Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference ‘A Better Deal on Jobs’
Contact: Taylor Griffin, 202-226-7616
San Francisco – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Mayor Ed Lee, City College of San Francisco Chancellor Mark Rocha and students for a press conference at CityBuild Academy, a comprehensive pre-apprenticeship and construction administration training program for San Francisco residents. The event highlighted Democrats’ economic agenda “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future." Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Wonderful to be here with all of you. You are such an inspiration. I’m honored to here with all of you, with Mayor Ed Lee, with Mark Rocha the [City] College of San Francisco Chancellor, Torrance Bynum, Dean of the Evans Campus, Zena Johnson, our very special VIP, she spoke to us earlier and with Meg-Ann Pryor, a CityBuild graduate.
As we go into the weekend of Labor Day, it is privilege to be here to celebrate a vital organization that understands the value of American workers – CityBuild. City Build has created a path to good-paying jobs for thousands of hard-working Americans. CityBuild changes lives. It strengthens families. It creates healthier communities and a bigger middle class.
As I said in there, I was so proud to see so many of our friends from the trades in here because our middle class in America has a union label on it and is essential to our democracy. Here comes our Mayor [Ed Lee] – welcome, Mr. Mayor! What an honor it is to be here, I know spoke for all of us in that regard.
We must build on that progress, because a successful middle class is backbone not only of our economy but of our democracy. That’s why we are launching our ambitious new economic agenda: A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.
A Better Deal is our commitment to the hard-working men and women who have felt left out and left behind for so long. A Better Deal is our promise to tilt the playing field back on the side of American workers.
I’ve always believed it was a question of who has the leverage, who has the leverage? With the great productivity of the American worker we believe the leverage [lives] with the American worker.
A Better Deal means bigger, braver thinking. Together, we commit to creating jobs and raising incomes for American workers – by creating good-paying jobs we are committing to 10 million more jobs in the next five years. I think it will be more, but I’m guaranteeing the 10.
Lowering the cost of living for American families – by lowering the cost of prescription drugs; and by cracking down on monopolies [that] make paying the bills just harder for America’s working families.
Giving every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century – with work-based learning, including apprenticeships, community colleges, and paid on-the-job training and now today we’re getting as a gift – this is a toolkit by the students here which I will display with great pride in the Capitol of the United States. What’s great about it is it is part of our Better Deal has been a toolkit for the future and you made it right here!
You have all the makings whether it’s learning the skills, appreciating the safety factors, understanding the routine of showing up on time and all the rest of it and the commitment to yourself to reach your own aspirations that’s what this toolkit will contain for me forever. So come see me there and you’ll see your good work displayed for everyone else that visits the capitol as well!
And with that, I’m pleased to yield to the gentleman who is sharing this toolkit with me, a person who has been so responsible for what we have seen every day, he has been a builder every day of his official life, he knows what it takes to help people reach their aspirations and he knows what that means to our city. So when we say ‘Build, Build, Build!’ the Mayor has been doing just that. Thank you, Mayor Lee!
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Leader Pelosi. The mayor has agreed to answer questions –
Let me just say, Meg-Ann and Zena, they’re our VIPs of the day but I also what to acknowledge Martin who gave us the tour and Tony and James and Andy who presented in there as well and Yomo who introduced us to everyone. Any questions, they’ll be happy to take them. I’ll take the easy ones.
Any questions from the press? First we want questions about CityBuild.
Q: We heard beautiful sentiments from current students today and a graduate about the incredible opportunity they have to do [this] and also a little bit about the salary they are making. Can you talk about the need for affordable housing – maybe this is a question for the Mayor but you talked about – we don’t want these individuals living in Antioch, we want them living where they work in San Francisco. How much of a piece of this is the need for affordable housing?
Mayor Ed Lee. Well first of all I’m going to depend upon this workforce to help me build and rebuild all the middle class housing, the workforce housing we need in this city and I know working with the Board of Supervisors – I think I saw [Supervisor] Ahsha Safai here a minute ago, I think the Board and the Mayor’s Office is working hand in hand to build that workforce housing that we need so we don’t have our workforce – whether they’re people here or 911 dispatchers or firefighters or police officers who have to come from a far in order to get to work.
