New digital resources will equip small businesses and other employers with tools to best protect the rights of workers interested in joining a union
In continued celebration of Labor Day, today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)released a first-of-its-kind digital toolkit for employers seeking guidance on responding to their employees who are interested in exercising their right to form or join a union.
View the digital toolkit at sba.gov/employee-organizing.
“Building strong teams and managing workforce issues are critical skillsets that small business owners must continually develop as they start and grow resilient businesses, and the SBA remains committed to supporting them with relevant content and trainings,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, a member of the White House Task Force. “The resources in this collaborative digital toolkit will help small businesses learn about, evaluate and manage the growing worker-driven and market-based trends in employee organizing.”
Executing the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of promoting and supporting unionization and collective bargaining through the president’s Executive Order Establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (Task Force), the digital toolkit highlights the mutual benefits to employers and workers of labor-management partnerships and collective bargaining, in addition to providing a slew of resources – through partner agencies – including information on navigating workplace issues, working together to protect worker organizing, establishing labor-management partnerships, respecting workers’ freedom to choose union representation, and addressing concerns of small businesses.
“SBA’s toolkit is an invaluable resource for employers looking for information and guidance on unions and the value of collective bargaining,” said Secretary Marty Walsh, who serves as vice chair of the White House Task Force. “Worker interest in forming unions is higher than we’ve seen in decades, and this resource will be an important tool in helping employers respond positively to worker organizing campaigns.”
Established on April 26, 2021, by an Executive Order signed by President Biden, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment – chaired by Vice President Harris and vice-chaired by Labor Secretary Walsh – directs the coordination and mobilization of over 20 federal agencies, to implement policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers. Following up on that stated commitment, the Task Force published a report with over 70 recommendations in February 2022 that aims to improve relations between and outcomes for both American workers and small businesses.
“Small businesses are a crucial component of the American economy, and they employ millions of workers,” said NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “This toolkit provides key resources that small business owners can use to ensure their employees can freely and fairly exercise their labor rights and create the effective labor-management partnerships that benefit workers, small businesses, and communities alike.”
“FMCS is thrilled to collaborate with our fellow agencies on the toolkit. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring awareness to both labor and management that FMCS is ready, willing, and able to assist in creating effective labor-management partnerships,” said FMCS Acting Director Gregory Goldstein. “FMCS has been effective throughout our 75-year history in preventing, managing, and resolving workplace conflict related to collective bargaining. And all at no cost to the parties.”
Developed through collaboration across federal agencies, the toolkit also builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s pro-union legacy, coming on the heels of the passing of the pro-worker and pro-small business Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower costs for American families, create a more equitable economy, and introduce new opportunities for small businesses and manufacturers, who create nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs.
With sixteen million workers in the United States that are union members or in a job that provides them union representation, of which more than six in ten of those workers are women and/or people of color, unions are also a powerful force in narrowing the pay gap for women and workers of color.
For additional information on the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, visit dol.gov/general/labortaskforce.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
About the Department of Labor
The mission of the U.S. Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. To learn more, visit www.dol.gov.
About the National Labor Relations Board
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. To learn more, visit nlrb.gov.
About the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service
The U.S. Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service is the nation’s premier public agency for dispute resolution and conflict management. FMCS was created by Congress as a neutral and independent government agency upon enactment of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley Act) and mandated to resolve industrial conflict and promote labor-management peace and cooperation, minimizing the impact of these disputes on the free flow of commerce. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., and offices across the country, the agency has a proud track record of decades of effective dispute resolution and conflict management services for employers and unions across industries and work activities in the private, public, and federal sectors. FMCS is also recognized for its success facilitating negotiated rulemaking processes and for its robust employment mediation program in the federal sector as well as its global program, partnering with more than 60 countries to provide international consulting and training. For more on FMCS or to request services, visit www.fmcs.gov.