Labor law reform requires political capital and competes with infrastructure and reconciliationWayne State University News, February 22, 2021, https://ilitchbusiness.wayne.edu/news/detroit-news-marick-masters-on-pro-act-42130 To fulfill that promise, he's thrown his support behind the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The bill cleared the Democratically controlled U.S. House last year but faltered in the Republican-led Senate. Now, Democrats have narrow majorities in both chambers and lawmakers are taking a second crack at passing the PRO Act — and this time, they may have a chance. "It is a very big deal. It's the most significant labor law reform legislative package on the table for decades, and I think the chances of it passing are more favorable than it has been for decades," said Marick Masters, a Wayne State University business professor who studies labor relations. There's been a dramatic decrease in union membership since the 1950s, Masters said, in part due to "defects embedded in the labor law, which is slanted in favor of employers... employers have felt increasingly emboldened over time to use the law to their advantage to make it more difficult to unionize." While Democrats, who are largely in favor of the legislation, control both chambers of Congress and the White House, it will be a challenge to make the bill into law. Proponents of the legislation would need 60 votes in the Senate to stop debate and move to a vote, which would require several Republicans to side with Democrats. They'll also be fighting for airtime amid a proposed COVID-relief package, climate policies and infrastructure priorities that are likely to take precedence. "It has a fighting chance. The odds are probably against it," Masters said. "I think it's going to be very very difficult. A lot depends on how much political capital the Biden administration and the Senate majority have to expend to get this through."
Labor protections require Biden to spend political capitalMegan Casella, 10-9, 20, Unions predict a Great Awakening during a Biden presidency, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/09/unions-biden-administration-426880 Labor leaders are eyeing a Joe Biden victory in November as the start of a union revival, one with the potential to undo decades of policies that have diminished union influence, undermined the right to organize and exacerbated income inequality. And they’re planning on playing a central role. “It’s clear to me it’s going to be the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration in a long, long, long time,” said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters — the first union to endorse Biden during the Democratic primary. Reversing America's decades-long decline in union membership, however, will be a difficult task for even the most labor-friendly administration. Just over 10 percent of workers were represented by unions last year, according to Labor Department data — a share that has been cut in half since 1983. And unless Democrats win the Senate as well as the White House, it will be an uphill battle for Biden to move any of the legislation union leaders are advocating for. Labor officials have reason to be confident, though, that they'll have a line into the Biden administration, should he win next month's election. The former vice president and veteran senator has longstanding relationships with union leaders built over more than 40 years in politics. He's already named two union presidents — Teresa Romero of the United Farm Workers and Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — to his transition team’s advisory board. At least five others served as members of the unity task forces Biden set up with Sen. Bernie Sanders over the summer, which published formal policy recommendations that helped shape the Democratic Party’s official platform. Many expect Biden to appoint a union leader to his Cabinet — the Departments of Labor and Education are most often mentioned — or in senior positions throughout various agencies. And he has pledged to create a Cabinet-level working group comprised of labor representatives, “that will solely focus on promoting union organizing and collective bargaining." His policy plans across the board are peppered with references to expanding the right to join a union. And senior campaign officials, led by Biden’s longtime confidant and campaign aide Steve Ricchetti, have been holding a biweekly evening call with union leaders to keep them apprised of campaign developments and to allow them to offer their input. “He’s doing more of this outreach than any other candidate that I’ve known on the Democratic side,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, who has been with his union since the late 1970s. “When he talks about organized labor, when he talks about the importance of unions, he really means it.” Still, it's an open question whether the labor movement can convince Biden and his team that it is worth spending the “political capital that will have to be spent in order to get major labor law reforms,” said Robert Reich, a former Labor secretary under Bill Clinton. “It’s a chicken and egg problem,” Reich said. “Because right now, organized labor doesn’t have very much clout.” Graphic Communicator, January-February 2021, Rob https://teamster.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/GraphicCommJanMar2021w.pdf Robert Reich, labor secretary under Bill Clinton, told Politico it remained to be seen if Biden would invest the “political capital that will have to be spent in order to get major labor law reforms.” Because its numbers are slipping, organized labor may not have sufficient “clout” to influence White House policy on major issues, Reich said. President Joe Biden has vowed he will be "the strongest labor president you have ever had.”
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