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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

White House Workers' Task Force Led By Vice President Harris Proposes Strengthening Unions In New Report

The workers' task force provided 70 recommendations promoting pro-union policies and practices in the federal government.

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US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks after visiting the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership Building Industry Group and Skilled Trades Employment Program on January 24, 2022, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks after visiting the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership Building Industry Group and Skilled Trades Employment Program on January 24, 2022, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Photo: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP (Getty Images)

The pandemic has given America time to look at the scope of employment and what means the most to workers – ranging from hybrid/work from home, wages, and job titles. In April 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order establishing the Worker Organizing and Empowerment task force headed by Vice President Kamala Harris. The task force sought to “facilitate worker organizing across the country, increase worker power in underserved communities and increase union membership.”

According to CNN, a report has been released from the task force providing 70 policy proposals that could make it easier for federal workers and contractors to unionize.

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From CNN:

“As the President has said, ‘unions built the middle class.’ They ‘lift up workers, both union and non-union.’ At its core, it is our administration’s belief that unions benefit all of us,” the official said in a statement. “The Biden-Harris Administration believes that increasing worker organizing and empowerment is critical to growing the middle class, building an economy that puts workers first, and strengthening our democracy.”

The suggestions are meant to “promote worker organizing and collective bargaining for federal employees, and for workers employed by public and private-sector employers,” according to the report. “The recommendations include ways to increase private sector workers’ access to information about their existing right to join and/or organize a union, and the legally-defined process of how to do so.”

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Some of the recommendations include:

  • Eliminating “barriers to union organizers being able to talk with employees on federal property about the benefits of organizing a union, at agencies including the General Services Administration and the Department of Interior.
  • Ensuring “federal contract dollars are not spent on anti-union campaigns” at the Department of Labor, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
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AP News also noted the report highlighted a correlation of a drop of union membership running in tandem with wage disparity:

The report argues that a decades-long drop in union membership has coincided with a rising share of income going to the top 10% of earners. It further says that most Americans have a favorable impression of unions and would join one if given the option in a vote. Yet the Labor Department reported last month that only 10.3% of workers belonged to a union in 2021, down from 20.1% in 1983.

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These recommendations come on the heels of President Biden’s signing an executive order seeking to strengthen union construction jobs last week and his comments backing an Amazon union in Alabama last year.