Joe Biden thinks he has a solution. Speaking at the Teamsters Presidential Forum in Iowa this weekend, Biden proposed criminal penalties for companies that deprive workers of their right to organize. Biden said that the relatively small amounts of money that companies pay when they are found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act does nothing to deter them from doing it again.
“We should think about criminalization,” he said. “If you’re engaged in trying to prevent people from voting in a polling place in a regular election, what happens? You can be held criminally liable. What is the fundamental difference between saying that a powerful employer can intimidate workers to not get engaged and vote for a union, that you have a right to vote for?”
Biden also proposed fines for individual managers who take part in the union-busting, adding a personal liability to the illegal act and increasing the total fines for companies that take part in union-busting. He also went on to say that there are very few managers or company CEO’s that would be willing to go to jail to stop a union from coming into their workplace.
“You’re the only ones who can keep the barbarians at the gate,” he told Teamster union members. “They only understand power. Power. Countervailing power. And you guys have been getting killed, organized labor… There’s been a war on labor’s house for the last 30 years.”
Other Presidential candidates that attended the Teamsters forum were Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer.