Kamala Harris to convene White House panel meeting on labor, union membership


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The panel will discuss recommendations for a report commissioned by President Biden that existing policies could boost labor organizing in government

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WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will convene on Thursday the second meeting of the White House labor task force, a group of cabinet secretaries and top aides aimed at boosting union membership in the country, two officials who have the knowledge of the matter. he said.

The group will discuss recommendations for a report commissioned by President Joe Biden in April that existing policies could boost labor organizing in the federal government, new policies that are needed and related regulatory challenges. A White House official and a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity that the report is due in late October.


A White House official said Thursday the meeting will be attended by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Meyerkas, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Ademo.

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Others will participate virtually, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“The group will discuss the progress of the workforce so far, including key recommendations for executive action, in its upcoming report,” the White House official said. It will also discuss ways the administration can take advantage of the federal government’s authority as an employer to promote worker organizing.

In June, Harris held the taskforce’s first field meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spoke to union organizers about their campaign to increase union membership and barriers to organizing.

Between 1979 and 2020, the percentage of American workers represented by a union declined by 14.9 percent, according to White House estimates. The White House has said that as a result of that decline, American workers are losing $200 billion a year in wages and benefits they could have received under union contracts.

President Biden’s administration may be the most pro-union since Harry Truman left the Oval Office nearly 70 years ago, labor leaders and outside analysts have said, citing actions that have put unions at the center of policy. Seeing them as vehicles not only to rebuild middle class jobs, but also to address climate change and racial and gender inequality.

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Earlier this year, the US labor movement suffered a significant setback when an attempt to organize warehouse workers at an Amazon facility in Alabama failed miserably. In August, a US Labor Board official recommended re-running the historic union election.

The death of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who had close ties to Biden, and was an influential outside voice helping shape his ambitious jobs and infrastructure proposals, also presented a challenge to the American labor movement. is of.

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