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Joe's answers to our candidate questionnaire

Download his full candidate questionnaire response as a PDF.


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on health care.

Our Question

Workers in collectively-bargained agreements have in the past taken reduced pay in exchange for better healthcare coverage. Do you support or oppose repealing the excise tax on high cost health plans (aka “The Cadillac Tax”), which is a 40 percent tax assessed, beginning in 2022, on the cost of coverage for health plans that exceed a certain annual limit?

Joe's Answer

Now that the Cadillac Tax is repealed, I will work as President to find a different source of funding to continue to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is fully funded and that we protect the health care of millions who depend on it, but I will oppose additional tax hikes on hard working Americans.

Our Question

Downward pressure to contain national healthcare costs has been based on the premise that patients can shop around for cheaper care, which has led to higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Do you support or oppose healthcare policies that address system-wide change and will slow or stop healthcare cost shifting to working families and retirees through rising deductibles, copayments, and premiums?

Joe's Answer

Let me first start by addressing COVID-19, which has demonstrated how essential access to health care is for our families. If I were President today, no matter whether you are insured or how you are insured, I would make sure every single person in this country gets free testing and treatment for the coronavirus. And I would help all Americans get health coverage, in stark contrast with Trump, who supports a lawsuit to get rid of Obamacare and junk health plans that weaken coverage protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Instead of trying to take away people’s coverage when they need it most, I would expand coverage if I was President. I would immediately have the federal government step in and cover 100% of the cost of keeping workers who have been laid off on their employer-based plan (called “COBRA” insurance) – that means neither workers nor employers would have to keep paying the premium, and workers could get the same coverage you had before for the duration of the crisis. For union members, that means they can keep the union plan they’ve long bargained for, and it will help maintain stability of union health funds. Read more about my plans about how I would help Americans get insurance during the coronavirus crisis at

And, when elected President, I will secure passage of a plan that builds on Obamacare to expand coverage and lower costs. My health care plan will lower deductibles, premiums, and copayments, while also loweringthe price of prescription drugs. I will work with Congress to give you the choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers. It also will better coordinate among all of a patient’s doctors to improve the efficacy and quality of their care, and cover primary care without any co-payments. It’s the quickest, most effective way to get every American access to affordable healthcoverage, at 1/30th the cost of Medicare for All and without a middle class tax increase.

I have proposed several additional proposals to directly cut the cost of health care and make the health care system less complex to navigate. I will end “surprise medical billing,” which could occur, for example, if you go to an in-network hospital but don’t realize a specialist at that hospital is not part of your health plan. I will bar health care providers from charging patients out-of-network rates when the patient doesn’t have control over which provider the patient sees (for example, during a hospitalization). I’ll also tackle market concentration across our health care system. The concentration of market power in the hands of a few corporations is occurring throughout our health care system, and this lack of competition is driving up prices for consumers. And, I’ll lower costs and improve health outcomes by partnering with the health care workforce and unions to accelerate the testing and deployment of innovative solutions that improve quality of care and increase wages for low-wage health care workers.I will tackle market concentration across our health care system, which is driving up prices for consumers. My administration will aggressively use its existing antitrust authority to address this problem.

I’ll also lower prescription drug prices by standing up to the abuse of power by corporations, including by repealing the outrageous exception allowing drug corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices, limiting launch prices for specialty drugs that face no competition and are being abusively priced by manufacturers, and limiting price increases for all brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation.

All of these steps will help contain health care costs and build on the Affordable Care Act, which was and is a big deal -- 100 years in the making. Because of Obamacare, over 100 million people no longer have to worry that an insurance company will deny coverage or charge higher premiums just because they have a pre-existing condition – whether cancer or diabetes or heart disease or a mental health challenge. Insurance companies can no longer set annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Roughly 20 million additional Americans obtained the peace of mind that comes with health insurance. As President, I will protect and build on this landmark law.

Read more about my plan like

Our Question

Do you support or oppose policies that move towards a single-payer healthcare system like creating a public option and lowering the eligibility age for Medicare?

Joe's Answer

I will create a new public option so you can choose to join a Medicare-like plan or keep your private insurance. My administration will lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60, expanding the health care options available to older Americans.

Please see my answer above or read more about my health care plan at


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on retirement security, social and workplace policy.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to strengthen and expand vital programs like Social Security and Medicare? This includes policies lowering the age of eligibility, reducing administrative burdens for retirees, and rejecting efforts to “means test” Social Security and Medicare benefits. Will you support or oppose efforts to raise or eliminate the cap at which high income earners stop paying into Social Security?

Joe's Answer

Social Security is the bedrock of American retirement. Roughly 90% of retirement-age Americans receive Social Security benefits, and one-in-four rely on Social Security for all, or almost all, of their income. The program has not only ensured that middle-class workers can enjoy the sound and secure retirement they worked so hard for, it also lifted over 17 million older Americans out of poverty in 2017 alone. As President, I will put Social Security on a path to long-run solvency, provide a higher benefit for the oldest Americans, and implement a true minimum benefit for lifelong workers.

To start, my plan will protect Social Security for the millions of Americans who depend on the program. With Social Security’s Trust Fund already in deficit and expected to be exhausted in 2035, we urgently need action to make the program solvent and prevent cuts to American retirees. I will do this by asking Americans with especially high wages to pay the same taxes on those earnings that middle-class families pay. Specifically, wages above $400,000 would be subject to the Social Security payroll tax.

But my plan doesn’t stop there. As President, I will strengthen benefits for the most vulnerable older Americans – including widows and widowers, lifelong workers with low monthly benefits, and old-age beneficiaries who may have exhausted their other savings.

In addition, I staunchly oppose any proposals to ask workers to forego their hard-earned Social Security benefits in exchange for financial support today. The proposals we’re seeing in some conservative circles that condition stimulus checks on delayed Social Security benefits undermine both long-run health of Social Security and the responsibility of the federal government to be a backstop for American families in a time of crisis. I will never ask Americans to choose between their deserved retirement benefits and critical support during times of economic crises.

Efforts to privatize the program – such as an approach suggested under the Bush Administration – will undermine the program’s solvency, while putting at risk individuals’ income in retirement. Similarly, proposals to make the program “means-tested” – so that only low-income retirees workers receive benefits – jeopardizes the program’s universal nature and key role as the bedrock of American retirement. Ultimately, the success of Social Security is largely due to the fact that almost all Americans can rely on the program to make their retirement more secure.


Our Question

We need a solution to the crisis facing some multiemployer pension plans. Will you support or oppose legislation that would extend long-term loans to financially troubled plans to help avoid pension cuts and provide certainty to pensioners?

