USA

Democrats place reward for union membership in $ 3.5 billion spending plan

House Democrats plan to use President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion welfare program to boost one of their biggest allies: organized labor.

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have incorporated a deduction for union dues into the 881-page tax proposal that they say will ensure Mr Biden’s legislation is fully funded. The provision, as currently drafted, would allow members of a labor organization to deduct $ 250 in union dues from their taxes.

The inclusion is causing Republicans to cry foul, with some even arguing that it amounts to an inappropriate political reward.

“This union dues tax deduction is a blatant handout for one of the Democrats’ greatest political backers, the big workers, a group that is already well funded thanks to its unique power to collect dues from workers who would lose their jobs for the sake of it. have refused to pay, ”said Greg Mourad, vice-president of the National Commission for the Right to Work.

Mr Mourad said the decision was “naturally political”, as evidenced by the fact that the deduction only applies to full union members. Workers who are forced to pay union dues due to state and local laws but who are not actually members would not be eligible.

Democrats dismiss these criticisms, saying the deduction is meant to reward workers rather than union bosses.

For years, union membership has been declining nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership fell by more than half between 1983 and 2019, from 20.1% to 10.3%.

Despite the decline, Mr Biden allied himself strongly with organized labor during his White House candidacy in 2020.

“In my White House, you will always be welcome. You will always be welcome. Work will always be welcome, ”Biden said last week at an event with union leaders. “You know, you’ve heard me say many times: I intend to be the most pro-union president in charge of the most pro-union administration in American history.

Since taking office, the president has championed a strong union agenda, including pushing for the PRO-Act.

The legislation, which faces long chances in Congress, would revise labor laws, giving unions more power to organize and bargain collectively with employers. It would also reclassify independent contractors as regular employees, bound by conventional protections in the workplace.

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