As America works to recover from the devastating challenges of a deadly pandemic, an economic crisis, and a reckoning on race that reveals deep disparities, we need to summon a new wave of worker power to create an economy that works for everyone. We owe it not only to those who have put in a lifetime of work, but to the next generation of workers who have only known an America of rising inequality and shrinking opportunity. This is especially important for workers of color and for women, who have endured discrimination and systematic exclusion from economic opportunities for generations. All of us deserve to enjoy America’s promise in full — and our nation’s leaders have a responsibility to overcome racial, gender, and other inequalities to make it happen. To that end, the President is calling on Congress to create new, good-quality union jobs for American workers by leveraging their grit and ingenuity to address the climate crisis and build a sustainable infrastructure. Increased unionization can also impact our economic growth overall by improving productivity. President Biden’s plan will:
- Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The President is calling on Congress to pass the PRO Act, which would dramatically enhance the power of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The President believes firmly that unions built the middle class, and empowering workers so they can organize unions and bargain with their employers is imperative for restoring a middle-class way of life for millions of Americans.
- Provide a federal guarantee for public sector employees to bargain for better pay and benefits and the working conditions they deserve. In many states across the country, public sector workers do not have the right to bargain collectively, and these rights are under attack in several more. The President’s plan will guarantee union and bargaining rights for public service workers.
- Empower historically excluded workers. The President’s plan ensures that Americans who have endured systemic discrimination and exclusion for generations finally have a fair shot at obtaining good paying jobs and being part of a union. This includes ensuring domestic workers receive the legal benefits and protections they deserve and tackling pay inequities based on gender.
CREATE GOOD JOBS
The President’s plan will create good jobs in clean energy, physical infrastructure, care infrastructure, manufacturing, and research and development. It demands that employers benefitting from the investments in the American Jobs Act follow strong labor standards and remain neutral when their employees seek to organize a union and bargain collectively. His plan will also ban employers receiving funding from requiring their employees to agree to mandatory individual arbitration. His plan will create:
- Good construction jobs. The President is asking Congress to tie federal investments in clean energy and infrastructure to prevailing wages, and include project labor agreements, Community Workforce, local hire, and registered apprenticeships and other labor or labor-management training programs so that federal investments support good jobs and pathways to the middle class for workers who have too often been left behind.
- Good transportation jobs. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $85 billion to modernize existing transit and to help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand. These investments will maintain existing transit labor protections, including the preservation of rights and benefits of employees under existing collective bargaining agreements and continuation of collective bargaining rights.
- Good caregiving jobs. Caregivers – who are disproportionally women of color – have been underpaid and undervalued for far too long. Wages for essential home care workers are approximately $12 per hour, putting them among the lowest paid workers in our economy. In fact, one in six workers in this sector live in poverty. President Biden is calling on Congress to put $400 billion toward expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities. Biden’s investments in the caregiving workforce will offer caregiving workers a long-overdue raise, stronger benefits, and an opportunity to organize or join a union and collectively bargain. The home- and community-based services expansion under Medicaid will build state infrastructure to improve the quality of services and to support workers. This will improve wages and quality of life for home health workers and yield significant economic benefits for low-income communities and communities of color.
- Good manufacturing jobs. While manufacturing jobs have been a ladder to middle-class life, we have let our industrial heartland be hollowed out, with quality jobs moving abroad or to regions with lower wages and fewer protections for workers. The President’s plan calls for a revitalization of domestic manufacturing, creating hundreds of thousands of good-quality jobs. This includes investments in American-made electric vehicles and batteries manufactured by workers with good jobs. In addition, to ensure that American taxpayers’ dollars benefit working families and their communities, and not multinational corporations or foreign governments, the plan will require that goods and materials are made in America and shipped on U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels.
CONNECT WORKERS WITH GOOD JOBS NOW AND FOR THE FUTURE
- Pair job creation efforts with next generation training programs. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest in evidence-based approaches to supporting workers. This includes wraparound services, income supports, counseling, and case management, paired with high-quality training and effective partnerships between educational institutions, unions, and employers. Specifically, he is calling for a $40 billion investment in a new Dislocated Workers Program and sector-based training. This funding will ensure comprehensive services for workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own to gain new skills and to get career assistance they need to secure in-demand jobs. Sector-based training programs will be focused on growing, high-demand sectors such as clean energy, manufacturing, and caregiving, helping workers of all kinds to find good-quality jobs in an ever-changing economy.
- Build the capacity of the existing workforce development system. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest a combined $38 billion in American workforce development infrastructure and worker protection. This includes registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, creating one to two million new registered apprenticeships slots, and strengthening the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities through successful pre-apprenticeship programs. This will ensure these historically excluded groups have greater access to new infrastructure jobs.
- Ensure federal agencies have the resources to protect workers. President Biden is calling on Congress to provide the federal government with the tools it needs to ensure employers are providing workers with good jobs – including jobs with fair and equal pay, safe and healthy workplaces, and workplaces free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. The President’s plan includes funding to strengthen the capacity of our labor enforcement agencies to protect against discrimination, protect wages and benefits, enforce health and safety safeguards, strengthen health care and pensions plans, and promote union organizing and collective bargaining. In addition to a $10 billion investment in enforcement, the President is calling for increased penalties when employers violate workplace safety and health rules.