Last month, President Biden publicly supported the failed unionization attempt at Amazon’s distribution center in Alabama. Yesterday, he doubled down with an Executive Order reaffirming his Administration’s policy to “encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining.”
Here are the details:
- Vice President Kamala Harris will chair a task force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (Task Force).
- The Task Force will include officials/designees from just about every cabinet, plus the heads of such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the President may from time to time designate upon the Vice President’s recommendation.
- The role of the Task Force is to “identify executive branch policies, practices, and programs that could be used, consistent with applicable law, to promote [the] Administration’s policy of support for worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining.” The Task Force will gather relevant information from labor organizations, other worker advocates, academic and other experts to achieve these goals.
While the Task Force’s role is advisory, they may suggest new laws, regulations, or other changes to bolster worker organizing and collective bargaining. New laws require support from Congress, but the National Labor Relations Board, for example, can create new regulations to support collective bargaining. Indeed, President Biden wants the Task Force to invite the Board, among other executive agencies, boards, and commissions responsible for implementing laws concerning worker organizing and collective bargaining to consult, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, with the Task Force.
By October, the Task Force will recommend actions to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the public and private sectors and increase union density. However, Vice President Harris has the discretion to cause the Task Force to recommend “appropriate or time-sensitive individual actions to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining.”
So, now what?
If you’ve read this far into the blog post, perhaps it’s because you’re clutching your pearls about your precious union-free business remaining that way for the foreseeable future and then into 2022. It’s ok. Put the pearls down and start outlining the steps that you’ll take. I suggest my friend Jon Hyman’s T.E.A.M. approach.
- Train supervisors
- Educate employees
- Affirm the open door
- Modernize policies
I’ve incorporated many of these training points into a recent uptick in union-avoidance training. They can work for you too. Just don’t wait until October to get started.
By then, it could be too late.
But, it’s not too late to register (here) for the next edition of The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Hour on Friday, April 30, from 12-1 PM ET, with my rockstar partner, Susan Warner. Ho hum, Susan only earned by far the most important ADA decision yet in 2021 when the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a company’s website is not a place of public accommodation. (Her client’s website did not otherwise violate Title III either). Susan and I will address Title III of the ADA, the Gil v. Winn-Dixie victory, and proactive steps that your business can take to bulletproof itself against these types of ADA claims.