WH Task Force to develop ways to facilitate union organizing, bargaining…

The White House has launched a new push to help the nation’s workers—including federal employees—who want to join, or make better use of, employee unions—an effort particularly aimed at improving awareness, easing collective bargaining and generally improving policies and practices as permitted under established law.

In an Executive Order, signed last week, the president created a new White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, to develop and facilitate the improvements.

“The mission of the Task Force will be to mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers,” the president stated, in the EO. “This 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 broad order includes both “private and public-sector employees” in its language—and its effects will extend to federal employee unions, which long have lobbied successive White Houses for stronger support for organized labor. Some among those unions are registering their support for the EO—with the American Federation of Government Employees quickly speaking out.

“On behalf of 700,000 workers represented by AFGE, I thank President Biden for creating this task force to address the urgent need of millions of American workers unable to exercise their right to join a union today because of artificial legal barriers and rampant union busting,” the union’s president, Everett Kelley, said in a release. “With today’s action, he is continuing to deliver on his campaign promise to be the most pro-union, pro-worker president ever.”

“Making it easier for workers to join a union will help more Americans share in the better wages, benefits, and working conditions that come with union membership—growing our economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” the union’s release continues.

The union notes that the EO is pushing both to “improve or change existing policies and practices to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the federal government,” as well as to “put in place new policies to achieve the mission.”

The Task Force is clearly an important part of President Biden’s many pledges, as reflected in the EO, to make the federal government a model employer with respect to unions and labor relations. The panel has 180 days to offer its first recommendations.


Reader comments

Fri, May 7, 2021

Unions help workers get paid a decent wage. Dearborn Strike. 1934. Google it folks.

Thu, May 6, 2021 Paul Anderson AFGE Local 4060

For all my coworkers at FEMA, I deeply appreciate this administration's commitment to the voices and dignity of every federal worker. I am hopeful that all FEMA employees will one day have the right to union representation if they choose. It's about partnership and a path to success for each person on the federal team.

Wed, May 5, 2021

The fed emp unions are pretty weak. What they can do. But much much better than nothing.

Wed, May 5, 2021 Tom

Organized labor unions brought this country out of a Dickens hell and into a middle class life for most of its people. Changing technology and outsourcing and other disruptions, especially corporate lobbying to weaken unions, has totally eaten away at organized labor. I for one have to hope that this White House backed by a more informed public (after seeing how ridiculously bad things had become) are turning this around. Sure some unions are bad. But on the whole it is THE WAY up and out of miserable underpaid or dangerous workforce lorded over by Richie Rich greedy people and a whole class of "thinkers" and writers who say that's the "natural" capitalist way to be. No it's not. That was stupid. A stupid several decades. HOORAY FOR THIS White House AND THIS EFFORT TO bring back UNIONS!!!

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