street businesses, the president’s bumping his corporate pals to the front of the line, with all this aid that’s coming out of the Congress and bailing out big corporations that isn’t going to their employees and it’s not helping main street workers, 40% of all the additional small business money that was going out there, didn’t get to small businesses at all.
Joe Biden: (55:48)
The single biggest recipient of this have been hotel executives and major Trump donors. And the president has weakened safety regulations restricted over time period. And we all work as a lot better deal. Governments should not only defend workers rights to organize, but encourage collective bargaining across the board. And, look, I’ll fight for workers and union paid. Everyone should be entitled to sick leave and a minimum wage of 15 bucks an hour, not as a ceiling, but as a floor. Require employees to provide fair scheduling. You should have a saying in it. Crack down on employers who are trying to block organizing, including holding CEOs accountable for labor law violations. We got to make sure that federal contracting dollars only go to employees who support unions. We’re going to lay out a bold plan to build back better that, and that means union jobs.
Joe Biden: (56:42)
Let’s go back and talk about what’s happening to you in firms of, well, let me… If we’re going to revitalize this country, we got to make sure we invest in things that are going to create good union jobs. There are a few things that are going on here. Number one, McDonald’s, let’s take a look at McDonald’s I’m going on too long. And I apologize, but let me talk about McDonald’s for a second. McDonald’s making billions of dollars, but here’s the deal they’ve made you all sign non-compete contracts that you cannot go across town to try to get a job at Burger King. And maybe, and I’m not saying you could, but you get 10 cents an hour more. People who are hourly workers are required to sign non-compete, I will not go anywhere to any business, like the one I’m in, to get a raise.
Joe Biden: (57:37)
What the hell is that all about? It’s all about suppressing your wages. It’s unfair. They should be eliminated these noncompete agreements. Secondly, we should be able to unionize, McDonald’s not based on [inaudible 00:57:49] across the board. They should be able to utilize each of these franchises. That’s what we should be able to do. And I’m going to make sure that is able to be done under the law, and any company that tries to stop that from happening will pay a penalty and a price. You talk about what’s going on, and if you get back to work at the airline, well, if you’re a sanitation worker going in and making sure that you’re going to make sure that other people don’t get sick, we should take care of you. You should be getting a premium pay. You should be having all the equipment and needs.
Joe Biden: (58:25)
You have to make sure that you do not get the virus. In addition to that, we should make sure that the airlines know that they have to be part of what I’m going to guarantee happens. There’s going to be paid sick leave and family leave for every worker in America. It’s only basic, my dad used to have an expression. And I said, apologize for Mary Kay, she’s heard me, we’ve become friends for so long she heard me say it, but it was really what he’d say, because he lost the job. He never went to college. He knew what it was like, the bust his neck. And he’d said, “Joe, a job’s about a lot more than the paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, honey is going to be okay and mean it.” That’s the minimum we should be able to do.
Joe Biden: (59:20)
So, the reason I’m confident, I’m going to be able, if I’m president, get paid family leave and sick leave and make sure we have minimum wages that are increased, and a label to organize is two reasons. One, the American public knows you guys are the ones that have kept them safe. It’s not a joke. Not a joke. You’re the ones who have kept them safe. You’re the ones that allowed them [crosstalk 00:59:49] You really have. And the [crosstalk 00:59:50] …taken off, and they went, “Oh, my Lord, I didn’t realize this.” And they really didn’t. Wasn’t they don’t care, they didn’t think about it. When I tell people about noncompete agreements, you can’t go across town and try to get a 10 cent or a dollar raise. They go, “How can they do that?” They’re doing it to millions of workers. It’s Wrong. It’s going to end I promise you. [crosstalk 01:00:17]
Mary Kay Henry: (01:00:16)
And that’s why we’re so committed to building America back better with you, Mr. Vice President. [crosstalk 01:00:25]
Joe Biden: (01:00:25)
Well, we really can’t, Mary. [crosstalk 01:00:27] I am optimistic.
Mary Kay Henry: (01:00:29)
Yeah. I agree with you. I agree. We have three more leaders we wanted you to hear from. And then your closing remarks. [crosstalk 01:00:38]
Joe Biden: (01:00:39)
…all too long. I apologize.
Mary Kay Henry: (01:00:42)
That’s all right. We’re concerned about your time. I welcome at Ambar Arellano and Joe Prather, and then once they finished, we’ll see Helen Esposito come on. Oh, I think Helen’s joining us now. Wonderful.
