IATSE is praising the Biden administration’s latest proposals to increase union membership throughout the country. The entertainment industry is one of the most unionized workforces in the nation, but last year only 6.1% of all private-sector employees belonged to a union, following a long and steady decline from 16.8% in 1983. Unions in the public sector represent about 35% of workers. Combined, unions represent little more than 10% of the American workforce.
Nearly 70 proposals to raise those numbers are contained in a report of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and vice-chaired by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris recognize that urgent action is needed,” the report says. “Workers face increasing barriers to organizing and bargaining collectively with their employers, and in 2021, only 10.3% of the workforce was represented by a union, down from more than 30% in the 1950s. Yet nearly 60 million American workers say they would join a union if given the chance.”
See the full report here.
“IATSE is proud to have been engaged by the task force to provide input during the preparation of this report and praises the recommendations that have been made,” the union said in a statement. “In particular, we are pleased to see recommendations regarding strong labor standards applied to federal grant funds, preventing and addressing worker misclassification, eliminating barriers to union eligibility for federal grants, and making the federal government a model employer.”
The task force asserts that “the Biden-Harris Administration believes that increasing worker organizing and empowerment is critical to growing the middle class, building an economy that puts workers first, and strengthening our democracy.”
The task force’s report, IATSE says, “is further evidence of International President Matthew Loeb’s belief, stated following the 2020 election, ‘that the Biden-Harris Administration will be the most significantly pro-labor, pro-worker administration in modern American history.’ This administration recognizes the federal government’s ability to use its roles as an employer, policymaker, and consumer to promote and support union membership in every industry. IATSE looks forward to continued collaboration with the task force to implement executive actions that increase worker organizing and empowerment in the arts, entertainment, and media industries where our members work.”
The report says that “Union density isn’t low because Americans don’t like unions. Today, 68% of Americans approve of labor unions – the highest level on record since 1965, and support for unions among young workers is even higher. Polls show that more and more workers – a full 52% of non-union workers – want to join unions. This gap between the percentage of workers who want a union and the percentage of workers who have a union is part of the reason for this Task Force and this report.”
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