WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: As Biden establishes White House task force on worker organizing and empowerment

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday signed an Executive Order establishing the White House task force on worker organizing and empowerment.

The White House described the task force as “a historic effort to mobilize the federal government’s programs, policies, and practices to empower workers to organize and collectively bargain with their employers.”
The president named Vice-President Harris and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh Chair and Vice-Chair of the Task Force, which will have a specific focus on increasing worker power in marginalized and underserved communities. The Task Force will include more than twenty cabinet members and department heads.
The President’s announcement earned widespread support from union leaders and workers’ organizations across the country, who also thanked him for championing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
See below for what they are saying:
Richard Trumka, President, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO): “The fight to strengthen working people’s freedoms on the job has never been more urgent, and President Biden is right to give this effort the resources and attention it demands. He understands that unionism is the single most effective tool we have for building a fairer economy and a more just society. Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary Walsh, this task force will put organizing and collective bargaining at the center of the federal government — part of their steadfast commitment to worker empowerment. Of course, the most important thing we can do to empower workers is pass the PRO Act, and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to get the job done.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Jim Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters:
“The executive order signed by President Biden today shows this administration means business when it comes to growing union power in the U.S. The task force, headed by Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, will ensure the top ranks of government are working together to encourage workers to come together and advocate for themselves on the job. For too long, the need for fair wages, decent health care and retirement security has been cast aside by corporate America and ignored by the federal government. This new panel shows both workers and big business that this White House values hardworking Americans and believes they should be treated with dignity and respect. The popularity of unions is on the rise with everyday working people. The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important workplace safety is and how unions can provide an added layer of protection to help those toiling each day just trying to support their families. Government must put people first. This new task force is just the latest sign that’s what the Biden administration plans to do.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Terry O’Sullivan, General President of Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA): “The new White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment is a welcome step in redirecting federal policy to encourage and provide the opportunity for working men and women to join unions. Union bargaining rights have lifted generations of Americans out of poverty and created a stronger and more just nation. But our freedom to organize and join together in a union has increasingly been threatened and undermined by policies that discourage unions and chips away at our rights. The new task force – chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and Co-Chaired by Secretary Marty Walsh – is yet another signal to working men and women that this is an Administration wholeheartedly committed to union rights and building a more prosperous middle class.  Having a champion of the working-class in the White House like we do today makes all the difference.  LIUNA looks forward to working with the White House Organizing Taskforce to identify opportunities to create good union jobs, help working men and women get ahead, and ensure that workers have a strong voice in their workplaces.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): “We commend President Biden for launching this task force to make it easier for workers to organize and join a union. As our nation continues to recover from this pandemic, ensuring that workers have a voice on the job to negotiate for fair wages, safer working conditions and better benefits will be key to building back better.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT): “Workers know that labor unions are a ticket out of poverty and into the middle class, but all too often their freedom to organize and bargain has been thwarted. Today, President Biden is acting to remove the structural impediments to the power and promise of unions so workers can join together for a better life. Like Franklin Roosevelt, the president believes in the goals of the National Labor Relations Act, which not only permits collective bargaining but actively encourages it. This historic task force, by including senior officials from across the administration, shows just how committed the president and Vice President Kamala Harris are to mobilizing the full force of the federal government to propel organizing and worker activism. We look forward to working with the administration to identify opportunities within the current legal framework, as well as new policies and provisions workers need to get ahead, including the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Workers finally have a champion in Washington, and today’s announcement couldn’t be timelier or more important.” [Statement, 4/27/21] 
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International: “Too many leaders have stood by while the rules that govern our economy were increasingly rigged in favor of billionaires and corporate CEOs, and against working people especially the Black and brown workers who have borne the brunt of the pandemic. Everyone must have the opportunity to join a union, no matter where they live or what kind of work they do. That is the best way to raise wages, improve working conditions, create good union jobs, and begin to build a country where everyone can be respected, protected and paid. By having a cabinet-level task force take a hard look at our nation’s labor laws, President Biden is taking a strong step towards ensuring working people have a seat at the table. Vice President Harris – who has heard the stories of SEIU members and Fight for $15 and a Union leaders, and responded with empathy and outrage – chairing this group means that working people’s lived experience will be front and center during deliberations. We need a wholesale rewrite of labor laws, which were originally written and intended to exclude women, people of color and immigrants. That transformation is absolutely critical to creating a country in which all of us can thrive, no exceptions.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Lonnie R. Stephenson, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW): “As President Biden has said many times, unions built America’s middle class, and today’s announcement of a new White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment shows just how serious this administration is to helping workers exercise their right to collectively bargain. The original intent of the National Labor Relations Act was not just to give workers the right to organize but to encourage stronger unions and broader collective bargaining rights. That is why today’s announcement is so important. It says that the Biden administration is putting workers’ rights at the center of its efforts to build our economy and middle class back better. The men and women of the IBEW look forward to working with the White House and this task force to develop policies and initiatives to promote worker’s power and a stronger labor movement.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Tom Conway, President, United Steelworkers (USW) International: “The USW welcomes President Biden’s interagency task force on worker organizing and empowerment and his efforts to pave the way for more workers to access their rights to organize and collectively bargain. Union membership helps keep workers safe on the job, affords greater access to retirement and health benefits and provides a ticket to the middle class through higher wages and greater job security. For too long corporations have leveraged their political influence to increase their profits and erode workers’ rights, resulting in stagnant wages and rampant economic inequality. It’s past time that we reset the scales. As we continue to urge the Senate to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, we applaud President Biden’s initiative to help empower workers through the executive branch.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