Joe Biden: (01:00:55)
Hey, Helen. [crosstalk 01:00:56]
Mary Kay Henry: (01:00:55)
Do you want to kick us off? Ambar is your sound open?
Ambar Arellano: (01:01:03)
Oh, hi. Hello. Hello. My name is Ambar Arellano. I’m a janitor from Seattle Washington, and I’m an [inaudible 01:01:14] member of SEIU local six. And well, as a Mexican ,I’m too familiar with the type of racial hate Suk talk about earlier I’m a janitor, and my job can’t be done from home. Even in this pandemic, I have to work every day, risking my health and my family’s to keep buildings clean and safe for others. Many janitors who keep our country safe and running are immigrants. Their bosses abuse their power by using the lack of a status of the workers against them. These bosses pay workers without paper, less than minimum wage.
Ambar Arellano: (01:01:54)
They threaten to have the immigrants janitors deported if they speak up about safety hazards or try to organize a union for better conditions. Well, this isn’t right. Employers should not be allowed to abuse their power and influence. No working person in our country should be voiceless no matter what they look like, where they from, and what they do for a living. This is how they try to divide us against each other, the same way they try to divide immigrants and black workers in APA, and [inaudible 01:02:33] …Latino workers against each other. So, well, I’m going to hand it over to Joey. Who is going to ask you a question about that.
Joe Biden: (01:02:41)
Okay. Thank you.
Ambar Arellano: (01:02:42)
Joe Prather: (01:02:45)
Hello, Mr. Vice President. My [crosstalk 01:02:47] My name is Joe Prather. I live in Ellenwood, Georgia. Right outside of Atlanta. We was taught 401 years ago that the first boatload of slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. After that blacks experienced slavery, they was tortured. Some escaped. Women was raped. Some was lynched. Families were separated. And then we had the Civil War. Shortly after that slavery was abolished. It still wasn’t good for blacks. They had less assets to home ownerships, to education, social security. And years after that, we had the civil right movement. We marched, we protest. We fought for voter rights. We was attacked by dogs, beat by the police, sprayed now with fire hoses. And some of our great leaders was assassinated. Despite all of that history, black people in this country, including myself have managed not only to survive, but in many cases strive.
Joe Prather: (01:03:58)
I work at Marsha Distribution Center. There I’m a equipment operator. It’s a great union job. I’ve been there for 28 years. I also met my beautiful wife there. Also, I was able to send my daughter to college. There’s a lot I could do myself, but it’s one thing I can’t do myself. Mr. Vice president, I can’t overturn systemic racism that black Americans face every day. Mr. Biden, no one in this country will truly be free until this country is free of systemic racism. We know it’s not just a black problem. It’s an American problem. And with that being said, I have two questions to you, Mr. President, if you’re elected the next president of the United States, what would you do to set America free by ending systemic racism? And what would you do to help all of us, no matter who we are. Black, white, Brown, native born, or immigrants like my sister Ambar, here stand to fight systemic racism.
Joe Biden: (01:05:09)
Should I say the question now or is another speaker?
Mary Kay Henry: (01:05:12)
Thank you so much, Mr. Vice president. Joe, that was such a powerful question. I just want to get Helen Esposito in, Mr. Vice President, and then [crosstalk 01:05:21]
Joe Biden: (01:05:21)
Then I’ll answer all three.
Mary Kay Henry: (01:05:23)
Fabulous. Thank you. Helen?
Helen Esposito : (01:05:26)
Hi, good afternoon, Vice President. It’s an honor to get to meet and speak with you. I’ve been an employee with the New York State Department of Labor since April of 1993. I started out as an inter clerk, and in 2000 I became an adjudicator or better known labor service representative. I’ve worked through several emergency situations since then. I’ve worked through 9/11, the airline recession crash following, Hurricane Sandy, two major floods in the upstate region, the recession from 2008 to 2014 and now will be instruct by COVID-19. When COVID-19 hit us, it’s 10 times worse than all of the-
Helen Esposito : (01:06:03)
When COVID-19 hit us, it’s 10 times worse than all of those put together. We could not have expected the enormity of the situation, nor were we prepared at all. The record number of those affected and out of work, not only here in New York, but the seven surrounding states of people who work within the state has resulted in myself and my coworkers working seven days a week for 12 hour days. As a mother and grandmother, I’m extremely worried about the economic impact COVID is having on our nation.
