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White House Task Force Issues Report on Strengthening Unions

The white house in washington, dc.

​The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment issued a report on Feb. 7 that included 70 proposals for strengthening unions. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets.

DOL Will Play a Leading Role

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will work across agencies to implement the task force's recommendations, including:

  • Ensuring workers know their organizing and bargaining rights.
  • Protecting workers who face illegal retaliation when they organize and stand up for workplace rights.
  • Establishing a resource center on unions and collective bargaining.
  • Shining light on employers' use of anti-union consultants.
  • 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.

"The U.S. Department of Labor will play a critical role in helping the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment to achieve its mission," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.


High-Profile Members

Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and vice-chaired by Walsh, the task force includes more than 20 Cabinet members and heads of federal agencies. One of the goals of the task force is to ensure that the federal government is "a model employer with respect to encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining among its workforce."

(SHRM Online)

Increasing Union Membership in Federal Workforce

More than 300,000 employees in the federal government are eligible to join a union but have not, the report said. The government will offer unions seeking to build membership greater access to federal employees, according to the report.


Directions to Federal Government as an Employer

Many of the report's proposals are directions to the federal government as an employer. The Interior Department is among four agencies that now will let union organizers talk with employees on federal property. The departments of Transportation and Commerce will set preferences and guidelines for federal grants to promote union jobs. There also will be a ban on federal contract dollars from the Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor departments, as well as the Office of Management and Budget, going to anti-union activities.

(AP via PBS News Hour)

Recommendations for Private-Sector Workers

For private-sector workers, the task force recommended tightening procedures around disclosure requirements for companies that hire anti-union consultants, such as having companies that are federal contractors identify themselves. Just 6.1 percent of private-sector workers were members of unions last year. Almost half of nonunion workers—48 percent—have said in surveys that they would join a union if given the option.

(The Washington Post)


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