Vice President Kamala Harris will be given a new responsibility as the chairperson for the pro-union task force. She will be in charge of reviving the labor union membership register in America.
On Monday, the White House announced that the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment was established via an executive order signed by President Joe Biden. Federal administrators Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will be appointed as the committee’s vice-chairs.
Harris, as the chairperson, is expected to improve rates of union membership, solve problems that hinder labor organizing, and enhance the care of employees by the federal government.
“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,” read the White House statement.
The committee is given a 6-month deadline to present solutions to the proposed objectives and enact new legislation related to them.
“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 statement declared.
As the White House stated, the Task Force formation is essential given the Biden administration’s explanation that union membership rates have a critical impact on several “serious societal and economic problems” in the United States.
“Widespread and deep economic inequality, stagnant real wages, and the shrinking of America’s middle class are all associated with the declining percentage of workers represented by unions,” claimed the administration. It further linked the low membership numbers to the “exacerbated” discrepancies in payment for people of color and female workers.
The administration firmly asserted that the decreasing number of union employees “compromises our democracy.”
Biden has occasionally publicly supported the labor union movement. However, many doubt that it would be as glamorous to revive union membership as he said. In January, Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies and editor of downsizinggovernment.org, noted in his blog that corruption scandals abound about union leaders taking advantage of their position.
He recalled an investigation into the United Auto Workers union lead by the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit last year. He discovered “a culture of corruption among its leadership built around kickback schemes, embezzlement and other illicit activities.”
“Why would any policymaker want to strengthen such organizations? Yet that is the direction of President Biden,” Edwards said about Biden’s campaign. “His proposals would move backwards by reinforcing the coercive nature of federal labor union law, which is incompatible with personal freedom and the modern economy.”