Joe's Answer

I will strongly support Congressional efforts to stabilize multi-employer pension plans. Congress should pass the Butch-Lewis Act now, especially as the pandemic futher threatens pension plans. But if it doesn’t pass this year, I will sign it into law as President. This critical legislation will offer low-interest loans to financially troubled multi-employer plans to help them to meet their commitments to beneficiaries. I will not weaken well-funded multi-employer pension plans in order to help more troubled plans. Workers need retirement security, and they deserve to have the promises their employers made to them about their pensions fulfilled. I will bring labor to the table to structurally reform the multiemployer pension system.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose legislation that bars employers from discriminating against individuals or groups based on their identity including women, minority and ethnic groups, the LGBT community and other marginalized groups? This would include, but not be limited to, efforts to ban discriminatory practices in pay, hiring, promotion, and staffing.

Joe's Answer

Discrimination and harassment have no place in our workplaces. Yet too often individuals face unequal treatment due to their race, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation. In a country that prides itself on liberty and justice for all, and values the dignity of work, it’s time we take on a workplace culture that devalues and even endangers women and people of color, still allows people to be fired because of who they love, and allows huge wage gaps between white men and other workers. It’s time for our government to build on the Obama-Biden Administration’s legacy of fighting for workers, by taking bold action to address discrimination and harassment in the workplace. While joining a union like the Steelworkers is one of the best ways to ensure fair treatment in the workplace, I will work with Congress to ensure our policies help all workers enjoy a workplace freedom from discrimination. Make no mistake: employment discrimination and bias hold back families, companies, and our economy. It is in everyone’s best interest for our workforce to look like the rest of the country -- from the stockroom to the boardroom.

As President, I will finish the Obama-Biden Administration’s work on ending unequal pay. The very first bill the Obama-Biden Administration signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for workers to sue their employers for pay discrimination. Our administration required medium and large employers to collect and disclose compensation information by race and sex to the federal government so it had better insight into pay disparities and could better target enforcement. We also protected more workers against retaliation for discussing wages and required employers to collect and report wage gaps to the federal government. As President, I will build on this critical work by signing into law the Paycheck Fairness Act. And as called for in the Paycheck Fairness Act, I’ll make it easier for workers to join together in class action lawsuits, shift the burden to employers to prove pay gaps exist for job-related reasons, and increase penalties against companies that discriminate. And, I’ll hold companies accountable by increasing funding for investigators and enforcement actions.

The lack of diversity at higher levels is also partially a pipeline problem. As President, I will push for policies that would make it easier for all people to pursue management and leadership roles - by  expanding access to affordable child care, guaranteeing workers 12 weeks of paid family leave, supporting flexible work schedules. And my administration will push for transparency and also promote best practices for companies to take a hard look at their corporate culture and practices and address bias and discrimination.

I will also make it a priority to reaffirm that the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, the Obama-Biden Department of Justice affirmed that the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII prohibition against employment discrimination based on sex applies to discrimination based on gender identity. The EEOC later affirmed that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Trump-Pence Administration’s Department of Justice has reversed this position, arguing that Title VII excludes protections for these groups. I will ensure enforcement of Title VII and work to pass the Equality Act to affirm that employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited.

And I will fund a dramatic increase in the number of investigators in labor and employment law enforcement to protect workers.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to promote access to the ballot box, including eliminating unnecessary and burdensome requirements of state-issued identification to vote and rejecting attempts to disenfranchise voters by limiting early voting opportunities, wrongfully removing or purging voters from the voting rolls or otherwise?

Joe's Answer

Voting is the purest, most fundamental act of citizenship. We must strengthen our democracy by guaranteeing that every American’s vote is protected. We’ve got to make it easier—not harder—for Americans to exercise their right to vote, regardless of their zip code or the color of their skin, and make sure we count every voter’s voice equally.

We first have to figure out now how we’ll conduct a full, fair, and safe election in November. No one should have to risk their lives to cast a ballot. The Wisconsin primary sent a giant warning flare to the nation: Republicans trying to force in-person voting – no matter the health cost. That means providing our citizens with every option to exercise their right to vote – in person and by mail. And with the right support, state and local election officials can get it done.

Trump is already trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud, and threatening to block essential COVID assistance if extra funds go to the U.S. Postal Service. It’s wrong. It’s un-American. This is an unprecedented challenge – but let’s be real: Voting rights have been under new assault ever since the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby v. Holder ripped the heart out of voter protections. Last year, 24 states introduced or enacted at least 70 bills to curtail the right to vote. It’s just as un-American now as it was during Jim Crow. I strongly support restoring the Voting Rights Act protections that were ripped out by a Supreme Court decision that falsely proclaimed that racial gerrymandering and racist voter suppression efforts were a historical artifact, not a fact of everyday life for voters of color across the United States. I have vigorously supported the Voting Rights Act throughout my career, playing a key role in securing multiple 25-year extensions of the Act during my time on the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need this civil rights law today as much as we needed it in the civil rights era. I will push Congress to restore and reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and I will direct my Justice Department to use every tool at its disposal to protect the franchise of voters of color in every state.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to ensure access to voting opportunities, including but not limited to, efforts such as expanding early voting, offering same-day registration opportunities, automatic voter registration or otherwise?

Joe's Answer

Yes. I support automatic and same-day voter registration, expanded early voting, automatically restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies who’ve served their time, and many more steps to make exercising one’s right to vote easier.


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on collective bargaining.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose the right to collectively bargain, the right for unions to be recognized if a majority of workers sign a card in support of organizing a facility and increased penalties for employers who illegally terminate employees and/or conduct unfair labor practices?

Joe's Answer

Trump and Republican leadership think this country was built by CEOs and hedge fund managers, but they’re wrong. Our country was built, quite literally, by hard-working Americans like the Steelworkers. And the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how we couldn’t survive without our health care workers and first responders and just how critical our manufacturing workers are. And we’re seeing without any doubt how important unions are to this country, especially in times of crisis. You are fighting for protective gear like masks and gloves and pushing for rigorous standards and enforcement to keep workers safe. You are the reason so many workers right now have health insurance, sick leave, and a voice in the workplace and our democracy. It was unions who fought to ensure there were worker protections in Congress’ economic relief bill. And it was because of unions that there used to be a basic bargain between workers and their employers in this country that when you work hard, you share in the prosperity your work created.

Today, however, there’s a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions, and workers. It’s been raging for decades, and it’s getting worse with Donald Trump in the White House. Employers repeatedly interfere with workers’ efforts to organize and collectively bargain while raking in billions of dollars in profits and paying CEOs tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. That will change under a Biden Administration. I have stood by labor my entire career. I believe the federal government should not only defend workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively, but also encourage it.

I strongly encourage you to review my full plan to strengthen worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions at Here are some important highlights.

I strongly support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act ( PRO Act ) and its provisions to: ban employers’ mandatory meetings with their employees, including captive audience meetings in which employees are forced to listen to anti-union rhetoric; and reinstate and codify into law the Obama-Biden Administration’s “ persuader rule ” that the Trump Administration rescinded. This rule requires employers to report not only information communicated to employees, but also the activities of third-party consultants who work behind the scenes to manage employers’ anti-union campaigns; codify into law the Obama-Biden era’s NLRB rules allowing for shortened timelines of union election campaigns; stop employers from stalling initial negotiations with newly formed unions; ensure that workers can exercise their right to strike without fear of reprisal; and institute financial penalties on companies that interfere with workers’ organizing efforts, including firing or otherwise retaliating against workers.