Helen Esposito : (01:06:32)
Today, many of my colleagues across the nation of fighting layoffs and we’re all facing cuts nationwide. Prior to my going out of surgery recently, I never saw my family. I would only come home, eat, drink, sleep, get up, start all over again. Seven days a week. Sadly, my colleagues are facing many hardships at this time. We are in need of funding and other resources so that we can be prepared in case something like this reoccurs. Instead of fixing the problem, some states are just laying off people because they’re not getting the support they need from the federal government.
Helen Esposito : (01:07:07)
Senator Republicans have not acted on the HEROES Act, which we are still waiting on. So far, I am lucky and not in a state where layoffs are occurring. I have been out of work at one time and I’ve never forgotten what that was. This makes me a better adjudicator when I’m helping the many people who are facing the unknowns of today and tomorrow. Those of whom we have elected placed into office need to do more. They need to make sure that people can maintain a roof over their head, food in their bellies, and a sustainable life for their children. Mr. Biden, Vice President Biden, my question to you is this. How important is it for Congress to continue to provide support for the states, the cities, the communities, so that we don’t have people consistently being laid off, losing their jobs, and also them failing to invest in our communities all over once again?
Joe Biden: (01:08:03)
Well, each one of those questions is profound and they each… Or as we used to say, it’s an essay answer. And I could go on for an hour in each one of them, but let me start and work my way backwards here. Okay? I want to say that the work you’re doing in New York is really important. It starts off with making sure that you’re you got lucky. You got lucky and lucky that you have a governor who’s a real person, understands what’s going on. Leadership matters. It matters who’s in charge, number one.
Joe Biden: (01:08:42)
Number two, I’ve been through each of those terrible situations you’ve talked about. I was a Senator. I got elected and I was 29 years old when Dr. King was assassinated and Bobby Kennedy. 1968 I graduated and I got elected in 1972 and [inaudible 01:09:03] to take office. And so, I’ve been through each of those crises you talked about, and my deceased wife is from New York, upstate New York in the Finger Lakes region. And I went to Syracuse. So I’m familiar with your state. Here’s the point I want to make to you. When we had the financial crisis and the collapse of the economy, what the president did is he turned to me and he had me personally handle the so called Recovery Act. That required the distribution of $840 billion, almost a trillion dollars in 18 months to keep the economy from going into a depression. I handled it personally, myself, all of it. And the deal was that we knew, first of all, I knew I spent time with 157 mayors, every governor, but one, the governor from Alaska. And the vast majority of the people who were county executives and elected officials. And what we did, we were able to get out to the states and the counties and localities because each of the states, and you all know this, have to balance their budget.
Joe Biden: (01:10:13)
There’s a reason why the founders are wise enough not to require the federal government to have to balance its budget. Because in times of critical emergencies, they could step in and fill the void. So what we did, we saved as you well know in New York State millions of jobs across the nation. Teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, first responders across the board. State employees did not have to be laid off. And that’s why we were able to go through with virtually no lay off of employees who needed to get the job done for the rest of the country, including everything from janitorial staff in schools, the bus drivers, as well as the teachers and the principals.
Joe Biden: (01:10:58)
And so we need to pass the HEROES Act, which has money for the states to be able to sustain their ability to fight the crisis, not increase unemployment, and provide for a way forward for people. And you have the majority leader in the United States Senate, Mitch McConnell saying let them go bankrupt. Let them go bankrupt? The states? That is absolutely a stupid thing to say. And I don’t usually say those kinds of things about senators. So we have to pass the HEROES Act and we’ll get that done. I did it myself. I managed every single penny that went through that personally. And we had overseers. We had inspectors general that I met with once every two weeks as to make sure I could account for where every dollar went. What’s this president done? He’s fired every inspector general. We have no notion where the money’s going, except we know it’s not getting the people that deserve it. So that’s for number one. And getting the states and cities the essential money they need is critical. The pandemic slammed the states and we know what’s going on.
Joe Biden: (01:12:15)
With regard to Joe’s question, and Joe, you talked about an awful lot. Right now, we’re all in mourning because John Lewis was the moral compass, has always knew where it pointed and which direction to march. His life reminds us that the most powerful symbol of what it means to be an American is what we do with the time we have to make a promise of our nation real. And there’s so much work to be done. Our country is really in an anguish and anger over the systemic racism that still infects every part of our society. Brown, black, the whole communities of color bearing the brunt of every day of today’s crisis, just as they have from the time, as you said, Joe, from 400 years past. This has to be a wake up call for our nation, a call to action. It’s long past time for us to fully confront systemic racism and our growing economic inequity, to deal with the denial of our nation’s promise for so many, for so long.
