The following was released by SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri Kansas President Greg Kelley regarding the today’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris:
“For the over 90,000 low-wage healthcare workers in our union, today marks both an end to four desperately bleak years and the beginning of a much-needed period of recovery. When the now former occupant of the White House moved in four years ago, our members were amongst the first in this country to feel the pain of his cruel indifference to the suffering inflicted by economic disparities, his openly racist and xenophobic policies, his open encouragement of racist and hate-fueled violence. And when COVID-19 hit, the administration’s denial of and refusal to address the crisis left our members exposed and vulnerable to the hardest blows of this pandemic—from economic instability to disproportionate numbers of illness and deaths. As if those betrayals were not enough, our members also faced an onslaught of attacks on their rights as workers, their rights to organize, to stand up for themselves and those they care for, even their right to speak out.
“We fought and fought hard over the past four years and especially over the past 10 months to counteract the impacts of this failed leadership, the indifference, greed and often-open encouragement of violence against black and brown families and black and brown communities. And, now, we are glad to see an end to the divisive politics and rhetoric of the previous administration
“But today is, more importantly, a day of new hope for workers, their families and their communities—and especially of new hope for our members, a largely black and brown workforce serving at the very frontlines of this pandemic.
“We celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris today and we celebrate the policies they have offered forth to date. These are crucial steps in the right direction for immediate action on the pandemic, for economic relief, for the provision of much needed healthcare, child care and home care services, for workers’ rights—and last but decidedly not least—a Federal minimum wage of $15.
“And as we celebrate, we prepare to engage in conversation with the new administration and to add our voices to those calling for more—more economic support for those on the very bottom of our rigged economic system, more in the way of resources for healthcare, child care and senior care, and more support for worker voices—for our voices—on the job and in the shaping of policy.”