White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment | July 2021

Thanks to the convening power of the American Sustainable Business Council and its singular policy leadership on worker ownership and the High Road workplace orchestrated by Denise Bower and David Levine, ASBC executive committee board member and President/Cofounder respectively, two of our 1worker1vote movement union co-ops – worX Printing Cooperative and Sustainergy Cooperative – presented to the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment last week on Thursday, July 29th.  

Read testimony from Kevin O’Brien, Worx Printing Cooperative and from Flequer Vera, Sustainergy Cooperative.

Task Force & Business Leaders Meeting Background:

  • On April 28, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14025 on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The Executive Order established a task force chaired by Vice President Harris, vice-chaired by Secretary of Labor Walsh, and comprised of more than two dozen Cabinet and White House agencies, departments, and offices. The mission of the Task Force is to mobilize the federal government’s programs, policies, and practices to support worker power, organizing, and collective bargaining. The task force’s report of recommendations to the President is due on October 23. 
  • The Task Force is conducting outreach to identify specific executive actions that can be taken within existing programs, policies, and practices using already-enacted statutory authority to facilitate organizing and bargaining, including regulatory actions, executive orders, and actions the executive branch takes as the employer of federal employees.  
  • The Task Force believes that the employer voice is essential to this work.  They hosted a virtual meeting with business leaders next Thursday, July 29th so that they could share ideas and recommendations with the task force. This can include ways to strengthen worker empowerment and organizing, as well as feedback about ways to facilitate partnerships between labor and management or better support employers with unionized workforces. The meeting will be approximately one hour and will include White House and DOL staff. Representatives from the Task Force will provide a brief overview of the Task Force and its work to date, and then will turn to participants for their input. 

Two more points that came in from the movement field specific to union co-ops organizing relative to the White House task force purpose and event:

  • Require card check unionization (as opposed to the NLRB process) when co-op members seek to join a union.
  • Make other federal policy changes as necessary to require co-op employer neutrality when it comes to organizing.

Rationale – the Gimme Coffee campaign (Ithaca, NY, Workers United/SEIU) supported by 1worker1vote and featured on this site.  The issue is how and why not to give owners and co-op developers any access to tax advantages gained via co-op conversion if they use co-ops to union bust an organizing drive or to decertify an existing union.

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