Unions emboldened by Biden, making supply chain crisis worse: experts

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President Biden has vowed to be the most pro-union president in American history, but experts say that is coming at a cost.

They argue that big labor is not only leveraging the worker shortage that has emerged since Biden took office as evidenced by an increase in strikes, but that America's supply chain crisis has deepened due to the president's actions – or lack thereof – toward unions. 

They also predict the problem will continue to get worse.

President Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better agenda at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Michigan, on Oct. 5, 2021. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP / Getty Images)

"I think unions feel especially boldened under the Biden administration," says Rachel Greszler, economics fellow at The Heritage Foundation. "This is clear at the ports in southern California where the unions — whose workers are often earning upwards of $200,000 a year — are refusing to increase operations despite massive backups that are causing problems across the nation."

"A different administration may be talking about using the Taft-Hartley Act to intervene," Greszler went on to say. "But I don’t think unions today have concerns about any federal intervention."

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The Taft-Hartley Act, formally known as the Labor Management Act of 1947, restricts labor unions' power and allows the executive branch to step in if unions take action that could impede commerce in a way that impacts the general public.

Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey argued in a recent piece in the New York Post that the International Longshoremen's Association union's contract impacting the logjammed California ports "blocks the use of automation technology" that would double efficiency in order to preserve more union jobs. Meanwhile, Section 30102 of Biden's Build Back Better legislation expressly prohibits such "labor-saving automation," she writes.

Aerial view of containers waiting at Port of Long Beach to be loaded onto trains and trucks on Oct. 16, 2021, in Long Beach, California.  (Getty Images)

Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work, agrees and adds that the Biden administration's stacking of pro-union advocates in federal posts means big labor has no concern that the president might intervene in any union-driven bottlenecks contributing to the supply chain crisis.

"The union officials are going to be more aggressive because the National Labor Relations Board is under control, the Department of Labor is under control, the Department of Justice is under control, and you have a president –  when it comes back to the ports – who probably will not exercise executive authority and implement Taft-Hartley," Mix says. "So I think it's emboldened union officials."

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At the same time, the experts FOX Business spoke with point out that Biden has been willing to sacrifice some union workers when it comes to the president's broader political agenda.

"One area in which some unions and the Biden administration are clashing is over vaccine mandates, where we’re hearing many unions — particularly public sector safety officers, such as police and firefighters — who do not support vaccine mandates and are willing to quit over them," Greszler said.

Workers load a truck with equipment at a pipe yard for the Keystone XL pipeline in Oyen, Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. President Biden revoked the permit for TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone XL energy pipeline via executive order hours after (Jason Franson/Bloomberg / Getty Images)

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According to Mix, "There's really no better case study on this than the Keystone Pipeline" project, which Biden was quick to shut down after taking office.

"That literally was a project labor agreement, which means only union contractors were working on it," he explained. "So every single employer that was working on that contract was a union guy…they were all on the unemployment line despite the fact that their union dues helped elect Joe Biden – the guy that put them on the unemployment line."

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