“America was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class.” - President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
On April 26, 2021, in his continued commitment to equity, President Biden established the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment to engage government agencies in a historic government-wide effort to put the federal government’s policy of encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining into action.
Unions have played a critical role in securing higher wages, greater job security, safety and health laws, essential benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, and protections from discrimination and sexual harassment for millions of Americans. Employers with unionized workforces have an established mechanism for addressing workplace issues that arise, and often are able to collaborate and innovate around key challenges.
Sixteen million workers in the United States are union members or in a job that provides them union representation. More than six in ten of these workers are women and/or people of color. Union workers earn roughly 13% more than non-union workers on a similar job site. Unions are a powerful force in narrowing the pay gap for women and workers of color. Union workers also experience lower rates of labor standards violations, like employer wage theft or workplace safety and health hazards.
A recent Gallup poll indicates that public opinion of unions is at its highest point since 1965. In expanding numbers, workers, and especially young workers, women workers, and workers of color, support unions and would like to form a union at their workplace. But many workers lack the information they need to know about their organizing and bargaining rights. And many employers are unaware of workers’ rights and employers’ obligations when workers seek to organize.
In support of the Biden Administration’s goal of increasing union density in the workplace, the information below is a compilation of resources offered by Task Force member agencies to support worker organizing and collective bargaining by unions and employers across the country.
Helpful information for employers
The links below offer information to small business employers regarding employees’ rights to organize, the existing federal laws that support those rights, and resources to help build a labor-management partnership.
Do my employees have the right to form or join a Union?
- Employee Rights | National Labor Relations Board (nlrb.gov)
- The Law | National Labor Relations Board (nlrb.gov)
- Unions 101 from the Department of Labor WORK Center (dol.gov)
What are my rights and obligations as an employer?
Are there any resources regarding these topics specifically for small businesses?
How can I ensure my employees are informed of their workplace rights?
- The Employee Rights Poster Is a Gateway to Knowledge | U.S. Department of Labor Blog (dol.gov)
- Notice of Employee Rights required to be posted by federal contractors: employeerightsposter11x17_2019final.pdf (dol.gov)
How do employees get recognized as a union?
Either by election or voluntary recognition by the employer. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) provides card checks at no cost for parties using the voluntary recognition process and who agree on an appropriate bargaining unit.
What resources are available to help me and my employees learn how to start bargaining?
FMCS provides training at no cost to parties on a wide range of collective bargaining topics, including how to negotiate a contract, effective communications, and contract administration.
What resources are available to help me and my employees to build a labor-management partnership?
FMCS assists parties at no cost in building and maintaining labor-management partnerships, including labor management committees (LMCs) and labor management forums (LMFs).
What resources are available to help me and my employees if we cannot come to an agreement ourselves?
FMCS provides collective bargaining and grievance mediation to parties at no cost.
Additional information for employers and employees
For additional information on unions, the union advantage, successful labor-management partnerships and more, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Worker Organizing Resource and Knowledge Center.