John SamuelsenPresident, Transport Workers Union (TWU): “Many lawmakers and bosses have fought against workers for decades, but thankfully that era may finally be ending. The creation of President Biden’s Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment is an important step toward getting our country back on track. We hope this push will build worker organizing power. We look forward to working with members of the White House Task Force to ensure that our voice is heard as we fight for the rights of all workers to organize and collectively bargain. We thank President Biden for his ongoing support for American workers.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU): “North America’s Building Trades Unions applaud President Biden’s Executive Order creating the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. This Task Force, Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and Co-Chaired by Secretary Marty Walsh, will mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and collectively bargain with their employers. We look forward to seeing the Administration’s efforts lead to an increase in union membership in communities across the nation.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Paul Shearon, President, International Federation Of
Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE): “IFPTE applauds President Biden for once again walking the walk by using his bully pulpit to promote and move policies that are geared toward increasing union membership here in the United States.  This latest news of the creation of a White House Task Force dedicated toward empowering working Americans seeking to organize unions and collectively bargain will ensure that this will continue to be a front and center issue for years to come.  As a union that prioritizes organizing, we here at IFPTE endorse this Executive Order and look forward to being a valued resource to the members of the Task Force.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Communications Workers of America (CWA): “President Biden’s executive order creating a Presidential Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment is a historic step toward increasing worker power and realizing the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. From the minute President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), corporations and their allies in Congress sought to undermine it. Although the Act explicitly states that the federal government should encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, over time the relentless corporate campaign to disempower working people has weakened the Act, and the NLRA and other laws have not been updated to reflect changes in the workplace. To address these issues, President Biden has also endorsed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. That endorsement and the creation of this task force sends a strong message to the Senate that passing the PRO Act and other labor law reform bills is central to the President’s agenda. CWA is looking forward to working with Vice President Harris, Secretary Walsh, and the members of the task force to ensure that the federal government is using all available avenues to ensure that working people are able to exercise their freedom to join together in unions to improve their working conditions.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Everett Kelley, National President, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE): “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. With today’s action, he is continuing to deliver on his campaign promise to be the most pro-union, pro-worker president ever. In his first week in office, President Biden issued an executive order addressing the union busting that went on in the federal government under the previous administration. In that executive order, he stated that it is the policy of the United States to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining. Again, President Biden has promised to make the federal government a “model” unionized employer, one that shows by example that employers should encourage union organizing, and neither interfere with nor undermine their workers’ organizing and bargaining efforts. The administration’s new task force is a natural extension of that earlier policy and further proof that this administration is walking the walk, not just talking the talk, when it comes to empowering American workers, strengthening unions, and building our economy back better. 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.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
American Federation of Musicians (AFM): “The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) wholeheartedly supports and endorses the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment established by President Biden today. Since the day our country was founded, Unions of American workers have fought and won improvements in wages, working conditions, and health and retirement benefits despite employer union-busting tactics and crippling legislative initiatives that have sought to destroy democracy and diversity in the workplace. Professional musicians, who bring such joy to the world, are increasingly disadvantaged by globalist media companies who are posting obscene profits though the streaming and digital distribution of content, but refusing to fairly compensate creators. For decades, local, regional and national employers have used loopholes in the National Labor Relations Act to deprive musicians the right to organize and bargain, and to seek remedy from unfair labor practices committed against them. AFM applauds President Biden’s formation of the White House Task force. We hope its work will level the unbalanced playing field in our workplaces and remove the barriers to organizing and bargaining collectively with employers.” [Statement, 4/26/21]
Mark McManus, General President, United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA): “The Biden-Harris Administration has shown in its first 100 days that it will be the most pro-union White House in generations. Today’s creation of White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment will put the full weight of the U.S. government behind efforts to strengthen not only unions, but the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and be heard,” said Mark McManus, General President of the United Association. “After four years of attempts to weaken workers’ rights and dismantle organized labor, we are now primed to ensure all workers, regardless of circumstance, have the ability to organize and fight for fair contracts. At the United Association, organizing new members is foundational to our collective strength, and a top priority. When we grow our ranks, our healthcare, retirement security, and local collective bargaining all grow more secure. We look forward to working with this task force to strengthen our own ability to win more work and to ensure the strength of the working class for generations to come.” [Statement, 4/26/21]
Robert Martinez Jr., International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM): “Joe Biden is a man of his word. He said he would fight every day for unions and working people, and that is exactly what the Biden-Harris administration is delivering. Joe Biden knows that unions built the middle class and that only unions can rebuild the middle class. That’s why the Machinists Union will do everything we can to support the Biden-Harris Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. From passing the PRO Act to bringing our jobs home, the IAM is mobilized to build the future right here in America with union workers. Let’s build back better by growing unions and bringing justice on the job to millions of American workers.” [Statement, 4/26/21] 
Becky Pringle, National Education Association (NEA): “With collective bargaining, educators can ensure our students have smaller class sizes, access to a nurse and counselor, and so much more. When unions are strong, our students benefit. Thank you @POTUS, @VP, and @SecMartyWalsh.” [Tweet, 4/27/21] 
California Labor Federation: This is a terrific step by @POTUS & we’re so glad to see @VP  chairing this task force with  @SecMartyWalsh. Yet another strong signal that this administration is invested in building worker power & strengthening #unions” [Tweet, 4/26/21] 

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