Shortly after taking office in January, 2021, President Biden created the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The Task Force’s mission is to develop policies, programs and practices to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining. It is chaired by Vice President Harris, its vice chair is Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and its members include more than 20 federal agencies.
In October, 2021, the Task Force presented almost 70 recommendations to the White House, all of which were accepted by the President and announced by the Task Force in a press release issued on February 7, 2022. The recommendations are contained within a 45-page report and are designed to promote and increase unionization in both the public and private sectors. The suggested actions to be taken are far ranging and include eliminating barriers to union organizers and increasing worker’s access to information regarding their right to bargain collectively and the process by which to do so. More specifically, the recommendations include:
- Ensuring workers know their rights with respect to union organizing and bargaining.
- Establishing a resource center on unions and collective bargaining.
- Collecting and reporting more information on unions and their role in the U.S. economy.
- Providing information about an employer’s use of anti-union consultants.
- Protecting workers who face illegal retaliation when they organize and when they assert their right to organize.
- Supporting worker organizing and collective bargaining in underserved communities in order to advance equity in those areas.
The Task Force report follows several other pro-union initiatives and actions from the Biden Administration in the preceding weeks, such as:
- The Biden Administration’s January 21, 2022 “Good Jobs” initiative that, similar to some of the Task Force recommendations, is designed to provide additional information to workers and support organizing efforts. (Click HERE to read)
- The memo issued by the NLRB on February 1, 2022, in which General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced an initiative to seek injunctions under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act in certain cases where workers have been subjected to threats or other coercive action during an organizing campaign.
- President Biden’s February 4, 2022 Executive Order mandating that all federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more must use a project labor agreement, which is a labor agreement between employers and trade unions that establishes common labor and dispute resolution terms for that project.
As the Biden Administration continues on its path of increasing union membership and unionized workforces, we will keep you informed of the latest developments and hurdles facing U.S. businesses.
If you have questions about this or other labor or employment issues, please contact Joel Hlavaty or another member of the Frantz Ward Labor & Employment Group.