Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation Calls On President Biden to Cancel All Student Debt

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Source: Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation

The Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation (WMALF), AFL-CIO, a coalition of more than 60 public and private sector unions from across Western Massachusetts, voted unanimously Monday night to pass a resolution calling on President Joe Biden to cancel all student debt by executive order immediately. 

Citing statistics that 55% of Massachusetts residents have student loan debt, with an average amount being $33,256, the resolution also called on Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Representatives Jim McGovern and Richard Neal of Massachusetts’ 1st and 2nd Congressional District, Governor Charlie Baker, and other elected officials at the state and municipal level to urge Biden to cancel all student debt, which he has the power to do under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

“This is an issue that affects 44 million Americans, and canceling student debt is very popular nationally. Especially as we continue to navigate the myriad challenges brought on by the pandemic, canceling student debt will provide relief and invigorate the household budgets of millions of working people across the country,” said Lydia Wood, executive director of WMALF. “Student debt is an economic burden weighing families down for generations,” pointing to the fact that one-fifth of those responsible for paying off a student loan debt are older than fifty, and that older Americans can have their Social Security garnished for falling behind on making payments. Wood added, “For decades we have touted higher education as a path to the middle-class, but that path is increasingly becoming a debt trap, impacting everything from working families’ ability to buy a home, start a family, to pursuing particular careers. We need President Biden to act now to forgive student loans jumpstart our economy, and free millions of Americans from a lifelong burden of debt.” 

The resolution also called on the Massachusetts state and the national offices of the AFL-CIO, all affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the US to pressure Biden to sign an executive order immediately canceling student debt. 

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