Douglas P. Nelson, Business Manager
At the Labor Department, Steadfast Support for Unions
Policy at the Department of Labor is looking a lot different than under the Trump administration, or even under Obama.
The DOL’s anti-corruption unit, the Office of Labor-Management Standards, is going back to defending unions. Under the agency’s mandate of transparency and accountability, disclosure forms collected by the OLMS require detailed information about unions’ membership and finances.
The new OLMS director, Jeffrey Freund, plans a public campaign to tout unions’ compliance with the agency’s transparency rules.
“We know there are organizations out there who have an agenda to defeat union organizing, to reduce union power, and to generally diminish the importance of unions in the American economy,” Freund said. “And they take our data, they produce a picture based on cherry-picking examples, and extrapolate that to the labor movement writ large. And that has an effect.
“It has an effect on workers who are members of those unions,” Freund continued. “It has an effect on workers who are not members of those unions but who may be thinking about organizing. It has an effect on public policymakers.”
Trump administration OLMS staff imposed greater scrutiny of unions and hired more investigators to search for irregularities.
President Biden’s 2022 spending plan makes the case that a promising future means aggressive action to combat climate change while rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and addressing longstanding economic inequalities.
“Where we choose to invest speaks to what we value as a nation,” President Biden said. “This year’s budget, the first of my presidency, is a statement of values that define our nation at its best.”
IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson said it fulfills Biden’s promise to Build Back Better with significant investments to modernize the nation’s infrastructure that will lower emissions, increase reliability and support middle-class, union jobs.
It will also aggressively tackle climate change by investing $36 billion into renewable energy technology and expanding clean energy tax credits.
“The IBEW has always been clear that slashing carbon emissions while ensuring our nation’s energy security requires an all-of-the-above strategy that taps into every energy supply, and this budget does just that,” Stephenson said. “It invests hundreds of millions of dollars into nuclear power while supporting a wide array of clean energy resources and technologies, including hydrogen, electric vehicles, advanced energy storage and transmission.