In March 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden gave a surprisingly decent speech to the AFL-CIO’s annual conference in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA was one of Obama’s key campaign promises; by allowing unions to form via “Card Check,” instead of forcing secret NLRB elections, the bill would have made it much easier for workers to organize.
In March 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden gave a surprisingly decent speech to the AFL-CIO’s annual conference in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA was one of Obama’s key campaign promises; by allowing unions to form via “Card Check,” instead of forcing secret NLRB elections, the bill would have made it much easier for workers to organize. “This is all going to be difficult,” Biden said, “and one of the most difficult things will be to re-institute that basic bargain” between business and labor: that higher productivity means higher wages. “And I think the way to do that is the Employee Free Choice Act.”
Four days later, Politico’s Glenn Thrush wrote of “surefire signs of stall,” arguing that moderate opposition could “hang up the measure for months, perhaps pushing it into the midterm election year of 2010.” By May 2009, the bill was as good as dead.
Now, you could never accuse the Philly DSA Bulletin Team of shilling for Joe Biden (in fact, we’ve often been accused of the opposite), but one area where he’s started to make the right noises is labor: his NLRB guy seems fine, his COVID relief bill currently includes a $15 minimum wage, and he’s on the record in support of the labor movement’s next big attempt to rewrite federal law: the PRO Act.
The PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act has several key provisions. The bill would impose financial penalties on businesses who violate workers’ rights, remove prohibitions on solidarity strikes, and ban captive-audience meetings in contested union elections. Perhaps most significantly, it would federally ban right-to-work laws and push back against gig-economy exploitation by tightening standards around independent contractor classification. It’s a good bill. DSA supports it, and during the campaign, Joe Biden said he did, too.
Does the PRO Act have a better shot than the EFCA did? We learned our lesson from 2008. Democrats like Biden aren’t going to make better labor laws a priority unless we push them, and now is our chance to up the pressure. Building a stronger labor movement is one of Philly DSA’s core priorities; sign up for one of our events below to join us.
Phone Zap for School Safety Friday, Feb 5 | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm | Virtual
New Members Meeting Saturday, Feb 6 | 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm | Virtual
Steering Committee Meeting Monday, Feb 8 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Virtual
Racial Justice Commission Meeting Wednesday, Feb 10 | 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm | Virtual
Policy Committee Meeting Wednesday, Feb 10 | 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Virtual
Housing Committee Meeting Thursday, Feb 11 | 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Virtual
OCOS Committee Meeting Saturday, Feb 13 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm | Virtual
Green New Deal Commission Meeting Monday, Feb 15 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm | Virtual
Canvassing Committee Meeting Monday, Feb 15 | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm | Virtual
Marxism Reading Group: From Feudalism to the Market Wednesday, Feb 17 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Virtual
Power to Heal Film Screening & Discussion Thursday, Feb 18 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Virtual
Trivia Night Friday, Feb 19 | 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Virtual
BuxMont DSA Political Education Reading GroupEvery Monday | 7pm | Virtual
Delco DSA Reading GroupThursday, Feb 11 | 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm | Virtual
BuxMont DSA General MeetingTuesday, February 16 | 7pm | Virtual
Delco DSA February Branch MeetingWednesday, Feb 17 | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm | Virtual
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