American Jobs Plan: Key Employment Takeaways
On March 31, 2021, President Biden unveiled the proposed $2.7 trillion American Jobs Plan (AJP). The proposal has received much recognition for its plans related to infrastructure, but there are some key takeaways for employees and employers alike. The AJP aims to empower and protect workers while simultaneously addressing long-standing inequities in the workplace. We’ve compiled some of the plan’s highlights.
Create reasonably paid, quality jobs in safe and healthy workplaces, while ensuring workers have the freedom to organize, join unions, and bargain collectively with employers.
Advance the U.S. care economy by creating jobs and improving wages/benefits for essential home care workers. The caregiving population is disproportionally comprised of women of color, and one in six workers in this industry live in poverty. The plan would create new jobs and provide caregiving workers raises, benefits, and the opportunity to organize or join unions to collectively bargain with employers.
Empower workers in ways that help overcome racial and other inequalities. President Biden would ask Congress to ensure all workers have a free and fair choice to join a union by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and by guaranteeing union and bargaining rights for public service workers. Further, the plan would address gender-based pay inequities and ensure domestic workers receive legal benefits/protections.
Create good jobs by setting strict requirements for employers who benefit from the plan’s investments. Employers who benefit from the plan’s investments would be required to follow strong labor standards and allow employees to unionize and bargain collectively. Ultimately, the plan’s investments would aim to provide pathways to the middle class.
Protect workers by providing the federal government the resources it needs to ensure employers are providing workers with good jobs. The plan would protect workers by mandating fair and equal pay, safety and health at work, and freedom from racial, gender, and other forms of workplace discrimination and harassment. This would include a $10 billion investment for enforcement and increased penalties for employers who violate workplace safety and health rules.
Prepare Americans for the future by giving workers and employers the tools and training needed to be globally competitive.
Eliminate racial and gender inequities in research/development and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Innovation could quadruple in the U.S. “if women, people of color, and children from low-income families invented at the rate of groups who are not held back by discrimination and structural barriers.” The plan would include significant financial investments at Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Protect workers from future pandemics. The plan would provide $30 billion over four years to “create U.S. jobs and prevent the severe job losses caused by pandemics through major new investments in medical countermeasures manufacturing; research and development; and related biopreparedness and biosecurity.”
Improve workforce development opportunities in underserved communities. The plan’s workforce training investments would prioritize underserved communities and those hit hard by a transforming economy. President Biden would also ask Congress to ensure that new jobs in clean energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure are open and accessible to women and people of color.
As Congress works to develop legislation in the coming weeks and months, we look forward to seeing how the AJP evolves and, more specifically, what to expect in the world of employment.
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