On April 26, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order establishing the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment with a mission to “promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the public and private sectors, and to increase union density.”
The task force will operate on two tracks: identify existing executive branch actions that can be taken to encourage unionization and collective bargaining and recommend new federal laws or regulations that would provide the federal government with “more effective means” to support unionization. It will be chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and involve all cabinet secretaries and other administration staff for a “whole-of-government approach.” Its recommendations are due within 180 days.
This executive order comes as the White House has steadily ramped up a pro-union agenda supporting the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, bailing out failed union pension plans via a COVID-19 relief bill, recommending more than $400 billion be steered to public sector home healthcare workers unions via an infrastructure bill, and issuing a promotional video tied to a failed union organizing campaign.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the Republican Leader of House Committee on Education and Labor, slammed the task force as “anti-worker” and said:
“President Biden further solidified his cushy relationship with union bosses; the same people responsible for swindling workers’ hard-earned paychecks and pushing radical, unworkable policies that lead to lower economic growth, higher unemployment, and less workplace freedom. Democrats have long been skeptical of workers’ ability to decide for themselves whether to join a union, and today’s Executive Order underscores the distrust Biden’s administration has for working class Americans.”
The PRO Act, which the president has called for Congress to approve as part of an unrelated infrastructure bill, would harm employees and independent workers, harm job creators, and tilt the playing field and give unions unfair advantages.