Vice President Joe Biden told a group of labor leaders Thursday at Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Resort that he and the president are committed to helping U.S. workers and the middle class.
"We will judge the success or failure of our administration based on whether or not the standard of living of the middle class has increased," Biden said to the AFL-CIO Executive Committee plus about a hundred other labor supporters. "Neither one of us believes it can get better without you getting stronger."
Biden received a rousing ovation when he mentioned the Employee Free Choice Act that the Obama administration has proposed and took a swipe at corporate executives.
"It's just not right when the average CEO makes $10,000 more every day than what the average worker makes every year," Biden said.
"We're not asking for anything we don't deserve. We just want to level the playing field again. I have a simple, basic belief: If a union is what you want, a union you're entitled to have."
Persuading Congress to pass the act is one of organized labor's top priorities. The proposed law would require companies to negotiate with a union if a majority of workers sign cards for that purpose. It also would allow for binding arbitration if the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on wages and working conditions. And it would increase the penalties for companies that violate labor laws by, for example, firing or harassing union supporters.
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