The AFL-CIO, the country’s largest union federation, has made no demands on President Joe Biden in exchange for the group’s earliest support of a presidential candidate, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in an interview with HuffPost last week.
Instead, Shuler believes Biden’s success in supporting unions was more than enough to ensure his early support, which he shared in June with numerous affiliates and several non-AFL-CIO unions, such as the Service Employees International Union and, has coordinated the National Education Association.
“A confirmation for the president — as early as ever, in the most unified way possible … was a statement because this is the most pro-union president in our lives, and he has shown time and time again that he has.” Worker interests come first,” Shuler said. “It’s not a transaction. But basically he comes to work every morning and thinks about what is in the best interests of working people.”
HuffPost addressed this, asking if the AFL-CIO hopes Biden will take concrete pro-union action in his second term.
“We will continue to ensure that these investments in clean energy and chips, as well as science and infrastructure, are implemented in the way we envisage, which is to ignite unprecedented growth in new industries that will create good union jobs,” Shuler replied. “So that’s all already happening, but we just believe that this trend will only continue to grow and because of the support that we’re seeing, we’ll be able to create jobs that we never thought possible.”
“The future is looking really bright,” she continued. “And that’s what we would only hope for: that we can finish the job as soon as possible [Biden] says and keep this upward trend and create opportunities for working people in the labor movement.”
Collectively, the AFL-CIO’s affiliates represent more than 13 million workers, and his political organizing action is expected to play a crucial role in Biden’s re-election campaign. The federation even has a political outreach arm, Working America, for working-class people who don’t belong to a union.
Indeed, Biden has been a historically strong ally of organized labor. His American Rescue Plan Act provided state and local governments with a massive cash injection that benefited public sector unions. The CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have spurred factory construction and allowed unions to increase their presence in the industrial sector.
Biden’s executive branch has also provided crucial support to workers who wanted to organize. Just last week, Biden’s representatives on the National Labor Relations Board ruled that if an employer violates labor laws and annuls the results of a union election, it must immediately recognize the union and begin negotiations. Experts believe the decision will deter companies from making unlawful threats or misleading promises in a union vote.
Union membership in the US is at its lowest since 2013 recorded historyHowever, there are many other policy changes that Biden could either enact by executive order or encourage Congress to pass to improve the fortunes of the labor movement.
For example, Biden could impose stricter conditions on federal contractors to encourage them not to interfere in workers’ union efforts. Labor supporters have long called for a reclassification by Congress The Express arm of FedEx so that its staff would be subject to the National Labor Relations Act and thus find it easier to organize.
After all, the labor movement’s coveted legislative prize would be the Organizational Rights Protection Act (PRO).a major overhaul of US labor law, which came first to the Democrats’ minds introduced in 2019. Among other things, the bill would drastically increase fines for violations of labor law by employers against workers engaged in union initiative or in collective bargaining, giving a real boost to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which many unionists believe is inadequate for today Lend support Employers’ opposition to unions. The legislation would also ban state right-to-work laws and require gig economy companies to treat their workers as employees, giving them greater protections and benefits.
But while the PRO bill has passed the House of Representatives twice under Democratic rule — in 2020 and 2021 — the Democratic Senate has effectively won approval put it on hold in 2021.
When asked if the AFL-CIO had a plan to pass key elements of the PRO Act, possibly in a modified form, Shuler did not outline a specific plan.
“There are a number of provisions in the PRO Act that we would like to see implemented, and of course we’re recalibrating our approach based on how we see future terrain in the Senate and House of Representatives,” Shuler said. “But what we do know is that workers are enthusiastic about it, so it’s also a tool for us to involve members and workers in the process.”
She added, “Certainly Biden said he’ll sign it when it gets to his desk, so he’s doing everything he can.”