By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON, Oct.6 (Reuters) – Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will convene a second meeting on Thursday of the White House Labor Task Force, a group of cabinet secretaries and senior officials that aims to increase union membership in the country, said two officials familiar with the matter.
The group will discuss recommendations for a report commissioned by President Joe Biden in April on how existing policies can promote worker organization in the federal government, the new policies needed, and associated regulatory challenges. The report is due in late October, said a White House official and a senior administration official, who declined to be named.
Thursday’s meeting will be attended by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Home Secretary Deb Haaland and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, the House official said. White.
Others, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, will be in attendance virtually.
“The group will discuss the task force’s progress so far, including important recommendations for executive action in their next report,” the White House official said. He will also discuss ways in which the administration can leverage the authority of the federal government as an employer to promote worker organization.
In June, Harris hosted the task force’s first field meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., 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 fell by 14.9 percentage points, according to White House estimates. As a result of this drop, American workers are losing $ 200 billion a year in wages and benefits they could have obtained under union contracts, the White House said.
President Biden’s administration is perhaps the most overtly pro-union since Harry Truman left the Oval Office nearly 70 years ago, union leaders and outside analysts said, citing actions that placed the unions at the center of politics – seeing them as vehicles not only for rebuilding middle class jobs, but also for tackling climate change and racial and gender inequalities.
Earlier this year, the U.S. labor movement suffered a major setback when an effort to organize warehouse workers at an Amazon factory in Alabama failed badly. In August, a US labor council official recommended a historic new union election.
The death of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who had close ties to Biden and had been an influential outside voice to help shape his ambitious jobs and infrastructure proposals, also posed a challenge to the movement. American union. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Chris Sanders and Richard Pullin)