By William (Bill) Steinbeck
As a single dad whose family has benefited from President Biden’s child tax credit and someone who has been serving my community every day since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I urge Congress to consider passing policies that support America’s working-class families.
As Congress considers the budget reconciliation bill, our leaders must step up for New York’s essential workers by demanding that the budget bill supports our communities and families.
The budget bill in Congress must address four priorities: increase funding for personal protective equipment for frontline workers, expand paid leave so more workers can get vaccinated without losing a paycheck, strengthen the right of workers to unionize for better working conditions, and expand the Child Tax Credit to ensure more working parents have the help they need.
This year marks 34 years of service as a produce manager at Tops Friendly Markets in Syracuse. These past 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic started have been the most difficult and most rewarding time to serve my community. Throughout my career at Tops Friendly Markets, I have always counted on support from my union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local One.
The unpredictable and stressful situation I have been in as an essential worker due to the pandemic has made me even more grateful for my union and all our successes to make work better. Thanks to my union, I have had access to PPE, priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and safety measures were implemented at my workplace. I know not all workers are as fortunate as me to have a union that looks out for their best interest, and that is a big part of why I am asking Congress to support the right of workers to unionize.
My union has also been a leading voice in the call to provide greater support and financial assistance for working parents and a strong supporter of President Biden’s child tax credit. As someone who has greatly benefitted from this middle class tax cut, I know it would help so many families like mine to expand the child tax credit and make it permanent.
President Biden’s child tax credit has helped me as a single dad in paying for the schooling, school supplies, and other back-to-school essentials for my 14-year-old daughter. It has made our lives better. This child tax credit doesn’t just help our families, it also helps to put money back into our local economy and support so many of the small businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.
I am thankful to our leaders who stand with workers by supporting policies that provide support and financial assistance for working parents. Working parents like me need pro-worker policies like the child tax credit that helps so many of us provide for our families. As COVID risks continue for workers like me, we need Congress to do even more by passing legislation that will provide assistance to support America’s working families.
As one of millions of Americans working hard to support a family, I’m asking Congress to include pro-worker policies in the budget reconciliation bill. All essential workers like me have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one. Essential workers in Syracuse and across New York have earned the support and assistance we are asking Congress to deliver.
To make sure essential workers can continue to serve our communities during this devastating pandemic with dignity and respect, Congress and President Biden must include funding for frontline worker PPE, guarantee paid leave so all workers can get vaccinated without sacrificing a paycheck, strengthen the ability of workers to speak out for safer working conditions, and make permanent the child tax credit to support hardworking families.
Those of us who are on the frontlines, like me, need Congress to step up and do what’s best for America’s workers. That starts with making the child tax credit permanent, which will help thousands of working parents across the country. Congress must do the right thing and make the well-being and health of working families a priority in the upcoming budget and infrastructure bills.
William (Bill) Steinbeck is a member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local One and workers at Tops Friendly Markets in Syracuse, New York.