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Previous story Biden forges ahead with his pro-union agenda on several fronts Next story


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Published on March 10, 2021 2:06 AM

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Joe Biden tours a local plumbers union training center in Erie, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2020.
Washington (CNN)President Joe Biden on Tuesday continued his string of pro-union actions since entering the White House by calling for the House to pass a bill to make it easier for employees to unionize.

Biden strongly encouraged the House of Representatives to pass the so-called "PRO Act," a bill that he said would encourage unions and "dramatically enhance the power of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions." The House passed the bill later Tuesday evening. The statement is the latest high-profile pro-union policy announcement since taking office, and all signs point to more in the future. The coronavirus pandemic has put a renewed focus on workers rights, with Americans continuing to grapple with questions about job security and the health risks associated with returning to work. Days after taking office, Biden signed an executive order days after taking office that restored collective bargaining power to federal employees. His administration also removed Trump-appointed officials from the National Labor Relations Board. Notably, as Big Tech has continued to deal with emerging organizing efforts and a potential gig economy overhaul, Biden appears to have weighed in on historic unionization efforts for thousands of Amazon workers working at the company's Alabama warehouse. In a video released earlier this month, he expressed support for organizing efforts by "workers in Alabama" and others across the country. "This is vitally important, a vitally important choice, as America grapples with the deadly pandemic, the economic crisis, and the reckoning on race — what it reveals the deep disparities that still exist in our country," Biden said in the video. "And there should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda." Biden has also taken more symbolic approaches to signify that unions will be top of mind during his presidency.

For example, on his first day in office, a bust of labor leader Cesar Chavez was installed behind his desk. He's also nominated Marty Walsh, Boston's mayor and a former union leader, to be labor secretary. However, it's also worth noting that Biden's commerce secretary, former Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, faced stern opposition from unions in the state over her efforts to increase the retirement age and push through pension reform. There are still a number of labor-related actions the Biden campaign proposed that Biden could take action on. As part of his campaign platform, Biden also expressed support for other labor legislation, including the Fairness to Farm Workers Act and the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights. Biden's presidential campaign plan for labor also includes forming a cabinet-level working group in the first 100 days of the presidency to increase union density. Another campaign goal was to issue a requirement for federal contractors to sign agreements committing to not run anti-union campaigns, which could have dramatic impact on large tech companies that are on contract with the federal government.