On April 26, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that establishes the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. ABC is concerned that the Biden administration is promoting policies that undermine workers’ choice whether to freely join a union, such as government-mandated project labor agreements.

“President Joe Biden is certainly keeping his promise to be the most pro-union president ever, and the establishment of this Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment delivers on that promise. The administration’s task force would be wise to advance policies that benefit all of America’s workforce,” said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO.

According to the EO:

“The Task Force shall, within 180 days of the date of this order, submit to the President recommendations for actions as described in subsection (b) of this section to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the public and private sectors and to increase union density. The Task Force may, at the Chair’s discretion, recommend appropriate or time-sensitive individual actions to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining before the deadline established by this section. The Task Force and its members shall work to implement all recommendations that the President may approve, to the extent permitted by law, and shall report their progress as directed by the Chair.”  

Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the task force, which includes the heads of several federal agencies.

“Of the 7.8 million workers employed in the U.S. construction industry, 87.3% have freely chosen not to join a union for a variety of compelling reasons. This choice is an important cornerstone of fair and open competition, which creates rewarding, sustaining careers in construction for all and provides tremendous value to taxpayers funding new infrastructure, clean energy, schools and affordable housing needed to rebuild America,” said Bellaman.

“It is concerning that the Biden administration is promoting policies that undermine workers’ choice to freely join a union, such as government-mandated project labor agreements, which force workers to join a union and/or pay union dues as a condition of employment on federal and federally assisted construction projects,” said Bellaman. “This reduces competition by small, women and minority businesses and workers and increases construction costs by 12%-20%, resulting in fewer jobs and improvements to America’s infrastructure. The Biden administration is also a strong supporter of the ABC-opposed Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which undermines a workers’ right to a secret ballot in a workplace election and suppresses worker choice by eliminating 27 state right-to-work laws that prohibit compulsory union membership in order to work.”

“Construction industry employers and employees should be watching the task force’s recommendations closely for its support of additional policies that will also increase costs to taxpayers, eliminate opportunities for small businesses, discriminate against nonunion workers and undermine America’s economic resilience and competitive edge in the global economy,” said Bellaman.