I will go beyond the PRO Act by enacting legislation to impose even stiffer penalties on corporations and to hold company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts, including criminally liable when their interference is intentional and require companies that bargain in bad faith to to pay a penalty, in addition to making workers whole for the time the company stalled negotiations. As a co-sponsor of the original Employee Free Choice Act, I will go beyond the PRO Act by allowing workers to use card check as an initial option for forming a union, not merely an option granted when the employer has illegally interfered in the election process. I will also repeal the Taft-Hartley provisions that allow states to impose “right to work” laws, which exist only to deprive unions of the financial support they need to fight for higher wages and better benefits. And I will aggressively pursue employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

I will ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law. I will institute a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions, building on debarment efforts pursued in the Obama-Biden Administration. I will also restore and build on the Obama-Biden Administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which Trump revoked, requiring employers’ compliance with labor and employment laws be taken into account in determining whether they are sufficiently responsible to be entrusted with federal contracts. Federal contracts only will go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns. I will also only award contracts to employers who support their workers, including those who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard of living of those same families.

Congress created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to encourage union organizing, support collective bargaining, and protect workers’ rights. The Obama-Biden Administration appointed officials to the NLRB who supported workers’ right to organize and collective bargain, and made critically important decisions such as ensuring that workers could organize in micro-units. Trump has undermined this progress and the intent of the NLRB by appointing board members with long histories of anti-union activities. As President, I will appoint members to the NLRB who will protect, rather than sabotage, worker organizing, collective bargaining, and workers’ rights to engage in concerted activity whether or not they belong to a union.

One of the reasons I’m running for President is because we’ve got to rebuild the backbone of the country: the middle class. And that means encouraging union organizing and collective bargaining. I will fight alongside you to make sure every worker in America has the option to join a union.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to weaken workers’ rights to collective bargaining, or legislation which bars certain classes of workers from having access to collective bargaining? Do you support or oppose the right of workers to organize no matter their employer and will you support or oppose efforts to allow tribally owned commercial enterprises to deny workers NLRA rights? Will you support or oppose giving NLRA rights to farmworkers and other non-covered workers?

Joe's Answer

I strongly oppose any effort to weaken workers’ rights to collective bargaining or to exclude workers from their rights to organize and bargain collectively. I will fight to extend the right to organize and bargain collectively to independent contractors. Some workers are correctly classified as independent contractors, but are not very different from employees. They bring only their labor, and perhaps a small amount of capital investment, to the organization with which they do business. These workers lack individual bargaining power and, as a result, are at grave risk of exploitation by big business. I support modifying antitrust law and guaranteeing that these independent contractors can organize and bargain collectively for their mutual protection and benefit.

I will also ensure workers in the “gig economy” and beyond receive the legal benefits and protections they deserve. Employer misclassification of “gig economy” workers as independent contractors deprives these workers of legally mandated benefits and protections, including the right to organize and bargain collectively. Employers in construction, service industries, and other industries also misclassify millions of their employees as independent contractors to reduce their labor costs at the expense of these workers. This epidemic of misclassification is made possible by ambiguous legal tests that give too much discretion to employers, too little protection to workers, and too little direction to government agencies and courts. States like California have already paved the way by adopting a clearer, simpler, and stronger three-prong “ABC test” to distinguish employees from independent contractors. The ABC test will mean many more workers will get the legal protections and benefits they rightfully should receive. As President, I will work with Congress to establish a federal standard modeled on the ABC test for all labor, employment, and tax laws.

I will work to ensure domestic and agriculture workers can organize and bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. I support legislation, including the Fairness for Farm Workers Act and Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, that expands federal protections to agricultural and domestic workers, ensuring that they will have the right to basic workplace protections. And, through the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, I will ensure domestic workers have a voice in the workplace through a wage and standards board. In addition, I will ensure that every agency that enforces or administers federal labor and employment laws enforce those laws, and remedy violations of those laws, without regard to workers’ immigration status.

While I am committed to respecting tribal sovereignty and know many tribes have established important labor protections, I oppose legislation that would exclude employees of tribally owned commercial enterprises from organizing and bargaining rights. I remain committed to the Obama-Biden policy on this matter.

I will work to provide a federal guarantee for public sector employees to bargain for better pay and benefits and the working conditions they deserve. Public sector unions provide the voice that workers – including educators, social workers, firefighters, and police officers – need to ensure they can serve their communities. And public sector unions have been and continue to be an essential pathway to the middle class for workers of color and women, who disproportionately work in the public sector. Yet, in many states across the country, public sector workers do not have the right to bargain collectively. In states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, and Indiana, these rights are increasingly under attack. As President, I will establish a federal right to union organizing and collective bargaining for all public sector employees, and make it easier for those employees who serve our communities to both join a union and bargain. I will fight for and sign into law the Public Safety Employer Employee Cooperation Act and Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. In addition, I strongly oppose Trump’s efforts to strip collective bargaining rights from hundreds of thousands of Defense Department employees --- the most egregious act of government union-busting since President Reagan fired the PATCO strikers in 1981.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose so-called “Right to Work” legislation – an effort aimed at undermining unions’ ability to fight on behalf of workers? Proponents often say “Right to Work” laws have economic benefits, but studies show that states where these laws have been passed tend to have lower wages, poorer healthcare and educational outcomes, and higher rates of workplace injuries and fatalities.

Joe's Answer

My administration will ban state laws that prohibit unions from collecting dues or comparable payments fro m all workers who benefit from union representation that unions are legally obligated to provide. Currently more than half of all states have in place these so-called “right to work” laws, which in fact deprive workers of their rights. These laws exist only to deprive unions of the financial support they need to fight for higher wages and better benefits. As President, I will repeal the Taft-Hartley provisions that allow states to impose “right to work” laws.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose union vote suppression legislation which automatically counts nonvoting employees in union elections as “no” votes? Will you support or oppose legislation which would permit employers to create unnecessary delays in union certification elections or only allow employers to set the appropriateness of bargaining units by overturning the NLRB “Specialty Healthcare” decision?

Joe's Answer

I am strongly opposed to both. I will oppose any legislation that includes non-voting employees from the bargaining unit in final counts in union representation elections. I agree that this is little more than an effort to frustrate employees’ free and fair choice to join a union. Second, I oppose any legislation that would codify the Trump National Labor Relation Board’s decision to overturn the Obama-Biden Board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare. To the contrary, I will appoint members to the NLRB who understand that employees are vested by the National Labor Relations Act with the authority to propose the size and shape of bargaining units, not employers seeking to avoid a fair representation election. I expect that my appointees to the NLRB would reinstate Specialty Healthcare.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to weaken the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which protects workers’ rights to overtime pay and discourages employers from overworking employees by making it more expensive for them to do so? Will you support or oppose efforts to supplant overtime pay with “comp time” or other similar proposals that favor employers at the cost of workers in the private sector?

Joe's Answer

Today’s corporate culture treats workers as a means to an end and institutes policies to suppress wages. My administration will stop employers from denying workers overtime pay they’ve earned. The Obama-Biden Administration fought to extend overtime pay to over 4 million workers and protect nearly 9 million from losing it. The Trump Administration reversed this progress, implementing a new rule that leaves millions of workers behind. Since Trump walked away from protecting these middle-class workers, they have lost over $2.8 billion in foregone overtime wages. As President, I will work to strengthen the Fair Labor Standards Act and oppose any effort to weaken it. I will ensure workers are paid fairly for the long hours they work and get the overtime they have earned. Further, I will oppose proposals that force private-sector employees to accept “comp time” as a substitute cash overtime pay.


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on workplace safety and health.

Our Question

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and others ensure workers have a voice and a clean environment to live and work in. Will you support or oppose efforts to reform the regulatory process in ways that will favor big business and deregulation instead of sensible protections for workers?

Joe's Answer

Not only do I oppose weakening the oversight and regulatory role of agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others, I will increase the number of inspectors and provide safety and health agencies the resources they need to protect workers from workplace safety and health hazards.

No one should get sick, injured, or die simply because they went to work. Too many workers had to work in dangerous conditions before the pandemic. Now, the extreme threat of COVID-19 has made the fear that many workers are living with each and every day worse. We need to be working right now on the conditions under which the private sector, industry by industry, can reopen safely. During the H1N1 epidemic, the Obama-Biden Administration tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control with issuing detailed guidance for how employers should protect their workers. Then OSHA enforced the law based on those guidelines. And, it didn’t stop there. After the epidemic, it spent years preparing for the next one with a comprehensive and specific permanent infectious disease standard that would have required health facilities and certain other high exposure workplaces to permanently implement infection control programs to protect their workers. The Obama-Biden Administration handed this standard to the Trump Administration, but instead of moving it to rulemaking, the Trump Administration shelved it. Today, the Trump Administration is still not driving a serious enforcement effort, putting the health and safety of workers at risk every day. We should immediately double the number of OSHA investigators to enforce the law and existing standards and guidelines, release and enforce an Emergency Temporary Standard to give employers and employees more comprehensive and specific guidance on what to do to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and get to work bringing a permanent standard to conclusion and expanding it to include all relevant workplaces, from manufacturing plants to grocery stores.

Unfortunately, Trump’s unwillingness to protect workers started before the pandemic. He attempted to weaken several occupational and safety regulations established during the Obama-Biden Administration. For example, he rolled back regulations requiring companies to report their workplace injuriesso they are disclosed to the public. He reduced the number of OSHA investigators and safety enforcement efforts, despite the fact that OSHA inspections reduce injuries. As President, I will reinstate these critical safety protections and ensure all appointments to committees and advisory boards under OSHA intimately understand the consequences of not having functional safety standards in place. I will direct OSHA to substantially expand its enforcement efforts. I will increase the number of investigators in OSHA and I will also direct OSHA, and other relevant agencies to develop comprehensive strategies for addressing the most dangerous hazards workers encounter in the modern workplace. Every worker has the right to return home from work safely.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose cuts to funding for federal agencies that protect workers, including the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, and the Occupational Safety and Health and Mine Safety and Health administrations?

Joe's Answer

I strongly oppose budget cuts to the Labor Department, the NLRB, OSHA, MSHA, and the Chemical Safety Board. I will reverse these cuts and ensure that these worker protection agencies have the resources they need to carry out their critically important missions.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to delay or eliminate protections for workers who have been exposed to toxic workplace substances?

Joe's Answer

I strongly oppose efforts to delay or eliminate protections for workers who have been exposed to toxic workplace substances, and I am committed to building on the Obama-Biden Administration's record of protecting workers.

In response to catastrophic chemical facility explosions, including the 2013 explosion at West Fertilizer in Texas that killed 15 people, the Obama-Biden Administration created an inter-agency working group to find ways to improve chemical facility safety and security. As one result of the working group’s efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency released Accidental Release Prevention Requirements -- often referred to as the Chemical Disaster Rule -- to protect workers, first responders, and communities from chemical facility accidents. The Trump Administration chose corporations over workers and repeatedly tried to delay this rule until the DC District Court vacated the delays, calling them a “mockery” of the Clean Air Act calculated to enable non-compliance. Now, the Trump Administration has issued a new rule rolling back crucial provisions of the Chemical Disaster Rule. This is wrong. No one should risk getting injured or dying simply because they went to work. I condemn the Trump Administration's gutting of the Chemical Disaster Rule and stand with the United Steelworkers in their effort to preserve the protections of the rule.

As President, I will also continue to lean on the Obama-Biden Depart of Labor's Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health - consisting of medical, scientific, and claimant communities and has included representation from the United Steelworkers – to support protecting worker health as relates to toxic workplace substances.

Our Question

Workplace violence toward healthcare and social service workers, who are primarily women, has risen dramatically in the last decade. Will you support or oppose policies to prevent workplace violence?

Joe's Answer

I strongly support legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to require OSHA to promulgate a workplace violence prevention standard. As President, I will direct OSHA to issue such a standard. Employers bear the responsibility for workplaces that are as safe and healthy as possible. Preventing foreseeable acts of violence is an essential part of this responsibility, and OSHA should act and act as quickly as its standards setting process will allow.


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on global economy and international trade.

Our Question

The American labor movement and United Steelworkers remain committed to improving trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries. All too often workers are the first to suffer from the flaws in trade agreements. Will you support or oppose reducing monopoly rights for pharmaceutical firms in trade agreements, strengthening climate pollution enforcement and swift and strong labor enforcement mechanisms?

  • Will you vote against trade agreements that do not have labor enforcement language?
  • Will you join letters with your colleagues to highlight weaknesses in trade policies? 
  • What other actions will you, as an elected official take to stem outsourcing incentives and reduce inequality? 

Joe's Answer

I believe American business should compete and win when it comes to world trade. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live beyond our borders. We need to be able to build the very best here at home and sell it around the world. American workers and businesses can out-compete anyone, hands-down. But their government needs to fight like hell for them. I am going to fight for every American job - especially against unfair foreign practices.

Trade is tough competition for jobs and markets. The President needs to stand with American workers and communities, not with wealthy corporations or the foreign governments that are subsidizing and protecting their businesses.

That’s the problem with Trump. When push comes to shove, Trump sides with corporate interests against workers, their unions, and their communities. And he rewards corporations and their executives for abandoning American workers and moving jobs overseas -- rather than holding them accountable to create, maintain, and bring back jobs to the U.S.

We saw it in the Trump tax bill. It delivered huge tax cuts to large corporations, but did not force those corporations to bring jobs back to the U.S. and to rebuild the communities they devastated when they left. Outsourcing has continued, but when has Trump really held these corporations accountable --- not a tweet, not a rant on Fox News, but real tough presidential action that forces these corporations to do what’s right.

