FACT SHEET: Ahead of Labor Day, the Biden-Harris Administration announces new measures to empower workers — building on the President’s historic support for workers and unions
The new measures announced this week empower workers to grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, a key pillar of the Biden economy.
President Biden promised to be the most pro-labor and pro-union president in American history, and he has delivered on that promise. Support for unions is at its highest level in more than half a century, inflation-adjusted income has risen 3.5% since the president took office, and the biggest wage gains over the past two years have gone to the lowest-paid workers. The unemployment rate is close to a 50-year low, and more people of working age have jobs today than at any time in more than two decades. And under the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration, all workers — including those who are often left behind in recovery — are experiencing record low unemployment rates.
And under the Biden economy, America is seeing a historic level of public and private investment in manufacturing and new industries that will create well-paying jobs that Americans can raise their families on and build a community around. The President continues to fight to ensure that all Americans get fair pay for a hard day’s work, and have a free and fair choice to unionize.
Ahead of Labor Day, the Biden-Harris administration is announcing new actions this week to empower workers by investing in America’s clean energy workforce, creating pathways to access to high-paying and unionized jobs, demonstrating union benefits, and expanding important wage protections. These procedures include:
Ensure that clean energy investments support high-quality, union jobs
- Creating well-paying clean energy jobs. The Treasury and Internal Revenue Service have published a proposed landmark rule to support well-paying jobs and workforce development made possible by incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Many clean energy deployment tax incentives offered by the IRA are increased by five times if taxpayers pay workers prevailing wages and use registered apprentices. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) provides clarity on how these incentives will work, including provisions for penalties and correction for those who fail to meet the requirements, and promotes worker-centered practices. The NPRM also encourages the use of qualified project work agreements, which guarantee workers well-paying jobs, help construction contractors finish complex projects on time and on budget, and can create fair pathways into construction jobs.
- Support fair and just transformation of electric vehicles. The Department of Energy has opened applications for the $2 billion Domestic Manufacturing Transformation Grant Program, created by the Internet Research Agency. The program will provide financing to auto manufacturers transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles and components to electric vehicles and components. Consistent with the President’s call for a transition process that protects workers, this program will prioritize applications from facilities at risk of closing or that have recently closed and reward applicants who retain existing workers, have strong labor partnerships, pay high wages, and convert facilities while on the job. Stay in the same community. The Department of Energy’s Office of Loan Programs is also facilitating access to $10 billion in capital to transform auto plants. The office plans to prioritize reviewing project applications at sites that have a long history of automobile manufacturing and demonstrate strong workforce practices and labor standards.
Strengthen electric vehicle battery supply chains and support high-quality jobs, including auto workers. The Department of Energy is issuing a Notice of Intent for the second round of $3.5 billion for battery manufacturing grant programs under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The program will help expand domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries and the country’s grid, as well as battery materials and components currently imported from other countries. This notice of intent sets direction for the next phase of the program, which will support communities with experienced auto workers and a history of vehicle production, applicants with strong workforce practices, and applicants who plan to create high-quality jobs.
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- Conduct an analysis of how unions benefit from the economy. The Treasury released a first-of-its-kind report finding that unions help grow the economy by reducing inequality, increasing incomes, increasing savings (including retirement savings), and expanding home ownership. According to the report, released as part of the White House Task Force on Organizing and Empowering Workers chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, union members earn higher wages and are more likely to receive important benefits such as retirement, Medicare, childcare, life insurance, and sick leave. The report also finds that everyone Workers — even non-union workers and workers who have been laid off — benefit from more unions.
Extended protection for overtime
- Proposing new rules that would provide millions of workers with protection from overtime. The Department of Labor has released a proposed rule to increase minimum overtime pay from less than $36,000 per year to about $55,000 per year. Under the proposal, more employees earning less than $55,000 annually and working more than 40 hours a week would be paid at least one and a half times their normal rates of pay for the overtime hours they work. The proposed rule would expand overtime pay for up to 3.6 million hard-working Americans.
