Biden holds a joint assembly with union leaders and CEOs of main retail, auto, and know-how firms
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden hosted a joint meeting with union leaders and senior executives from major tech, retail and auto companies on Monday.
The directors of the virtual meeting were Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, Satya Nadella, President and CEO of Microsoft, Brian Cornell, Chairman and Chief Executive of Target, and Sonia Syngal, CEO of Gap.
Union leaders included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union; Rory Gamble, President of the United Auto Workers; Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
“To say the obvious, we’re in a pretty dark hole right now,” Biden said at the beginning of the meeting. “We are facing a dark winter with Covid.”
“They all have different perspectives on how we can best deal with the virus. And how we can ensure that workers and small businesses stay safe and that we are getting on as we should,” said Biden, who was at the meeting from there was Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
“We all agree on common goals. We’re pretty much in step,” Biden continued. “We all agree that we cannot just downgrade [after Covid]we better have to dismantle. “
The event marks the first time that, as President-elect, Biden has officially convened business and union leaders to discuss his agenda for economic recovery.
The former vice president joked that he deserved “a Nobel Prize” for bringing union leaders and CEOs together at the same event.
“I look forward to hearing what you think,” Biden said to the group. “What is Covid important to get back to work safely?”
The meeting was the latest example of Biden pushing the traditional schedule for an elected president despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to allow the race.
Each of the union leaders represented a union that supported Biden’s presidential campaign in whole or in part.
The presence of such high-profile CEOs was more notable, however, largely because it was a public affirmation of Biden’s legitimacy as president-elect.
After the meeting, Biden should make remarks about “making sure our workers and businesses can work safely and rebuilding our economies to be more resilient and inclusive,” said a transition worker.
He is also expected to discuss how economic recovery depends on controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.