Action Needed—Sign on Letter to White House on Infrastructure:
Tomorrow, President Biden will issue his first address to Congress and is expected to focus on his infrastructure plan and priorities for his $2+ trillion American Jobs Plan.
ABC is urging member companies to sign on to a letter to the administration highlighting concerns with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and recommendations for improvements to assist the construction industry. You may view the letter and sign on here.
PRO Act and FOCA Paycheck Stuffers:
Paycheck stuffers highlighting the PRO Act and Fair and Open Competition are now available for ABC members to utilize. Both copies may be viewed and printed here and are also available on national connections via FEA.
President Biden Issues EO on Worker Organizing and Empowerment:
On April 26, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that establishes the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. ABC is concerned that the Biden administration is promoting policies that undermine workers’ choice whether to freely join a union, such as government-mandated project labor agreements.
According to the EO:
“The Task Force shall, within 180 days of the date of this order, submit to the President recommendations for actions as described in subsection (b) of this section to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the public and private sectors, and to increase union density. The Task Force may, at the Chair’s discretion, recommend appropriate or time-sensitive individual actions to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining before the deadline established by this section. The Task Force and its members shall work to implement all recommendations that the President may approve, to the extent permitted by law, and shall report their progress as directed by the Chair.”
This reduces competition for small, women and minority businesses and workers and increases construction costs by 12%-20%, resulting in fewer jobs and improvements to America’s infrastructure. The Biden administration is also a strong supporter of the ABC-opposed Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which undermines a worker’s right to a secret ballot in a workplace election and eliminates worker choice by repealing 27 state right-to-work laws that prohibit compulsory union membership in order to work.
Construction industry employers and employees should be watching the task force’s recommendations closely for its support of additional policies that will also increase costs to taxpayers, eliminate opportunities for small businesses, discriminate against nonunion workers and undermine America’s economic resilience and competitive edge in the global economy.
Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the task force, which includes the heads of several federal agencies.
Biden Joint Address Tomorrow:
Tomorrow, President Biden will address a joint session of Congress. While it is expected that the President will make a push for his American Jobs Plan to support infrastructure, a large part of his address will be the unveiling of the second half of his plan, the “American Family Plan”, which is set to focus on childcare, paid family leave, and other social welfare issues, where the first portion was centered on infrastructure. The price tag is expected to be at least $1.5 trillion but the details of Biden’s address are still being finalized and House and Senate Democrats are involved in a last-minute lobbying blitz to try to sway the White House on what to include in the package. The plan is also expected to include pay-fors that could include tax increases for pass-through businesses and the top individual rate.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richie Neal (D-Mass.) also proposed a discussion draft on legislation that could play into the Biden plan. The Chairman’s “Building an Economy for Families Act” would create a new mandatory paid leave program, giving up to 12 weeks paid family and medical leave for all workers, and seeks to permanently extend three tax credits included in the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress: a child tax credit of up to $3,600 per child; an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit; and the Child and Dependent Care Credit of up to $8,000 for one child, $16,000 for two or more.
White House Raises Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors:
Today, the President issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. The current minimum wage for federal contractors is $10.95 per hour, and the increase to $15 will be a pay hike for roughly 700,000 federal contractors covered under this order. The new wage will come into effect next year and is indexed to inflation.
U.S. Census Reapportionment:
Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced its once-in-a-decade reapportionment totals, which will result in new congressional districts and electoral votes upon certain states while taking them away from others. In total, seven districts will move from one state to another, based upon population shifts. Those states gaining seats are: Texas +2, Colorado +1, Florida +1, Montana +1, North Carolina +1, and Oregon +1. While those losing seats are: California -1, Illinois -1, Michigan -1, New York -1, Ohio -1, Pennsylvania -1, West Virginia -1.
While Republican led states saw a greater increase, which could boost Republican chances of recapturing the U.S. House of Representatives from Democrats in next year’s midterm elections, the new congressional district maps won’t be redrawn until later this year, at the earliest. State legislators and independent commissions will decide how redistricting is done, and Republicans could lose seats in Democratic led states like New York and Illinois.
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