These actions build on the historic support of workers and unions from day one of the Biden-Harris administration, including:
- Raise the wages of construction workers. In August, the Department of Labor published a final rule updating wage standards prevailing in the Davis-Bacon Act for the first time in nearly 40 years. This rule affects more than 1 million workers who are building $200 billion in federally funded or subsidized projects, and who will earn higher wages over time. Almost all of the important construction programs contained in President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Chips and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act require or provide strong incentives to use prevailing Davis-Bacon wages — ensuring that more workers benefit from the Labor Department’s new rule. .
- Protect workers’ wages. The Biden-Harris administration has restored more than $690 million to more than 440,000 low-wage workers across the country. The administration implements laws that protect these workers from becoming victims of wage theft and exploitation when they are not paid minimum or hard-earned overtime wages, are denied tips, or are misclassified as independent contractors.
Support workers’ right to organize
- Empowering Workers Through Education Recently, the Ministry of Labor re-launched the Knowledge and Resources Organization Center (WORK). The WORK Center is the federal government’s premier online resource center providing information about labor unions and their importance to workers and communities. And while more than half of non-union workers say they want a union, only about 10% of those workers say they know how to form one. The Job Center caters to workers who are looking for more information about their labor rights and lack experience in organisation.
- Disclosure of when federal contractors hire consultants to avoid unionization. In July, the Labor Department published a final regulation to update the LM-10, a form that employers must file to disclose whether they pay consultants to persuade workers regarding their organizing and collective bargaining rights or to monitor the activities of employees and unions involved in labor disputes. The new rule requires private employers to indicate whether they are federal contractors or subcontractors, enhancing transparency for workers and the federal government about whether contractors hire anti-union consultants.
Expand workforce development
- Make a historic investment in a registered apprenticeship. All Americans should have a path to good-paying jobs, which is why the Biden-Harris administration invested a historic $285 million in registered apprenticeships in fiscal year 2023, and in July awarded more than $65 million in grants to 45 states. . To expand and diversify registered apprenticeships in high demand industries. The department also launched the Apprenticeship Ambassadors initiative to expand the registered apprenticeship model with employers in the public and private sectors.
- Launching manpower investment centers in America. In May, the Biden-Harris administration launched new initiatives to train and connect more workers with the good-paying jobs — including union jobs — created by the president’s investments in Invest America. Through the Workforce Centers initiative, the department is collaborating with local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, and other stakeholders to ensure that a diverse and skilled workforce is ready to meet the demand for labor driven by historic public and private investment in five centers—Phoenix, Columbus, Baltimore, Augusta, and Pittsburgh.
Promote equal employment opportunities
- Increase access to quality construction jobs for underrepresented workers. In March, the Labor Department launched the Megaproject, initially designating 12 bipartisan-funded projects across the country as megaprojects. The Mega Projects Program provides free and ongoing on-the-ground assistance to help construction project owners, contractors, and unions ensure equal employment opportunities for unrepresented workers. Also in March, the Department of Labor announced a $20 million collaboration agreement with TradesFutures to expand apprenticeship readiness through the Building Trades Initiative, in partnership with the National Urban League. This first-of-its-kind initiative aims to significantly increase the number of participants from underrepresented populations and disadvantaged communities in registered vocational training programs in the construction industry.
- Expanding access to childcare and long-term care. In April, President Biden issued an executive order containing more than 50 measures to increase access to quality care and better support caregivers. The executive order directs all cabinet-level agencies with federal job creation funds — including from the Invest America Agenda — to consider requiring or encouraging grant recipients to use funds for supportive services, including child care and long-term care, to Maximum. allowed. This measure will help ensure that disadvantaged workers are able to enter, stay and complete training and move on to quality jobs, including union jobs. This builds on the first-of-its-kind requirement that employers seeking significant federal funds under the CHIPS and Science Act submit a concrete plan to help their employees access affordable child care, enabling more community parents to access well-paying jobs.