At the White House on Friday, January 30, 2009, President Obama announced three executive orders relating to labor relations issues, and introducted the Middle Class Working Families Task Force to be headed by Vice President Biden.
Following are excerpts from the president’s remarks, as provided by the White House:
“Today we learned that our economy shrank in the last three months of 2008 by 3.8 percent. That's the worst contraction in close to three decades. This… is a continuing disaster for America's working families.
“We need to create jobs that sustain families and sustain dreams… and that's why I've created the Task Force on Middle Class Working Families… This task force will… focus on policies that will… create jobs that pay well… (and) ensure that workplaces are safe and fair as well as flexible for employees juggling the demands of work and family.
“I also believe that we have to reverse many of the policies towards organized labor that we've seen these last eight years, policies with which I've sharply disagreed. I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem, to me it's part of the solution.
“We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement. We know that strong, vibrant, growing unions can exist side by side with strong, vibrant and growing businesses.”
The president signed three executive orders: One is to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to reimburse federal contractors who spend money trying to influence the formation of unions. The second require that federal contractors inform their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. And the third is to ensure qualified employees will be able to keep their jobs even when a contract changes hands.
Said Vice President Biden “(The task force) be looking at everything from access to college at the Department of Education, to business development at the Department of Commerce, to child care and elder care with Health and Human Services, to restoring the balance in the workplace with the Department of Labor, and restoring labor's place with the Department of Labor.”