TAA

February 5, 2014;Politico

Vice President Joe Biden pulls few punches. Just ask President Obama, who had to get off his noncommittal public stance on LGBT marriage when Biden sort of forced the issue. This week, in the wake of President Obama’s assigning Biden to chair a task force on job training (and issuing an executive memorandum that did not use the word “union” once), the Vice President gave a speech at the annual meeting of the United Auto Workers that was as pro-union as almost anything that anyone from the Obama administration has ever uttered.

Biden told the UAW assemblage that collective bargaining is the “bedrock of our economy,” that “labor built the middle class,” and that, referring to unions, “You guys are the only guys keeping the barbarians at the gate.” Now, tell us what you really think, Joe!

Citing right-to-work laws that were enacted in Michigan and Indiana in recent years and other governmental initiatives limiting unions’ collective bargaining, Biden ascribed these policy reversals to “a concerted, full-throated, well-organized, well-financed, well-thought-out effort waging war on labor’s house.”

Given that Vice President Biden is now in charge of a task force to generate ideas on job training programs that work for the parts of the economy that are likely to grow jobs, are his strongly pro-union statements at the UAW conference consistent with the task force deliberations? Here is the Bureau of Labor Statistics review of the occupational categories likely to show the largest proportional and absolute employment increases between 2012 and 2022. It would appear that the VP is reminding the unions that they have organizing challenges ahead:

2012 National Employment Matrix title

(numbers in the thousands)

Employment

Change, 2012-22

Median annual wage, 2012

2012

2022

Number

Percent

Total, All Occupations

145,355.8

160,983.7

15,628.0

10.8

$34,750

Personal care aides

1,190.6

1,771.4

580.8

48.8

19,910

Registered nurses

2,711.5

3,238.4

526.8

19.4

65,470

Retail salespersons

4,447.0

4,881.7

434.7

9.8

21,110

Home health aides

875.1

1,299.3

424.2

48.5

20,820

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

2,969.3

3,391.2

421.9

14.2

18,260

Nursing assistants

1,479.8

1,792.0

312.2

21.1

24,420

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive

2,324.4

2,632.3

307.8

13.2

32,410

Customer service representatives

2,362.8

2,661.4

298.7

12.6

30,580

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

2,324.0

2,604.0

280.0

12.1

22,320

Construction laborers

1,071.1

1,331.0

259.8

24.3

29,990

General and operations managers

1,972.7

2,216.8

244.1

12.4

95,440

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

2,197.3

2,439.2

241.9

11.0

23,890

Carpenters

901.2

1,119.4

218.2

24.2

39,940

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

1,799.8

2,004.5

204.6

11.4

35,170

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

1,701.5

1,894.1

192.6

11.3

38,200

Medical secretaries

525.6

714.9

189.2

36.0

31,350

Childcare workers

1,312.7

1,496.8

184.1

14.0

19,510