Biden Issues Executive Order to Encourage Worker Organizing and Bargaining

President Biden continues to make good on his campaign promise to be the most labor-friendly president ever.  On April 26, 2021, he issued an executive order that seeks to increase union organization and strengthen the hand of organized labor.  The order, which notes that the federal government in recent decades has “not used its full authority to promote and implement this policy of support for workers organizing unions and bargaining collectively with their employers,” establishes a Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. 

Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and vice-chaired by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, the Task Force will bring together the heads of numerous federal agencies, charged with identifying executive branch policies, practices, and programs that could be used, consistent with applicable law, to promote the Biden administration’s “policy of support for worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining.”  The Task Force is likewise charged with identifying “policies, practices, and programs that could be used to promote worker power in areas of the country with hostile labor laws, for marginalized workers (including women and persons of color) and hard-to-organize industries, and in changing industries.” The Task Force is also charged with identifying statutory, regulatory, or other changes that would make policies and programs “a more effective means of supporting worker organizing and collective bargaining.”

The Task Force is directed to consult with federal agencies responsible for implementing laws concerning worker organizing and collective bargaining, and is charged with reporting to the president in 180 days with recommendations for actions to promote these activities.  Finally, the order revokes executive orders from the prior administration establishing the “President’s National Council for the American Worker” and “American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.”

It is likely the Task Force will identify in its report some actions the administration may take unilaterally through rulemaking, regulations, or guidance, and others that may require congressional approval.  It is clear, however, that the president and his cabinet will continue to put forward pro-union initiatives in the weeks and months to come.  Littler’s WPI will keep you apprised of relevant developments.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.