As the Biden administration begins to strategize and decide what it is going to prioritize, it is clear that work needs to be done for America’s workers after four years of the Trump administration.
The United Auto Workers Legislative Director Josh Nassar discussed how President-elect Joe Biden can work to repair the damage done by the Trump administration to workers on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
President-elect Biden must address workers and COVID-19
Nassar said the Trump administration has done a great disservice to workers by weakening the institutions that protect them. He said the first order of business should be handling the coronavirus pandemic and doing what needs to be done in order to protect those affected.
The outlook for a COVID-19 relief package does not seem too bright. He said Mitch McConnell is poised to retain the Senate majority and is not likely to take action on worker-friendly legislation, such as the HEROES Act. He added that McConnell is much more likely to push legislation that includes corporate liability protections and other benefits for employers.
NLRB under President Trump
As has been said many times on America’s Work Force Union Podcast, the Trump administration has set up a very anti-worker National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Nassar said President Trump chose to leave the second Democratic seat on the five-seat board unfilled. Although this board will be in place for a period of time under the Biden administration, he said workers can rest assured that the NLRB will better represent workers once changes can be made.
The board is currently filled by one worker-friendly member and three corporate lawyers who routinely side with employers and against workers.
Other labor-friendly Biden initiatives
Nassar said the Biden administration will also have to take on other challenges set up by the Trump administration to ensure the government is working for the labor community instead of against it.
Some of these changes can be through executive action, while others will take time to go through procedure. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy for example, will have to go through comment periods before it can be changed.
Strengthening the institutions that protect workers and workers rights will take time, but Nassar believes this will be a largely pro-union and pro-worker administration who will fight for the workforce.