We even saw it in USMCA. Trump wanted a massive giveaway to pharmaceutical companies and no real enforcement of labor protections. The deal that Trump negotiated was a bad deal, but Speaker Pelosi, the Democrats in Congress, and the labor movement --- most prominently the USW --- won important changes in that deal, and made it a lot better.

We saw it in the so-called “phase one” China trade deal. Trump got nothing from the Chinese on their illegal subsidies and the abuses of their state-owned enterprises. And he spent negotiating chips on helping American banks do business in China. How does that help American workers? The United States does need to take on China, but Trump has gone about it in a profoundly wrong way — leaving workers by the wayside.

There are a bunch more trade deals coming --- Japan and India, for example, and we just can’t trust that Trump will be on the right side of those agreements either. He will sell out American workers once again. That’s his pattern. I know whose side I am on --- I stand with American workers, their unions, and their communities — not corporate interests. Here’s what that means:

  1. I won’t enter into any new trade agreements until we’ve made major investments here at home, in our workers and our communities – equipping them to compete and win in the global economy. That includes investing in education, infrastructure, and manufacturing here at home.
  2. The first goal of every decision about trade must be to build the American middle class, create jobs, raise wages, and strengthen communities.
  3. I will consistently and aggressively enforce American trade laws any time foreign cheating poses a threat to American jobs. I will use tariffs when they are needed, but the difference between me and Trump is that I will have a strategy --- a plan --- to use those tariffs to win, not just to fake toughness. I will conduct an immediate review of the Trump Administration’s trade policy to determine what steps need to be taken to achieve the goal of growing our middle class. Trump’s approach to tariffs is shortsighted and destructive. See my comments on rules of origin below.
  4. And, I will do something Trump hasn’t done and can’t do: I will rally the world to support the U.S. in its fights with China and other countries that violate trade rules. The President can’t build a coalition against our adversaries when he insults and embarrasses our friends. But, where needed, a Biden Administration will fight for fair trade on our own.
  5. It is not right for American corporations that benefit from the infrastructure, from the labor, from the stability of the United States of America, to outsource jobs just to get a tax break. As President, I will reverse the excesses of Trump tax cuts for corporations and eliminate incentives that encourage firms to send jobs and profits offshore. I will end corporate profit shifting and fight outsourcing, including by imposing sanctions on countries that facilitate illegal tax avoidance and by doubling the corporate Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) tax rate. Put simply, as President, I’ll put an end to tax breaks for companies that move jobs abroad. I won’t get fooled by fake, stupid, and wasteful tax giveaways like the Foxconn deal that Trump promoted in Wisconsin. Any company that gets help from any government in the United States --- local, state, or federal --- must give an ironclad guarantee that it will build the middle-class and strengthen communities over the long term, not just until the corporation changes its mind or decides to blackmail a governor or a mayor.
  6. I will appoint trade experts from organized labor and the environmental movement to work in trade negotiating and trade enforcement positions in my administration. And a prerequisite for working for me on trade will be an understanding that the first goal of every decision about trade must be to build the American middle class, to create jobs, to raise wages, and to strengthen communities. Beyond that, I will make sure that labor and environmental advocates are at the table from day one in future trade deals.
  7. During the Obama-Biden Administration, we issued an executive order strengthening the federal government’s zero-tolerance policy on federal contractors doing business with the U.S. government while using forced labor and identifying companies that violate those policies. Trump has ignored that executive order, and the corporations are getting away with anything they want. I will demand tough enforcement of that executive order. Your tax dollars will not support horrible exploitation designed to steal jobs from American workers.
  8. In my administration, we are going to support strong and independent trade unions here in the United States and in every one of our trading partners. Unions are essential to democracy, unions are essential to economic stability, unions are essential for building markets for American products, and unions are the right thing to do --- everywhere in the world. I will aggressively push for strong and enforceable labor provisions in every trade deal my administration negotiates -- and not sign a deal unless it has those provisions.
  9. I don't believe that corporations should get special tribunals that are not available to other organizations. I oppose the ability of private corporations to attack labor, health, and environmental policies through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process and I oppose the inclusion of such provisions in future trade agreements.
  10. Finally, Trump’s deals include no protections against climate change. Equally important, there is nothing in the agreements that makes sure U.S. manufacturers and their employees will benefit as we respond to climate change. We must invest in green jobs being created in the U.S., not overseas. In my administration, that’s going to be a central strategy for rebuilding the American middle class.

Our Question

How a product is made and assembled matters greatly in trade agreements. Weak “Rule of Origin” provisions mean non-participating countries can benefit from a trade agreement by doing minor assembly or production in a trade agreement zone, undermining both job and production benefits for trade agreement partners. Do you support or oppose strong “Rule of Origin” provisions in trade agreements; examples include requiring “melting and pouring” of steel products and/or domestic content thresholds in automobiles over 60%?

Joe's Answer

Under a Biden Administration, the first goal of every decision about trade must be to build the American middle class, create jobs, raise wages, and strengthen communities. Equally important, I will promote U.S. production and exports while I regulate imports.

To that end, any trade agreement negotiated under a Biden Administration will include strong rules of origin to promote our production by the trade agreement signatories and to limit the benefits for free riders. Rules of origin need to be carefully written to ensure that when a product is labelled “Made in the USA”, it really means that. Steel and other products like aluminum must be melted and poured in the United States so that countries can’t exploit loopholes.These standards will also drive my application of domestic procurement laws like Buy America.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to maintain and strengthen domestic trade laws?

Joe's Answer

Domestic trade laws are critical tools to protect A merican workers, their families, and their communities and to safeguard the American economy . The U.S. trade laws need to be maintained and aggressively enforced and, where needed, strengthened. During the Obama-Biden Administration, we worked to improve the arsenal of trade tools through adopting provisions such as those included in Senator Brown’s Level the Playing Field Act, which gave industry and workers new provisions to fight unfair trade. Working with the Steelworkers, we worked to limit a surge of passenger and light truck tires from China under Section 421. We fought together on other trade enforcement actions as well.

As President, I will develop a comprehensive strategy to aggressively enforce our laws in an effective way whenever it is needed. Critically, I will also look at what new approaches and tools are needed to combat unfair trade practices jeopardizing production and jobs here and to gain access for our products in other markets. We must address the continuous efforts to evade and circumvent our trade laws and undermine the effectiveness of our trade cases. The issues of global overcapacity, state-owned enterprises, and other problems undermine our interests and can’t continue. Workers deserve to know that their government will stand by their side and stand up for their rights so they don’t have to fight unfair trade on their own or see their jobs offshored and production outsourced. Foreign cheating will not be allowed in my administration.

Our Question

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlights that there is still over 500 million tons of excess steel capacity globally. This overcapacity is often foreign state owned and subsidized and dumped into the U.S. market. In the interest of National Security, the United States put in place tariffs that have raised privately-controlled U.S. companies’ operating capacity by 10% and increased steel production by over five million tons compared to the year previous. Will you support or oppose the 232 tariff relief on steel and aluminum until a global solution is found to address excess capacity?

