President Joe Biden on April 26 signed an executive order that created a Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment to increase union density and union organizing in the country.
The group will be led by Vice President Kamala Harris and DOL Secretary Marty Walsh and have more than 20 members of Biden’s Cabinet and heads of agencies involved, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
“American workers have faced increasing barriers to organizing and bargaining collectively with their employers. Economic change in the United States and globally, technological developments, and the failure to modernize federal organizing and labor-management relations laws so they respond appropriately to the reality found in American workplaces have made worker organizing exceedingly difficult. The result has been a steady decline in union membership in the United States over past decades,” a White House fact sheet on the creation of the task force stated. “Since 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted, the policy of the federal government has been to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, not to merely allow or tolerate them. In the 86 years since the Act was passed, the federal government has never fully implemented this policy.”
The task force intends to, within 180 days, recommend ways that current policies, programs and practices can be used to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the federal government and identify where new policies, regulatory and statutory changes are needed to achieve the task force’s mission.
The goals set forth for the task force are:
- Lead by example by ensuring that the federal government is a model employer with respect to encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining among its workforce.
- Facilitate worker organizing across the country by taking an all-of-government approach to mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs and practices to provide workers the opportunity to organize and bargain collectively.
- Increase worker power in underserved communities by examining and seeking to address the particular challenges to worker organizing in jurisdictions with restrictive labor laws; the added challenges that marginalized workers in many communities encounter, including women and people of color; and the heightened barriers to organizing workers in certain industries.
- Increase union membership across the United States to grow a more inclusive middle class and provide workers the opportunity to come together for the purpose of mutual advancement, the dignity of worker and workers, respect and the fair compensation they deserve.