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Biden seeks to foster worker organising, empowerment. Meanwhile our Government is leaving us behind.

Apr 29, 2021News Update

The Workplace Express recently reported that United States President Joe Biden has signed executive orders to establish a White House taskforce to promote “worker organising and empowerment” and to lift the minimum wage to $US15 an hour ($A19.23) for Federal Government employees and contractors.

The taskforce will be chaired by Vice-President Kamala Harris and vice-chaired by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and will include more than 20 cabinet members and heads of federal agencies who will take a whole-of-government approach to empowerment of workers.

The mission of the taskforce will be to “mobilise the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organise and successfully bargain with their employers…This mission includes looking for ways to increase worker power in areas of the country with restrictive labour laws, for marginalised workers including women and people of colour, and for workers in industries that are difficult to organise and lack labour protections.”

This is a great win for American workers. But as a result, the issue of worker empowerment here in Australia has once again reared its ugly head. While President Biden is using his executive powers to bolster the union movement with policies that protect and respect them, our own government has been nothing but hell-bent on destroying unions and worker collective power here in a sycophantic move by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to please his corporate mates.

The Australian Labor Party has been no better. Self-interest and factional power struggles – predominately by self-appointed factional leaders within the labor movement – seem to be more important to those that can and should be fixing Labor’s problems. These self-appointed factional leaders have the power to return the Labor Party to a rank-and-file social progressive political force. Yet, due to their own self interest, are really fostering long-lasting, detrimental obstacles to the rank-and-file having genuine participation, worker empowerment and principled social progressive policies. 

The rank-and-file, workers and those sections in society who don’t have a voice have wanted someone to speak out and represent them. Instead, they are being made to live in hope that someone will represent their collective interest while watching from afar as their counterparts in the U.S. have a leader not ashamed to stand shoulder to shoulder with and pursue  worker organising and empowerment. 

To those who cannot access the original article on Workplace Express, you can read about Biden’s plan on The National Law Review.