Joe's Answer

From aerospace to the electric grid, to countless other uses, steel and aluminum create the backbone for our national security and critical infrastructure. Steel dumping, especially from China, is designed to drive down the price of U.S. steel and hurt our steel market. It is a serious risk to our economy and needs to be addressed. The Obama-Biden Administration increased reviews of steel shipments into the Un ited States and boosted trade enforcement funding . As President, I will work to address global overcapacity and ensure that our producers and workers, who produce these products more efficiently and in environmentally conscious ways than countries like China, are successful.

The Trump Administration’s actions on steel and aluminum have brought some short-term relief, but done nothing to address the long-term challenges facing these sectors. Trump’s trade negotiations with China have done nothing to reign in their subsidies, the predatory actions of their state-owned entities and their unfair trade practices. His administration disbanded multilateral talks to address steel overcapacity. I intend to protect our national security and to ensure that there is fair trade in steel, aluminum, and other products. I will review the existing 232 tariffs and any other tariffs that have been put in place to ensure our trade policies achieve the goal of supporting workers and growing our middle class, both now and in the long-term. We first need to carefully evaluate all of the steps taken by this Administration, including the private deals and assurances that may have been made.

And while a Biden Administration will take whatever action is needed to ensure fair trade, protect critical infrastructure and our national security, a core part of our strategy will be to enlist our international allies to collectively tackle unfair practices by China in order to ensure American steelworkers have good, plentiful union jobs. Trump has humiliated and infuriated our allies. I will rally them to our cause and lead.

Our Question

Steel, tires, aluminum and others are seeing significant overcapacity thresholds as countries such as China, India, Vietnam and others build additional manufacturing facilities, whether the international market can sustain the additional capacity or not. Will you support or oppose unilateral and global efforts to address commodity overcapacity by other countries ensuring U.S. manufacturing employment is not adversely impacted?

Joe's Answer

See previous answer.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose efforts to curb currency manipulation by countries which under-value their currency to artificially boost exports?

Joe's Answer

When it comes to currency manipulation, I oppose any and all attempts by foreign countries to artificially manipulate currency values to gain an unfair advantage in trade. In the past, certain countries -- such as China -- have illegally depressed the value of their currency relative to the dollar as part of a larger economic strategy, aimed at making their exports relatively cheaper on world markets. This action has cost American manufacturers and exporters jobs; jobs they would have kept had our trading partners played by the rules. Under my watch, every one of our partners will adhere to sound economic and trade principles, and I will strongly oppose illegal efforts to manipulate currency as a way of gaining an advantage over American workers. And, existing law should be strengthened in any new trade agreements with enhanced transparency and consultation provisions and, where needed, disciplines and enforcement to address the negative effects of manipulation.


Click here to download a summary of Joe's answers on domestic issues.

Our Question

As a large manufacturing union, the ability to get goods to markets across the globe requires safe, reliable, public infrastructure. Privatization of infrastructure can undermine good public policy and democratic decision making. Turning tax dollars and control of public services over to companies whose overriding incentive is to maximize profits can lead to long-term economic costs and devastating consequences. Ensuring our country’s infrastructure moves rapidly into the 21st century requires significant public investment.

Do you support or oppose public funding of our country’s infrastructure to ensure tax dollars are used to maximum effect and the public good is the primary focus? What ways do you suggest raising public funds for infrastructure?

Joe's Answer

This crisis has made millions of Americans more acutely aware of our nation’s infrastructure: ports, bridges, highways that are essential to get goods to our homes; broadband internet is connecting us to the world, to our jobs, to the classroom; and power, water, and phone lines are keeping us going, through days on end inside.

All the more reason why our infrastructure needs an urgent boost. The last big opportunity came in 2009: I oversaw the Recovery Act – roads, bridges, and the largest investment in clean energy in history. Our nation came out stronger and more resilient.

Long before this virus, I’d proposed a transformational $1 trillion federal investment in our infrastructure – creating millions of good-paying, union jobs. It will help us recover, equip the American middle class to compete and win in the global economy, move the U.S. to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure that cities, towns, and rural areas all across our country share in that growth.

Among other things, this investment will jump-start the repair of our highways, roads, and bridges, launch a new generation of low-carbon trucking, shipping, and aviation technologies, and spark the next rail revolution. And critically, I will invest in freight infrastructure, including inland waterways, freight corridors, freight rail, transfer facilities, and ports. I will pursue projects like a bridge that connects Oregon and Washington State that moves not only trucks but rail transit, and the completion of the CREATE project in Chicago that could cut in half the time it takes vital goods to move through the country. I will roughly double funding for key competitive grant programs – like the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program (formerly known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER ) and Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) – from $1.8 billion to $3.5 billion a year. These programs leverage local, state, and private investment, and create innovative transportation models that can be replicated nationwide. I will also work closely with American unions and manufacturers to prioritize investments that will improve supply chains and distribution, reduce shipping costs, and boost U.S. exports. And, I will increase funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by $2.5 billion per year, supporting infrastructure projects to keep goods moving quickly through our ports and waterways. This will include increased federal funding for lock modernization projects on inland waterways. (Read more about my infrastructure investments at

And, the $1 trillion will be a federal investment that will attract more in state and local investments. I believe infrastructure is a public good that the entire nation benefits from and I strongly support public funding for it.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said he’d fix our infrastructure and keeps holding “Infrastructure Weeks”—but has failed to actually deliver results. Instead, Trump has focused on privatizing construction projects to benefit his wealthy friends, leaving communities across the country suffering and our nation falling behind.

Trump has proposed allocating additional tax credits to large corporations that work on infrastructure projects, even for projects that would have been completed without tax incentives. Instead, I plan to work with Congress to provide massive federal support for rebuilding our infrastructure. These fundamental approaches could not be starker. My approach means more protections for workers, better accounting for the public interest in infrastructure dollars - rather than just profitability, and much larger actual investments.

Every cent of my administration’s $1 trillion federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure will be paid for by making sure the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. Specifically, this investment will be offset by revenue raised through reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations; reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing; ensuring corporations pay their fair share; closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth, not work; and ending subsidies for fossil fuels.

My infrastructure plan will create good, union jobs that expand the middle class. American workers should build American infrastructure and manufacture all the materials that go into it, and all of these workers must have the option to join a union and collectively bargain. Building on my plan to strengthen worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions, I will propose infrastructure legislation that incorporates labor provisions contained in Senator Merkley’s Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act, adopting all basic labor protections, ensuring that all investments meet Davis-Bacon wage guidelines, and banning anti-worker provisions like forced arbitration and the overuse of temporary staffing agencies. I will require federally funded projects to source materials in the U.S. ensuring robust use of Buy America, to employ workers trained in registered apprenticeship programs, and to prioritize Project Labor and Community Workforce Agreements in federal procurement procedures. My proposal will make sure that national infrastructure investments create millions of middle-class jobs, benefiting union and non-union workers across industries. And, every federal dollar spent on rebuilding our infrastructure during my administration will be used to prevent, reduce, and withstand the impacts of this climate crisis.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose the inclusion of “Buy America” provisions in federal legislation to ensure that goods manufactured in the United States are used when rebuilding our roads and bridges and other infrastructure and increasing transportation access?

