Vice President Biden uses Labor Day speech to call for "a fair share" for workers

Sep 1, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly raised the issue of income inequality during a speech before the start of today’s Labor Day parade in Detroit.

Vice President Joe Biden talking to a Labor Day crowd in Detroit.    UAW Pres. Dennis Williams listens.
Vice President Joe Biden talking to a Labor Day crowd in Detroit. UAW Pres. Dennis Williams listens.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of union workers packed the grounds of Old Tiger Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull to hear the Vice President speak. Biden was flanked on stage by  Teamsters President James P. Hoffa and United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams.  

Biden lashed out at corporations and the wealthy who make millions of dollars while union workers continue to struggle.

“One of the reasons we’re not growing is because ordinary people have no money in their pockets for their wages….they are not being rewarded,” says Biden,  “Why in God’s name, does someone who makes tens of millions of dollars managing a hedge fund pay only 15% in taxes while a GM worker earning $55,000 pays 25% in taxes?”

Vice President Joe Biden was flanked on stage by  Teamsters President James P. Hoffa (right) and United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams.
Vice President Joe Biden was flanked on stage by Teamsters President James P. Hoffa (right) and United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Vice President says there’s a problem with the national conversation when unions are blamed for hurting the nation’s economy. Biden also questioned the logic of discussing more tax breaks for corporations and less regulation for Wall Street banks.

Michigan Republicans took exception to Biden’s speech. 

In a written statement, the state Republican Party suggested, "This Labor Day, Vice President Biden and Washington Democrats could learn from the progress we’re making in the Comeback State.”

The statement went on to credit GOP policies for lifting Michigan out of the recession. 

Biden credited the Obama administration for helping to save the auto industry, which has added hundreds of thousands of jobs in recent years. 

The Vice President is becoming something of a fixture at Detroit’s Labor Day parade.   He also stopped by in 2012.