Biden’s Labor Secretary Will Hurt American Workers

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"IMG_7326" (CC BY 2.0) by Matt Johnson

President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for Labor Secretary might hurt the rank and file employees and poses an imminent disaster for the 89% of American workers who are not being represented by a union.

According to reports, Joe Biden is signaling his choice for Labor Secretary as he is leaning towards picking Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. This choice would mean that he kept his promise to create the most union-compliant administration in U.S. history. 

Although this might be good news for the country’s labor leaders, it is not the case for rank and file employees who are not represented by a union. The 89% of American workers who are not represented will still have their taxes used to generate sizable investment unions that were made during Biden’s candidacy. 

According to reports, Walsh, who once served as the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council president, has all the qualities that Biden is looking for.

However, it should be noted that although Biden makes emphasis on labor unions, the official mission statement of the U.S. Department of Labor does not say anything about unions. According to its official mission, the agency exists to: 

“…foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; (to) improve working conditions; (to) advance opportunities for profitable employment; and (to) assure work-related benefits and rights.”

For Democratic Presidents, this mission can only be achieved through the process of union membership. Thus, the position must be filled by someone who has a known track record of devotion to organized labor. 

Walsh qualifies the criteria set by Democrats, which made it easy for them to voice their approval. 

Back in the day, organized labor unions were essential to fight against child labor abuses and fighting in favor of a workplace’s safety standards. However, membership in these groups in the private sector has shrunk to its lowest levels in decades due to the fact that most of these duties are now assumed by the government. In addition to that, workers also see less reason to pay expensive union dues for services they no longer need. 

These days, modern unions and government employee unions have morphed more into a money-making group of the political left.

In the year 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case Janus v. AFSCME. The decision “outlawed mandatory union membership and payment of dues and/or so-called “agency fees” for government employees.”

Meanwhile, it is surprising how Joe Biden is in favor of labor unions and bringing the concept back in his administration. He also publicly declared his support in changing federal policy in order to get rid of Right to Work laws anywhere in the country. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris likewise was very critical of the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision. She even asserted that it is a “basic American premise” for all workers subjected to union monopoly-bargaining control to be forced into a union as a precondition for employment whether or not they personally receive benefit from it. 

By definition of the DOL’s mission, workers should be given the free will to decide for themselves whether they want to join a union and its activities or not. However, forcing millions of public employees to pay for excessive union dues is the essence of oppression.