Joe's Answer

Yes, I strongly support Buy America and will require federally funded infrastructure projects to source materials in the U.S . Using high-quality American steel, iron, and other manufactured goods will help create good, middle class jobs and boost our manufacturing sector. It will help ensure these investments are broadly shared.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose domestic content requirements in infrastructure funded through public-private partnerships or foreign investment?

Joe's Answer

I support having domestic content requirements for infrastructure projects that are publicly paid for. Attaching these requirements to major infrastructure projects helps U.S. companies, creates good-paying jobs, and helps our economy.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose a preference for government procurement from bidders who maintain high labor and environmental standards?

Joe's Answer

On day one of my presidency, I will use the federal government procurement system -- which spends $500 billion every year -- to drive towards 100% clean energy and increase labor standards. I will ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law. I will institute a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions, building on debarment efforts pursued in the Obama-Biden Administration. I will also restore and build on the Obama-Biden Administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which Trump revoked, requiring employers’ compliance with labor and employment laws be taken into account in determining whether they are sufficiently responsible to be entrusted with federal contracts. I will ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns. I also will only award contracts to employers who support their workers, including those who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard of living of those same families . And, not only will requiring contractors to pay a $15 wage lift the salaries for those workers, but raising the wages also helps raise the wages of workers already making over $15 as employees seek to attract and retain their employees.

Our Question

Will you support or oppose legislation like H.R. 582, the “Raise the Wage Act,” which increases the Federal Minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and eliminates the subminimum wage for tipped workers?

Joe's Answer

Yes. I’ve long said that American workers are the heart and soul of this country— too often, though, we’ve taken these workers and the work they do for granted. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted this critical truth: all across this nation, it’s often our lowest-paid workers who have stepped up during this crisis. It should be clear to everyone that we should never again in this country be denying anyone—let alone an “essential worker”—a livable wage. While raising the minimum wage is just a start, it is necessary to reverse decades of wage stagnation for working families and start to remedy income inequality. I strongly support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and indexing it thereafter to the median hourly wage of all employees. This increase will include workers who aren’t currently earning the minimum wage, like the farm workers who grow our food. Not only will this directly raise wages of over 28 million workers, but it would also increase wages of nearly 12 million workers already making over $15 as employees seek to attract and retain their employees, lifting the wages of more than one in four wage-earning people in the workforce. I helped get state and local increases to the minimum wage across the finish line – including in New York State–and as President I will do the same to increase the federal minimum wage to $15. I also support eliminating the tipped minimum wage.

Our Question

Climate change is a global issue which must be addressed. Do you support or oppose efforts to address climate change that will prevent carbon leakage and incentivize cleaner domestic manufacturing as we strive to reach net zero emissions?

Joe's Answer

Climate change has always been personal to me: I live in a state that’s dealing firsthand with the impacts of climate change, and I know pollution’s impact on kids and families, especially poor families and families of color. This pandemic ups the urgency: pollution and climate change exacerbate threats to global health security. For example, we’re seeing higher COVID death rates in places with higher levels of particulates in the air. And if there’s any silver lining, I hope this crisis drives home just how important global cooperation and coordinated early action are.

I’m proud of the progress President Obama and I made on climate – but we need to go faster and go bigger. We need a clean energy revolution, now. As President, I will lead the world to address the climate emergency and lead through the power of example, by ensuring the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. In my first year in office, I will establish an enforcement mechanism to achieve this goal, including a target no later than the end of my first term in 2025 to ensure we get to the finish line. This enforcement mechanism will be based on the principles that polluters must bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting and that our economy must achieve ambitious reductions in emissions economy-wide instead of having just a few sectors carry the burden of change. The enforcement mechanism will achieve clear, legally-binding emissions reductions with environmental integrity.

My administration will enact a national strategy to develop a low-carbon manufacturing sector in every state, accelerating cutting-edge technologies and ensuring businesses and workers have access to new technologies and skills, with a major focus on helping small and large manufacturers upgrade their capabilities to have both competitive and low-carbon futures. The strategy will connect research universities, community colleges, incubators and accelerators, manufacturing institutes and employers, unions, and state and local governments – alone or as part of a regional pact – and provide them with significant funding for deployment of a place-based plan to help their state or region build a competitive and low-carbon future in manufacturing that reflects climate impacts in their local communities. Industries from textiles to machine tools to metal fabrication to the most advanced manufacturing technologies will be eligible for funding to modernize, compete, create jobs, and move to clean energy futures. Allocated tax credits and subsidies will be available for businesses to upgrade equipment and processes, invest in expanded or new factories, and deploy low-carbon technologies, as long as all stakeholders are part of the process of determining a bottom-line win for jobs, workers, clean energy, and l ong-term community investment. Where states feel competitive pressures or requirements in response to the climate emergency may threaten a local economy, a Biden Administration’s national strategy will fund efforts to move to a more competitive or low-carbon manufacturing approach that can preemptively develop new economic strategies, including deployment of federal funding for technologies or manufacturing innovation centers.

As President, I will rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change. The United States accounts for only 15% of global emissions, so we cannot solve this emergency on our own. Climate change is a global challenge that requires decisive action from every country around the world. That’s why the Obama-Biden Administration mobilized the world to achieve the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. Trump recklessly threw away that hard-won progress. I will rejoin the Paris Agreement, but simply rejoining is not enough. I will use every tool of American foreign policy to push the rest of the world to raise their ambitions alongside the United States. I will make sure their commitments are transparent and enforceable, and stop countries from cheating by using America’s economic leverage and power of example. I will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies. And I will not allow other nations, including China, to game the system by becoming destination economies for polluters, undermining our climate efforts and exploiting American workers and businesses. As the U.S. takes steps to make domestic polluters bear the full cost of their carbon pollution, the Biden Administration will impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations. I will work with other countries in the Americas to set new common standards for the greening of manufacturing, mining, and tourism. I will also condition future trade agreements on partners’ commitments to meet their enhanced Paris climate targets. All of this together will ensure that American workers and their employers are not at a competitive disadvantage and simultaneously encourage other nations to raise their climate ambition. And, on day one of my administration, I will require public companies disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.

Climate change is an existential crisis – but also an enormous opportunity for America to lead.

Please read more about my plan at

Our Question

As our economy continues to change rapidly in response to multiple forces, such as automation and the expansion of new technologies, will you support or oppose policies that pair incentives for these industries to grow with strong worker and community protections?

Joe's Answer

Over the past several decades, our economy has already experienced dramatic technological change -- at times bringing widespread benefits to American families, but also enabling the harmful and destructive increase in inequality that has been so damaging to workers around the country. Through these eras of sweeping technological change, we have learned the prescription for inclusive, shared growth that endures over time. As President, I will apply these lessons to the current economy, so that the benefits of technological change -- whatever they may eventually be -- apply to everyone.