So we’re on a very clear path of building more housing, but having the private developers even contribute in their inclusionary housing and allowing the development of middle income housing and that being part of the benefits that we want to seek in these large developments.
At the same time, it can’t just be us – I think the Mayors in the entire Bay Area we’re all working together to make sure our entire region honors the need for more housing. Because, again, if we can prevent people from going so far away from being able to get to their jobs we’re going to be that much more responsible to our climate, use the transit systems that we’re building and have them closer to the best education like City College and our unified school district and also have the best jobs right here.
We’re working this all out even with the labor union leadership; we’re working on this all together. They don’t want to see their members coming from across the Bay to go to work or to go home. So, I think we’re going to have even a more prolific effort to see housing locally and within the region.
Q: Congresswoman, would it be okay to ask a question about a different topic?
Leader Pelosi. If we have exhausted questions that relate to this –
Q: You mentioned the important of union labor, could you expand on that concept a little bit?
Leader Pelosi. I’m sorry, what dear?
Q: You mentioned the importance of union labor to the middle class, can you expand on that a little bit?
Leader Pelosi. Yes, well I have said that the middle class in America has a union label on it. By that, I mean historically and in the present. Historically, we would not have a forty-hour work week, we wouldn’t have an expression called weekend, the eight hour day, overtime, OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration], NLRB [National Labor Relations Board], respecting the rights of workers, collective bargaining, where our workers can, as the expression goes, bargain collectively. And so, the work of organizers in the early part of the last century and all through it and after World War II as well were very constructive in building the middle class. It just simply would not exist without organized labor in our country.
That goes on now because we have to fight those who want to eliminate collective bargaining, repeal OSHA, diminish the work protections that OSHA provides, the negotiation ability of the National Labor Relations Board and the rest. So when we support labor, we support all workers whether they belong to a labor union or not because in lifting up organized labor, we are lifting up all workers as well. Any others on this –
Q: Speaking of the environment – [inaudible]
Leader Pelosi. Well, this is construction. We are talking about building. We are talking about construction. Martin took us through, we started with the sheet metal, we went to plumbing, we went to tile, right here – tile, construction, iron workers, they are the bravest of them all. I don’t know how they do it.
So we saw all the elements that go into it so when you’re talking about renewable energy, you are talking about all of these elements that go into it as well. I don’t know if the Mayor has something to say but I do want to say how proud we are of Jerry Brown for leading the lead in the world in protecting God’s creation to us, our planet.
I talked to my daughter this morning who lives in Houston, Texas with my three grandsons and her husband and she said to me, ‘do you think people will catch on that this climate issue does have an impact in peoples’ lives and that we have to address climate change?’
So, again, this is all connected. As I mention them, I do so prayerfully that we pray for the people of Houston and the surrounding area as well. But the connection of all of this is very different and I appreciate your making that reference. Any other person? We’ll come back to you but, in case anyone else.
Leader Pelosi. We were applauding the students when we were meeting with them earlier. We thank them for being entrepreneurial in their own lives, to reach their own aspirations by getting the training and the tools needed for the future. One of the reasons that I wanted to display that toolkit in the Capitol for everyone to see is because this is a commitment to them. They are making a commitment, their own personal commitment which is the biggest commitment of all. In A Better Deal, what we’re talking about is an investment in education and training which is a lifetime proposition and, I’ll tell you this, because we are going into some fights on the budget now, as we go back into Congress. Hopefully we can find some common ground.
But when people say we have to cut financial aid and Pell grants and education funds to reduce the deficit, that is totally, completely, utterly wrong. Nothing does more for our country than the education of our people. Nothing. That is a value. This is a fact attached to the value. Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States to reduce the deficit than the education of the American people: early childhood, K through 12, higher education, lifetime learning for our workers. So to say you’re going to cut investments in education and training to reduce the deficit is completely wrong because you will increase the deficit.
So what you are doing, your investments, your hope, your confidence in yourself is not only great for you but it is great for our country and, by the way, it helps reduce the deficit. So thank you all. Thank you all for coming. Thank you to the Mayor [Lee] and the Chancellor [Rocha] and all those who made this possible. Most of all, most of all, we salute the students.
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