On March 31, President Joe Biden announced his American Jobs Plan from the Carpenters’ union training center in Pittsburgh, PA, and it wasn’t by accident. The president’s $2 trillion proposed infrastructure build-out is informed by two assumptions: first, that investing in modernizing America’s roads, bridges, and utilities will pay off in economic growth and public welfare, and second, that if the jobs generated are union jobs, they will go a long way toward reducing economic inequality. It’s a simple point; when workers have the power to bargain collectively, they are more likely to secure fair wages and benefits.
Unfortunately, in the private sector, unions represent a declining number of workers – a trend that goes back decades. Employers have learned to game the system and prevent workers from exercising their legal right to organize, whether simply by firing workers who dare to join an organizing committee or by misclassifying their workforce as “independent contractors” with few legal rights. That’s why America needs the PRO Act, a major labor law reform designed to reinforce workers’ right to form unions.
For this reason, the PRO Act is integral to the American Jobs Plan. The Catholic Labor Network is pleased to learn that the president has concluded the same thing. In the White House Fact Sheet on the American Jobs Plan – which references unions 21 times! – you will find:
President Biden is calling on Congress to update the social contract that provides workers with a fair shot to get ahead, overcome racial and other inequalities that have been barriers for too many Americans, expand the middle class, and strengthen communities. He is calling on Congress to ensure all workers have a free and fair choice to join a union by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and guarantee union and bargaining rights for public service workers. His plan also ensures domestic workers receive the legal benefits and protections they deserve and tackles pay inequities based on gender.