President Joe Biden, often touting himself as the most pro-union president in history, made his presence felt at the annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade in Philadelphia on Monday. The Democratic president delivered a speech highlighting the significance of unions in the United States and the nation’s ongoing recovery from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This Labor Day, we’re celebrating jobs—good-paying jobs that allow you to raise a family, union jobs,” President Biden conveyed to the enthusiastic crowd on Monday.
As the U.S. continues to witness job growth and an increasing number of people re-entering the workforce, President Biden is keen to spotlight these positive trends as he looks ahead to his potential reelection bid in 2024.
“As we approach Labor Day, let’s pause to acknowledge that America is currently experiencing one of its most robust job-creating periods in history,” Biden remarked on Friday, following the announcement that the U.S. had added 187,000 jobs in August. This data serves as evidence of a resilient labor market despite the Federal Reserve’s imposition of high interest rates.
The Labor Department’s report from Friday also revealed a rise in the unemployment rate from 3.5% to 3.8%, marking the highest level since February 2022. However, this increase was driven by a positive factor: 736,000 individuals reentered the job market in the previous month, the most significant influx since January. It’s essential to note that only those actively seeking employment are counted as unemployed.
“People are coming off the sidelines and returning to the workforce,” President Biden emphasized.
At the Tri-State Labor Day event in Philadelphia, hundreds of union workers, proudly displaying their local union attire, including the Sheet Metal Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, Stagehands, and others, gathered on a warm and humid morning to hear the president’s address.
Lenny Nutter, a resident of Philadelphia wearing a Laborers International Union shirt, attended the event to show support for the President. He noted that unions have become more active, in part due to the policies implemented by President Biden.
“Unions are growing, and more work opportunities have been provided to union workers,” Nutter remarked.
President Biden has taken various executive actions to promote worker organizing, publicly endorsed unionization efforts at major corporations like Amazon, and authorized federal funding to bolster union members’ pensions. Just last week, his administration proposed a new rule that could make 3.6 million more U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay, marking one of the most significant increases in decades.
Additionally, President Biden has traveled the country, emphasizing how union labor is contributing to infrastructure projects such as building bridges and improving train tunnels, as part of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion public works package passed by Congress in 2021.
“Unions elevate standards across industries and the entire workforce, raising wages and enhancing benefits for all,” President Biden emphasized on Friday. “I’ve said it many times: Wall Street didn’t build America. The middle class built America, and unions built the middle class.”
The 36th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration is organized by the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, a coalition of over 100 local labor unions representing more than 150,000 workers, according to their website.
According to sources familiar with the matter in both India and China, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to skip the upcoming G20 summit of world leaders in India, scheduled for September 9-10. Instead, Premier Li Qiang is likely to represent Beijing at the event.
Despite inquiries, spokespersons for both the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries have not provided official comments or confirmations regarding Xi’s absence.
The G20 summit in India had been seen as a potential opportunity for Xi Jinping to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, who has confirmed his attendance. The two superpowers have been striving to mend their relations, which have been strained by various trade and geopolitical issues. The last meeting between Xi and Biden occurred on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November of the previous year.
In addition to Xi’s expected absence, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already declared that he will not travel to New Delhi, choosing instead to send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as his representative.
A senior Indian government official involved in hosting the summit stated, “We are aware that the premier will come,” referring to Premier Li Qiang as the likely representative for China in place of Xi.
Sources in China, including foreign diplomats and government officials from other G20 countries, have also suggested that Xi will not be attending the summit. However, they did not have information on the specific reasons for his expected absence.
All sources provided this information on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The anticipation of a potential meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden has been fueled by multiple high-level U.S. officials visiting Beijing in recent months, including a recent trip by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Another upcoming summit that has been proposed for a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting in San Francisco, scheduled for November 12-18.
Xi Jinping, who secured a precedent-breaking third term as China’s leader in October of the previous year, has made few overseas trips since China eased strict pandemic-induced border controls earlier this year. However, he did participate in a meeting with leaders of the BRICS group of major emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in South Africa just last week.
Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi has responded to Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s recent statement regarding the “eradication of Sanatana Dharma.” Expressing her concern, Lekhi has attributed the surge in such reactions to what she perceives as a form of mental bankruptcy.
Lekhi argued that these reactions are coming from individuals who not only lack an understanding of and respect for the traditions of Sanatana Dharma but also have limited knowledge of their own living heritage.
“The one who is steadfast in his statement is engaged in politics… He harbors hatred against Sanatana. This is not the first time that Hindu society has faced such hatred; it has persisted throughout history. However, today, people are not accepting this resistance. We are witnessing a surge in reactions because this kind of mental bankruptcy is prevalent among those who show disrespect towards Sanatana traditions and possess minimal knowledge of their own living heritage,” she remarked.