By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent, @StacyBrownMedia
President Joe Biden is establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment with a mission to mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers.
Headed by Vice President Kamala Harris, the mission includes looking for ways to increase worker power in areas of the country with restrictive labor laws, for marginalized workers, including women and people of color, and for workers in industries that are difficult to organize and lack labor protections.
The White House said the Task Force would comprise more than twenty cabinet members and heads of other federal agencies with powerful levers to help the Task Force carry out its mission.
The Task Force will engage with a diverse set of leaders in the labor movement, academia, advocacy groups, and beyond to seek ideas for potential federal action and feedback on initiatives under consideration.
In an executive order issued Monday, April 26, President Biden directed the Task Force to make a set of recommendations within 180 days addressing two key issues.
The first issue is how can existing policies, programs, and practices promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the federal government?
The second issue is, where are new policies needed to achieve the Task Force’s mission, and what are the associated regulatory and statutory changes needed?
“The Task Force will be a historic effort to put the federal government’s policy of encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining into action,” the White House noted in a briefing.
The Task Force will endeavor to achieve the following four goals:
1. Lead by example by ensuring that the federal government is a model employer concerning encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining among its workforce.
2. 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.
3. 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 high barriers to organizing workers in specific industries.
4. Increase union membership across the United States to grow a more inclusive middle class and provide workers the opportunity to come together for mutual advancement, the dignity of workers, respect, and the fair compensation they deserve.