This includes ensuring protection for workers as these changes take place, including by ensuring that jobs created are good jobs where workers are treated with dignity and have the right to unionize and collectively bargain. Unions will play a key role in making sure workers weather the storm, and I will encourage union organizing and defend collective bargaining, with all of the policies described above. Technological changes in the workplace and other decisions that could result in the displacement of workers, i.e. decisions about skills training, career ladders, and opportunities to fill new jobs created by technology should be the subjects of collective bargaining. I believe workers and their unions should have a voice in their own future. And, I’ll make sure emerging industries include union representation and have good pay and benefits.

I will make robust investments in education and modernizing infrastructure, so we can harness and disperse the power of new technologies, and ensure that every American has an opportunity to participate in inclusive economic growth that can come from technological innovation. I will invest $1 trillion in infrastructure and community revitalization -- and ensure every dollar of these investments create good, union jobs that expand the middle class and revitalize communities (while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions). Highlights of my infrastructure plan are described about and my full plan is available at 

With regard to education, I will ensure it is early, lifelong, affordable, and accessible. I will invest in children from birth, ensuring all Americans can take twelve weeks of paid family leave, afford child care, and send their children to universal pre-kindergarten and quality public schools. I will ensure every American has access to a quality education and training beyond high school, including by providing two years of community college without debt, which will immediately offer individuals a way to become work-ready with a two-year degree or an industry certification including through federally Registered Apprenticeships. I will make a $50 billion investment in workforce training, including community-college business partnerships and apprenticeships. In 2014, President Obama asked me to develop a national strategy for reforming our nation’s workforce training programs designed to prepare “ ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs .” Building on the successful models championed through that initiative, including Trade Adjustment Assistance Act Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants, I will make an investment of $50 billion in high-quality training programs. These funds will create and support partnerships between community colleges, businesses, unions, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and high schools to identify in-demand knowledge and skills in a community and develop or modernize training programs – which could be as short as a few months or as long as two years – that lead to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential. These funds will also exponentially increase the number of apprenticeships in this country through strengthening the Registered Apprenticeship Program and partnering with unions who oversee some of the best apprenticeship programs throughout our nation, not watering down the quality of the apprenticeship system like President Trump has . I will also make four year public colleges free for families earning less than $125,000 and invest over $70 billion in HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, double the maximum value of Pell grants to support students with tuition or any other expense --from housing to books -- and halve payments on student loans from 10% to 5% of discretionary income.

In addition to new education and training opportunities, I will pursue economic development policies to revitalize communities impacted by globalization and automation. This includes doubling funding for the Economic Development Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce devoted to economic development, and tasking it with creating a new division devoted to helping underserved communities apply for billions of dollars in federal aid that is available for economic development goals like encouraging industry clusters in manufacturing or information technology. expanding access to broadband, and setting up business incubators. Throughout the Obama-Biden Administration’s work to support the resurgence of places like Detroit, it was clear that helping local leaders apply for federal aid is one of the most important ways to start turning around an economically depressed city. I will also work to establish a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit. The Obama-Biden Administration proposed a $6 billion, three-year initiative to invest in communities that experienced mass layoffs or the closure of a major government institution. As President, I will adopt and expand this initiative, providing five years of funding for projects that boost local economic growth. And I will work to give small manufacturers the tools they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. One lifeline for thousands of them is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program designed to provide small manufacturers with the technical expertise needed to compete in a global economy. While Trump proposed fully cutting this program, I will quadruple its funding, to ensure that more small manufacturers can access the technical and business support it provides.

And, I will ensure widespread access to capital and a progressive tax code so that we can grow the economy for everyone.

If we do all of this, we can ensure that future labor markets help empower workers to not only provide for their families, but be valued contributors to the economy. My dad used to say that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. I believe that every American who wants to work should get a chance to work. And every American should have an opportunity to climb their career ladder to a secure job in the middle class. Simply, we cannot allow technological developments to leave some workers behind—either underemployed or unemployed.


My heart goes out to each and every individual who is suffering because of this virus — the families who are grieving lost loved ones, the scared children of those frontline health workers whose parents are working to save as many lives as possible, the workers who have had their hours slashed or lost their jobs entirely and don’t know how long they can make ends meet.

We are being tested like never before — but I know that we will come through this. The American people have never let this country down. Ordinary people, given the opportunity, are capable of accomplishing extraordinary things. I’ve been saying that throughout this campaign, but in the face of COVID-19, we’re seeing that incredible American grit and spirit shine through.

We all agree on the need to reopen the economy and allow some semblance of normalcy as soon as possible. The economic pain and suffering are simply too great to delay unnecessarily. But it is wrong to talk about “choosing” between our public health and our economy. That’s a false choice. If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength. And the experience of other nations and past pandemics is teaching us that we have to be prepared for a resurgence of cases that could once again stretch the capacity of our health care system and threaten lives.

Public health experts agree there are several keys to safely re-opening the economy and rebuilding the confidence of the American people in their government’s ability to protect them. We need to boost the capacity of our health care system and better protect our health care workers by ramping up the production — and ensuring the fair distribution — of critical equipment like masks and other personal protective equipment, as I have repeatedly called for. We need to test and trace contacts of people who have been infected with COVID-19. And we need clear guidance, oversight, and resources for workplaces to keep employees as safe as possible. We want our country to get moving and healthy again. But we must take the necessary, rational steps, grounded in science, to do so safely, so COVID-19 doesn’t come roaring back, shredding our still-fragile health care system and the green shoots of an economic reopening. Donald Trump says he’s a wartime president. It’s time for him to take responsibility and act like one.

Because once we break the infection curve and stem this public health crisis, we’re going to face the immense job of rebuilding our economy. We can do it. But we can’t just return to an unfair and unequal economy that’s stacked against American workers.

I’ve been saying all throughout this campaign: Wall Street and CEOs didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country — and unions built the middle class. And working families and unions will be the drivers of our success once more. Together, we will make sure everyone has a chance to build a solid, middle class life for themselves and their family in a 21st century economy.

We know what that needs to look like, this will be our chance to make it real: investing in our infrastructure; providing greater access to education and job training; raising wages and protecting workers’ overtime pay; ensuring access to universal health care, while guaranteeing that unions and union members can keep their current insurance, if they choose; protecting pension plans; and above all, more union members, more unions, and more collective bargaining everywhere in America --- in the private sector, in the public sector, in the federal government. Unions are the reason so many workers right now have health insurance and sick leave. You won it at the bargaining table.

I will fight alongside you to make sure every worker in America has those same protections. Not just in a time of crisis—permanently.

I promise you, if I am elected President in November—no one will fight harder for you, your families, and your communities.

So thank you so much for everything that you are doing. Thank you for everything you’re doing to support our front-line workers. Thank you for your spirit of solidarity; for having each other’s backs.