The Joe Biden Plan To Empower Workers
- Posted: October 07, 2023
- Category: Research insights
There are several things that enable you to live a comfortable life in the USA. These include the 40 hour work week, healthcare protections, paid leave, and the ability to have a voice in your workplace. These have all been provided to you thanks to unions, who fought for these protections.
However, in recent years there has been a war being waged on unions, which is threatening the middle class who worked so hard to gain these rights. In the run-up to the presidential election, Joe Biden is looking to help empower and protect workers in the country. He has a three-step plan to do so:
- Check the abuse of power that corporations hold over workers, and hold executives accountable for the labor laws that are violated.
- Encourage workers to unionize and use the power of collective bargaining.
- Ensure that workers are all treated with dignity, and given the pay, benefits and workplace protections they all deserve.
Checking Abuses Of Power
In the current economic climate, the story told is that CEOs are the people who built this country. However the truth is that all businesses in the USA were built on the back of their workers. However, workers are routinely disrespected and abused. They are paid less than minimum wage, forced to work off the clock, misclassified, and more.
The Biden administration understands that workers need to be protected, so they intend to put protections into place, and check the abuse of power that is done by the higher ups.
To do so, firstly they will be holding corporations personally accountable for interfering with any organizing efforts or violating labor laws in their business. This will include implementing financial penalties on companies that do so, or even holding them criminally liable when the interference is intentional.
They will also pursue employers who are violating labor laws, not paying appropriate taxes, or participating in any form of wage theft. That includes penalizing companies that bargain in bad faith. This is typically referred to as ‘surface bargaining’, where the company will pretend to bargain with a union with no intent of reaching an agreement. The administration will force these companies back to the bargaining table, and require them to pay a penalty.
When workers can unionize, they can hold a large amount of power and drastically improve their working conditions. Right now though, union members are just 10.5% of the American workforce. It is not a coincidence that we see this decline happening at the same time as income inequality has risen. That’s why the Biden administration is looking to help workers unionize, and access fair wages and fair working conditions.
Firstly, the administration will make it easier for workers to unionize if they choose to do so. With many companies making it intensely difficult to unionize, by using tactics such as running out the clock when negotiating and initial collective bargaining agreements, it’s very much an uphill battle.
To do so, they will ban employers mandatory meetings with employees, when they are used to spout anti union rhetoric. There will also be laws put into place to make unionisation much easier. These include the NLRB rules, which allow for shorter timelines of union election campaigns. These laws will also stop employers from stalling initial notes negotiations, which often blocks the employees from creating unions at all.
There will also be legislation to make unionization more streamlined, and more accessible to every American worker. This legislation will include things like federal guarantees for public sector employees, so they can bargain for better pay and benefits. There will also be bans on state laws that stop unions from collecting dues or payments from all workers who benefit from union representation. This includes the repeal of the provisions that allow states to impose ‘right to work’ laws.
When workers do unionize, the Biden administration wants to ensure workers can bargain with the employee that actually holds the power. This would be the person who actually controls their wages, benefits and working conditions, not the staffing agency or the franchisee. As such, this gives them more power to get what they deserve as workers.
Ensuring All Workers Are Treated With Dignity
Finally, the Biden administration is looking to ensure that all workers are treated with dignity. During the Great Depression, Roosevelt brought in labor protections that helped shape the workforce as we know it today. However, it has been far too long since these standards have been increased to meet the needs of today’s workers. Right now, the corporate culture is to treat workers as simply another asset, rather than people who work hard to make companies that successful.
Because of this, there needs to be provisions in place to help protect workers, and help them be able to live comfortably on the back of their work.
The biggest change that the administration are looking to make is the increase of the minimum wage. When they come into power, they aim to increase the wage to $15.
As well as this, the administration looks to apply and enforce prevailing wages. These are the median wage earned by workers in the same occupation in the same region. They are an essential mechanism for securing but a class jobs, with this workers should be getting paid what they deserve.
Employers will also be stopped from denying workers the overtime pay that they earned. This is a massive contribution towards wave theft, which needs to be curbed. For those working in the gig economy, they need to be receiving the legal benefits and protections that they deserve as well. They are very often misclassified as independent contractors, so the Biden administration is aiming to correct this.
With these changes in mind, the Biden administration is looking to improve working conditions for every single working American. When they come into office, they hope to put the power into the average worker’s hands. As well as this, they are looking to ensure that every single worker is paid exactly what they’re owed.