Readout of Ambassador Katherine Tai's Roundtable with the Washington State Labor Council

August 05, 2021

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today participated in a roundtable with the Washington State Labor Council at the Seattle Machinists Hall.

During the roundtable discussion, Ambassador Tai heard directly from local labor leaders, union representatives, and workers about how trade has impacted their lives. The Ambassador highlighted the importance of crafting a worker-centered trade policy that lifts all workers. 

Finally, she highlighted how workers will benefit from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill would create good-paying, union jobs that will position the United States for economic success in the 21st century. Additionally, its Buy America provisions will meet President Biden’s pledge to ensure the future is made in America by America’s workers.
Ambassador Tai’s opening remarks from the roundtable, as prepared for delivery, are below:
Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you very much for having me here today.  I want to especially thank Congresswoman DelBene for hosting me throughout this trip.  Your hospitality has been greatly appreciated – and I look forward to continuing our work together.
Before we get started, I want to acknowledge the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Today’s news means we have lost one of the most important labor leaders in our country’s history.  Richard Trumka embodied the strength and resilience of the labor movement.
I worked with President Trumka throughout my career.  After I was sworn in as United States Trade Representative, he personally invited me to come to the AFL-CIO headquarters and lay out our vision for a worker-centered trade policy.  This was a great honor and a privilege – and one I will never forget. 
On behalf of my entire staff, I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to you all and the entire labor community for this loss.
President Trumka was very supportive of our vision for a worker-centered trade policy – and the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda that lifts up our workers.  And that is why I’m here today.  President Biden and I are committed to crafting a trade policy that is crafted with workers for workers.

I hope today we can have an honest conversation about your priorities and concerns so that we can develop a trade policy that lifts wages, empowers workers, and expands economic opportunity at home and around the globe.
These conversations have real impacts.  Earlier this summer in Brussels, we announced a historic agreement to resolve the long-standing dispute involving Boeing and Airbus.
My team and I heard from workers, aerospace leaders, and unions frequently about the need to resolve this dispute.  And that’s exactly what we did.
The President believes our economy should be built from the bottom up and the middle out. And In its first five months in office, the Biden-Harris Administration has created more than 3 million jobs.  That is more than any presidential administration has created in its first five months.
But we know more work is needed, and that’s why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is so important.  It is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment that will support good-paying, union jobs.  And it has broad, bipartisan support, which we don’t often see.
Washington will benefit greatly from this bill as it will modernize and repair our roads and bridges, build resilient energy networks, and invest in clean energy.  There are a few parts of this bill I want to highlight that I know will help the labor community:
This bill, on top of the President’s Build Back Better agenda, will create approximately 2 million jobs annually over the next ten years. 
This bill lives up to President Biden’s pledge to ensure the future is made in America by all of America’s workers. Its Buy America provision will ensure that all infrastructure projects will be built with American steel, iron, and construction materials, and revitalize our domestic industrial sector.
In addition to the economic benefits, investment in American infrastructure is critical to our long-term security and maintaining our competitive edge in the global economy. I hope Congress will quickly pass it and send it to the President’s desk.
I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas on how we can advance this priority and make sure it benefits each of you. Thank you.