The U.S. next week will begin a new chapter with the swearing-in of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. And the Teamsters are ready to turn the page and move forward with policy objectives that will empower American workers so that they will be able to more easily come together and fight for higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces.
These initiatives largely mirror priorities set forth by members in the lead up to November’s election, and are meant to ensure that workers’ voices are increased and that their concerns guide the work of elected officials over the next two years. By rolling back the numerous attempts by anti-worker forces to weaken unions, lawmakers can help rebuild an economy where workers win.
“Strong unions are key to a better America,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Now more than ever, America needs strong unions to demand better wages and benefits and safer working conditions. Strong unions hold employers and governments accountable to the workers who keep America strong.”
To that end, the Teamsters are urging policymakers to protect and promote union organizing and representation so workers have an unfettered right to form a union and those unions should be empowered to represent their members. Any regulations that hinder those opportunities should be removed and replaced with pro-worker and pro-union policies.
As it stands, public sector workers are facing increasing challenges. Their rights to organize and have representation should be protected as we also fight to maintain necessary funding for their work.
Additionally, intentional misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a growing problem. Employers should be held accountable for their responsibilities to their workers. With the growth of the gig economy, it is more important than ever that employers are not allowed to shift costs and responsibility to their employees by wrongly classifying them as contractors.
Similarly, employers shouldn’t be able to avoid accountability when the right to control work is shared jointly. Workers need accurate definitions and enforceable standards on joint employer status to hold employers accountable.
The Teamsters are hopeful for some quick actions. The Teamsters are optimistic, for instance, that the Biden-Harris administration will not implement a new Department of Labor rule that makes it easier for companies to classify workers as contractors.
But there is much work to be done to make sure that hardworking Americans are protected and have the ability to join together and represent themselves. The Teamsters look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration and new Congress to make it happen.