VP Harris says infrastructure plan will lead to more union jobs

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday linked the administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan with efforts to expand union jobs and opportunities for women, declaring that “hardhats are actually unisex.”

Speaking at a community college in right-to-work North Carolina, Ms. Harris said “the best way … to get a good job is through a strong union.”

“Union members have better pay, better health care, better retirement, better protections on the job,” the vice president said. “I believe every worker in America deserves the ability to organize or join a union.”

Her comments came less than two weeks after Amazon soundly defeated an effort to unionize workers at its massive warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

The administration’s big-spending infrastructure proposal, which would raise taxes on corporations and individuals earning more than $400,000 annually, faces stiff opposition from congressional Republicans. President Biden was meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Monday to seek support for the plan.

Ms. Harris called the proposal “the largest jobs investment our country has made since World War II.”

“North Carolina, the president and I are determined to get this done,” she said. “Like Americans everywhere, we are not afraid of the hard work it will take.”

She said the proposal will help women make gains in the workforce.

“Because there’s an interesting fact, in case you didn’t know — hardhats are actually unisex,” she said, laughing.

She also defended what’s been called “human infrastructure” in the plan — hundreds of billions of dollars for home health care and child care.

“it keeps working people working,” the vice president said. “Care should be readily available and affordable to working people. Care infrastructure is a basic foundational support system for our nation. It is past time that we invest in it.”

The roughly 15-minute address was the vice president’s first major economic speech, as she plans to take a more visible role in promoting the jobs program. North Carolina is a perennial swing state and will be the setting for perhaps the most contested Senate race in the country in 2022 as the parties vie to replace retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

Former Republican Gov. Pat McRory announced his candidacy last week. Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, also is weighing a possible Senate bid.

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