Labor Management Relations: President Obama Issues Three Executive Orders That Dramatically Affect Labor Relations for Federal Contractors

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President Barack H. Obama signed three executive orders during a ceremony at the White House on January 30, 2009: Economy in Government Contracting, Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers under Service Contracts, and Notification of Employee Rights under Federal Law. The three executive orders focus on federal contractors, but the pro-labor slant of the President's action signals a dramatic shift in labor policy at the highest levels of the federal government. In announcing the executive orders, Mr. Obama said, "I ... 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." In the view of employers, however, the President did not "level" the playing field as much as tilted it decidedly in favor of unionization.

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