Federal agencies, like the Department of Labor and Office of Personnel management, have been implementing recommendations from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment and have announced progress with results.
The AFL-CIO formed its White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment Committee, pulling together labor union organizing and policy experts, including IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo with IAM Political and Legislative Director Hasan Solomon, to assist in thinking through issues for the Task Force to make recommendations for.
Addeo and Solomon focused on the issue unions have in gaining access to military bases to organize and represent Service Contract Act employees in their submission to the Task Force, which created a recommendation for it:
Standardize Guidelines for Union Organizer Access to Military Bases and Installations Recommendation: Instruct the Department of Defense (DOD) to review existing guidance, consider developing consistent policies and best practices, and consider issuing standardized guidance across the Department to ensure union organizers can access bases and installations. The DOD should consider implementing standardized guidelines ensuring that union organizers can have access to employees – including employees of private-sector contractors – on its bases and installations in a manner that does not interfere with safety, security, order, or contract operations. DOD should also reiterate current federal policy protections for organizing activity related to union access on DOD property and highlight relatively recent processes and procedures that have improved and standardized the access process.
“The Task Force was effective; our issues were addressed,” said Addeo. “So far we have seen positive results from the Task Force actions that were taken regarding access to military bases.”
The Biden administration in April 2021 established the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment chaired by Vice-President Kamala Harris and Vice-Chaired by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
The goal of the Task Force is to “remove barriers to worker organizing and position the federal government as a model employer,” says multiple documents from the White House.
The Task Force submitted more than 70 recommendations to the President, all of which were approved by President Biden in February 2022.
Multiple Task Force recommendations focus on increasing visibility, support, awareness, and promotion of collective bargaining. The White House statement says that since agencies began working to better inform federal workers of their right to join a union, nearly 80,000 federal workers have become union members.
Read the White House’s full update on implementing the Task Force’s recommendations.
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WASHINGTON, April 18, 2023 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) released the following statements on the upcoming confirmation vote of acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su to serve as the next secretary of labor:
Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), issued the following statement:
“Acting Secretary Su is exceptionally qualified with both strong experience in labor and policy as a worker advocate and public servant, as she possesses integrity to lead the Department of Labor.
“As a public servant, she has a proven record of commitment to protecting working Americans and ensuring that workplace laws and regulations are enforced accordingly.
“The IAM calls on the Senate to swiftly move forward to confirm acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su as she is the best choice to advance working families’ priorities and a more inclusive economy.”
David Sullivan, IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President, released the following statement:
“Acting Secretary Su’s record of accomplishments not only demonstrate her ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders, from unions to the business community, but she’s also a leader on promoting equity and economic empowerment for communities across our country.
“Her long record of standing with workers and promoting economic growth speaks for itself – she gets the work done.
“We urge our Congressional Leaders to support Su’s confirmation and we look forward to continuing to work with our allies in Congress to strengthen and improve the livelihoods of our members, their families and communities.”
The IAM recently sent a letter to the Senate urging them for full support of President Biden’s nomination of Julie Su as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. Read full letter here.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is one of North America’s largest and most diverse industrial trade unions, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.
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Maine Lobstering Union Local 207 Executive Liaison and Political Director Virginia Olsen testified at a hearing held by the U.S. Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, opposing legislation that would unfairly target the Maine lobstering industry.
The subcommittee hearing included testimonies on H.R. 1213, “Restoring Effective Science-based Conservation Under Environmental laws protecting Whales Act of 2023” or the “RESCUE Whales Act of 2023.”
H.R. 1213 will impose meritless measures regarding endangered right whales while undermining Maine’s economy and the financial stability.
“As Maine fishermen we have repeatedly stepped up and done whatever was required of us to protect right whales,” said Olsen. “Regulations only benefit the whale when the whales are present, and where there are no whales there is no justification for the regulation. Unnecessary regulations only erode public confidence in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) without any benefit to the endangered species itself.”
Olsen gave an extensive testimony to lawmakers about the various ways hardworking lobstermen in Maine have adhered to environmental laws protecting our natural resources while keeping the state’s economy afloat and families fed.
The IAM recently sent a letter to Congress on behalf of Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) Local 207 strongly opposing H.R. 1213. The recently introduced legislation risks the livelihood of entire communities without credible scientific information that would benefit right whales.
“This legislation, H.R. 1213, would roll back the prudent action Congress took in December 2022, and once again put this entire industry in existential peril,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “While I am certain that proponents of this legislation believe they are doing the right thing and acting to protect this endangered mammal, it is clear that not one right whale will be protected by this legislation because these whales do not frequent the coast of Maine.”
“Rushing NOAA to implement new rules without additional research and fixing a broken system does nothing to protect right whales,” said Olsen. “Instead, it does everything to endanger a heritage fishery that not only my family, but thousands of others have participated in for generations.”
“To propose regulations without supplementary research is shameful and does nothing to protect the right whales,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “The IAM stands with its members in Maine and will continue to advocate to protect union jobs but also to raise awareness on the importance of protecting endangered species when deemed necessary.”
Olsen also met with Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (D-ME) who praised Maine Lobstering Union’s advocacy on behalf of the hard-working men and women working in the industry.
Watch Olsen testimony here.
Click here to read the full letter.
The Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) is a division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 4 and the only union-based cooperative in the lobster industry owned and operated by Maine lobstermen. The MLU supports Maine’s lobster community and is committed to the sustainability and safety of Maine’s lobstermen and women and all wildlife that occupy and rely upon the fishery.
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