The US Department of Labor launched a massive Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) Grant Program this month. The difference between this and programs of the past is the inclusion of equity as a basis to obtain the grant, and unions to help deliver them. Expansion and creation of new equity funding based programs are an integral part of President Biden’s agenda, and set a dangerous precedent.
The era of the Biden Administration began with multiple executive orders, including the “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government”, whereby Biden unilaterally ordered all Federal executive departments and agencies to “to assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.” Biden also revoked Trumps 1776 Advisory commission which aimed to create a path to a renewed and confident national unity via rediscovery of a “shared identity rooted in our founding principles”. Expanding programs based upon segregating by characteristics, while further removing the public from participating in government decisions, has never worked, and in fact, has a history of bad outcomes.
Grant applicants may include educators, nonprofits, state and local governments, among others. A foundation of the program is not just inclusion of Labor Organizations (unions) delivering programs, but to create “opportunities for workers to exercise their legal right to organize and form or join a union”. Before Biden, unions had been on a downhill slide since 1983, when the labor department started tracking statistics.
– In 2015, public-sector workers had a union membership rate of 35.2 percent, more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7 percent).
– While the unionization rate for the public sector has remained relatively steady over time, the rate for the private sector has declined from 16.8 percent in 1983 to 6.7 percent in 2015.
– In 2019, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reported its largest single-year drop in membership in at least 20 years. Collectively, unions lost 100,000 members the same year.
– Polls show only 1 in 10 workers in the private sector want to join a union.
– The government is the largest sector with union representation. New employees are compelled to accept union representation. That’s right- no choice.
– There were no teachers unions before 1960. Does anyone think we did a better job educating then vs now?
In February 2021, the White House released a fact sheet reaffirming the President’s intention to strengthen Registered Apprenticeship and to assist the Department in expanding and modernizing the registered apprenticeship system while promoting equity and access.