Joe Biden: (01:13:20)
So as president, I’m going to fight every day to lead some of those changes and I’m going to listen. I laid out an initial steps that Congress should be taken immediately to deal with police reform, to hold all police to a high standard, because most of them meet the standard. Those who don’t should be held accountable. I’m going to invest in shifting our criminal focus from incarceration to prevention, ending cash bail, diverting drug offenders to rehabilitation. I set up drug courts. That’s where they should be going to mandatory rehab instead of going into prison.
Joe Biden: (01:13:49)
We need to do a lot more. We need a lot more than police and criminal justice reform if we’re going to address the systemic racism to help level out these inequities. I’m going to fight to end the deadly health inequities that COVID has amplified. Expand Obamacare with a public health option, meaning a Medicare option for the fastest path to universal care. I’m going to double the funding for community health care centers and the vital frontline workers. I’m going to make all coronavirus treatment and vaccines free for everyone. It’s necessary. We’re going to fight to give every child the same strong start in life. I’m going to make sure that Title I schools, the poor school districts, provide pre-K for everybody. You close the gap between rich and poor schools by tripling that funding from $15 to $45 billion a year. Make public colleges free for any family earning less than $125,000 a year. Modernize our broken immigration system. I’m going to send legislation on immigration reform to Congress on day one, providing a roadmap to citizens for the 11 million undocumented folks we have in this country that make our community so much stronger. I’m going to keep families together.
Joe Biden: (01:15:01)
That’s the essence of my whole notion, dealing with… You’re trying to tell me I’m supposed to stop, but I have more to say here. Above all, any lasting change has to include genuine economic justice. And until we close the racial wealth and income gaps, we’re never going to realize our promises as a nation. Unions are the key to supporting better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Helen Esposito : (01:15:26)
Joe Biden: (01:15:28)
They really are. Let me remind you why Dr. King was in Memphis on the day he was assassinated. He was there to stand with sanitation workers. That’s why he was there. People forget it. It’s about their dignity. It’s about who they were as human beings. I got the Dr. King award. I went to Memphis to his room. It’s exactly like it was the day he got shot. Exactly the same coffee cups, everything. He was an incredible man. He fought for economic justice. A fight for worker power and a fight for racial equality is all one fight.
Helen Esposito : (01:16:05)
Joe Biden: (01:16:06)
I’m not only going to defend workers’ rights to organize. I’m going to encourage collective bargaining. As I said, I’ll ban right to work laws, get rid of noncompete agreements, fight for equal pay and sick leave and overtime pay. Boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour, benefiting workers. There’s so much we can do. And we finally have the public with us.
Joe Biden: (01:16:28)
Mary Kay’s heard me say this. I was up in Massachusetts and I was with… the ShopRite was trying to reduce the pay in healthcare after they made $4 billion, their parent company for the union. And I wanted to ask them to go up there and speak. And so I spoke, I’m standing there and there’s about 600 to 800 people in the parking lot of this place. And I found out that somewhere between 70% to 80% weren’t union members, they were hourly workers who realize the only reason they have the rights they have is because of unions. So it’s a different thing. Chambers of commerce have been working and make unions the boogeyman for everybody.
Joe Biden: (01:17:16)
And we actually had hourly workers that then support us. Now they understand the circumstance has changed. It’s changed. So we’re going to be in a position to fundamentally change the ability of people to be able to make a decent wage, to be treated with dignity. It’s a beginning. Then the last thing I’ll point out is that we desperately need to increase the opportunity for black folks and brown folks and Asians, the AAPI folks to be able to be entrepreneurs themselves. It to be that they thought they couldn’t do as well.
Joe Biden: (01:17:56)
All the data shows they are just as good as entrepreneurs as anyone else. But guess what? They can’t get the loans. So I’m going to double the amount of money, state and local, small businesses have to provide entrepreneurial loans to people. And I’m bringing billions of dollars off the sidelines. Secondly, we’re going to make sure that you think about this, how we work it. We have a circumstance where Joe, if you and I buy the same home built by the same builder in two different neighbors at either side of the highway, with exact same home, exact same lot. We both move in. The day we move in, if you live in a predominantly black neighborhood and I live in a predominantly white neighborhood, my home is valued at 23% higher than your home. Same exact home, same material, same everything.
