Robert Reich (How Joe Biden Can Help Workers Without Congress…)

How Joe Biden Can Help Workers Without Congress

Do you know that Joe Biden can help American workers right now, even without Congress? He can sign three orders affecting fifth of the economy and change the lives of millions of workers.

Biden made campaign promises to support the workers. Here are 3 ways he can keep that promise.

First: Require that the federal government only contract with unionized companies. at every opportunity. It would give workers more bargaining power in all sectors: from healthcare to telecommunications, catering, technology and defense.


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Back in the last century, when I was Minister of Labor, the Chamber of Commerce sued me for trying to do something like that. The Clinton administration issued an executive order banning federal contracts from companies that permanently replaced striking workers. The federal court overturned itruling that the administration failed to show that the decree was necessary to save public money.

The way to enforce this order is to include evidence that unionized companies are saving public money. And it’s not hard to do.

Unions can secure higher wages but they have also been shown to provide better performance. And higher productivity saves government money.

Second, don’t encourage union busting. Biden may demand that federal contracts go only to companies that commit to remain neutral in unionization efforts.

Companies regularly use a whole arsenal union busting tactics. Some of them are clearly illegal. A third of companies fire employees who try to form a union. They harass and intimidate their workers. About half are threatening to close the store or cut wages and benefits.

Why should taxpayers subsidize companies that illegally disband unions?

Third, deny federal contracts to companies that violate labor laws. Biden may require federal contract bidders to disclose any labor violations in the past 3 years. It will just be restoring Obama’s executive order, which Trump canceled.

Companies that violate the law and harm employees should not receive lucrative federal contracts.

Such a policy helps workers all over the world. One study found that when the Department of Labor announced penalties for violating safety standards, other companies in the industry improved their safety standards.

Together, these three decrees will improve the lives of millions of Americans.

Do it Joe.