Federal Task Force Recommendations Support White House’s Pro-Union Agenda
The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which was created by President Biden’s April 26, 2021 Executive Order, released a report this month with nearly 70 recommendations that promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in both the public and private sector. Notably, some of these recommendations go beyond union organizing issues.
The U.S. Department of Labor will work across the 20 participant agencies to implement the recommendations, which include the following (according to the DOL’s press release, with our commentary in parentheses):
- Ensuring workers know their organizing and bargaining rights. (This would include a “Know Your Rights” initiative).
- Protecting workers who face illegal retaliation when they organize and stand up for workplace rights.
- Establishing a resource center on unions and collective bargaining.
- Shedding light on employer’s use of anti-union consultants (e.g. a renewed focus on the “persuader rule”).
- Collecting and reporting more information on unions and their role in the U.S. economy.
- Advancing equity across underserved communities by supporting worker organizing and collective bargaining.
We note some additional recommendations of interest generally, the first of which is equally applicable to non-union employers who are not facing organizing activity:
- Preventing and addressing misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
- Reducing administrative and tax burdens on workers joining unions.
- Working with the Union Veterans Council to help service members, their spouses, and veterans transition into (specifically) “good” union jobs.
- Ensuring union representation on federal advisory committees (which gives unions a greater voice on policy issues).
In addition, federal contractors and subcontractors may be impacted by the following recommendations:
- Ensuring union access to contractor employees on federal property.
- Strengthening Service Act compliance and enforcement efforts.
- Requiring compensation plans for blue collar workers on service contracts.
- Revisiting Davis-Bacon Act regulations (to ensure unionized construction contractors are not disadvantaged in the contract bidding process).
- Increasing the number of agency labor advisors (to ensure compliance with labor standards).
The bottom line is that these recommendations are unashamedly intended to promote the current Administration’s policy of support for worker power, worker organizing and collective bargaining, which is also evidenced by the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel’s recent memo on her actions to increase interagency cooperation, as discussed elsewhere in this E-Update.