Joe Biden: (01:18:52)
If in fact black homes were valued at the same price that white homes of similar nature were valued because they’re not in black neighborhoods, it would increase by $158 billion the wealth in the pocket of African American families. Just to give you an example. We have to make sure that there’s access. That’s why I think every new homeowner in these times should get a $15,000 tax credit. A $15,000 tax credit, which is a down payment to be able to go out and buy a home. That’s how we’re going to increase hundreds of millions of dollars in rental housing that’s available to people. No one should pay more than 30% of their income for housing. But point of all this is I’m not just spending the money. All the economic experts point out how much money that pours back into the economy, how much more money that provides for people, how it grows the gross domestic product, how we all benefit.
Joe Biden: (01:19:53)
It’s time we start thinking wisely and you can’t do it unless we bring along everybody. Look, I just want to say thanks. And Mary Kay, as you know I get awfully passionate about a lot of this, but this is in our wheel house. We can do this, but folks, it’s not just enough to elect me president. You got to go out and up and down the ticket. We got to elect a democratic Senate. We got increased the number of members of the House of Representatives for Democrats. We’re going to need the help. It matters who your mayor is. It matters who your county executive is. It matters who your local officials.
Joe Biden: (01:20:36)
As John Lewis, who was a friend of mine, said, “The most powerful tool we have is to vote.” To vote, to vote, to vote. I want to thank Mary Kay and the union for the endorsement you gave me. But I also want to strongly encourage you. This is a chance in a lifetime we have here. It would be called an inflection point, particularly on race. Back when I was a kid in high school, Will Connor and his dogs would [inaudible 01:21:06] those lovely elderly ladies going to church in their Sunday best dress with little kids. And he [inaudible 01:21:14] their dogs on them and fire hoses, ripping the skin off of them. You know what happened? What happened was the rest of the country who didn’t have black populations heard this happened. All of a sudden, they saw it on black and white TV screens. And you know what Dr. King said? They thought Will Connor and the segregation [inaudible 01:21:33] putting a wooden stake in the heart of the Civil Right Movement. And he pointed out, they generated the second emancipation, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. It passed because people said, oh my God, it really happens. I don’t have my cell phone on me, but that cell phone, with millions all across America, were not for that 15 or 16 year old kid who for eight minutes and 46 seconds taped what happened to George Floyd, people didn’t believe it. They didn’t think those things really happened, but now they saw it. They saw it clearly. They saw his nose pressed up against that curb. How many times he said, “I can’t breathe.” How many times he called for his mama. His mama.
Joe Biden: (01:22:19)
And they saw it, and now they’re tired. You have 78% of white folks out there saying that black lives matter. Black lives matter. I had a neighbor who’s a Republican, not across the little pond I live on, and put up a sign on their property so I could see it. Black lives matter. This is a time to take advantage of what we have. Let’s not miss it, but you got to vote. You’ve got to vote.
Mary Kay Henry: (01:22:52)
We agree with you, Mr. Vice President. This is our time. We are committed to build back better with you and end systemic racism in America once and for all, and to check corporate power by building union power. So we look forward to doing that with you. Thank you for seeing caregivers. Thank you for seeing and hearing each of our stories. And we are going to go get our texting, our phoning, our virtual turnout, and show up and vote in numbers like never before. Thank you so much for listening to us today.
Joe Biden: (01:23:29)
Well, thanks so much [inaudible 01:23:32].
Mary Kay Henry: (01:23:30)
Thanks to Amber and to Marlin and [inaudible 01:23:34] and Joe and Helen and Adrianna and Peggy, thank you so much for your leadership on behalf of millions of servicing care workers.
Joe Biden: (01:23:43)
Well, let me tell you something [crosstalk 01:23:45]. Last comment I’ll make. If every hedge fund manager quit tomorrow, we’d still survive. If all of a sudden, every single person in your union went on strike, America could not survive. No, I’m not joking.
Helen Esposito : (01:24:04)
Joe Biden: (01:24:05)
If everybody in the IBW decided they’re not going to work tomorrow, guess what? And by the way, you were talking about when your basement floods and because you’re home with your kid, that kind of thing. Well, make sure you do something that I bet you haven’t done. Remember, when that person out there clearing out that sewer to keep your basement flood more, go say thank you. Thank them.
Speaker 9: (01:24:32)
Joe Biden: (01:24:35)
Think about it. We don’t thank people enough. Even those of us and even those of you were working like hell. Think about how many times we don’t thank people. It matters. It matters.
Helen Esposito : (01:24:49)
Joe Biden: (01:24:51)
Thank all of you. Appreciate it. Mary Kay. I love you. Thanks.
Mary Kay Henry: (01:24:54)
Love you, Mr. Vice President. Thank you. Thanks to all of our incredible leaders. Thank you for your leadership.
Joe Biden: (01:25:00)