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President Obama Creates New Middle-Class Task Force

Something that went largely under-reported recently, was on January 30, when President Obama reversed three poor executive orders of President Bush dealing with labor unions. Mr. Obama also created a cabinet level task force assigned the responsibility to find ways to rebuild the American middle-class, which has taken a huge hit with the recession.

Mr. Obama noted that, "We cannot have a strong middle class without strong labor unions". The president also noted that, "We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests".

One of the executive order changes including requiring federal service contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change. This could help to result in continually employed skilled labor work force.

The president also reversed a Bush order that required federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit their financial support of the labor unions that are acting as their exclusive bargaining agent representatives.

A third executive order from the president prevents federal contractors from gaining reimbursement for expenses that are meant to influence workers deciding whether to engage in collective bargaining.

But perhaps the best of the new elements has to be the new middle-class task force which will be chaired by Vice President Biden.

The White House has also set up a new website, www.strongmiddleclass.gov where anyone can submit ideas about the economy, how it has affected them, or any other economy related notions. This is one administration that views the American people as a critical partner and really welcomes their input. This so much contrasts with the arrogance of the Bush Administration in many areas including the Iraq War where public opinion counted little in many decisions. If anything, the Obama Administration is advancing the notion of more citizen democracy to influence the government's decisions, while the role of professional lobbyists for corporate interests has a far reduced role from the past.


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Comments (6)

GarandFan:

"We cannot have a strong middle class without strong labor unions".

Given that labor unions represent less than 1/3 of the labor force, how does your Messiah explain the existence of the other 2/3's?

ke_future:

unions are paul's blind spot.

question for you, Paul, what's wrong with this rule?

The president also reversed a Bush order that required federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit their financial support of the labor unions that are acting as their exclusive bargaining agent representatives.

Shouldn't workers know what their rights are? Or are you only interested in workers know what the unions have to say?

Hey, I'm all for a strong middle class. But this sounds like so much ideological and classist rhetoric. They already know what they want, now they're just trying to come up with reason to justify the crap they want to pull.

As each new thing that Obama does, I get less and less optimistic. His appointments are crappy, his rule changes aren't well thought through, and he isn't leading on the economic issues, he's letting Reid and Pelosi call the shots.

GarandFan, well I guess many others at interested at working for minimum wage jobs as nonprofessionals with no health care, no retirement, while union members are a highly professional class of workers, with higher wages, and both health insurance and a retirement. In many states, especially in the South, where "right to work laws" exist, the average worker income is thousands less than in some states, especially on the West Coast where many jobs are both professional and union.

In South Carolina, for example many furniture assembly businesses hire minorities paying the minimum wage, while in Oregon or Washington, a factory worker is often a Boeing employee who is highly skilled and professional, and has a great health insurance and retirement plan.

Being an anion member can be an important ticket towards being middle class in American society.

Ke, I once knew a guy who was a major screw-up that joined the longshoreman's union, and after he caused an accident that hurt other workers, the union gave him less work, sending him a message that he wasn't professional enough for that sort of work. Unions of this sort try to cultivate a highly professional and skilled workforce compared to some guys who would like a longshoreman job just because they like the money. Too many fields have guys working in them that aren't very professional, and unions try to address that.

You wouldn't go to an amateur doctor if that sort of thing was allowed. And who wants to fly in a plane built by nonunion workers who miss a few critical welds here and there and the wings fall off in flight. And who would want to buy a nonunion built automobile for $20,000, where the cheap labor may not properly balance the engine parts, etc.

Unions are an attempt to create a professional workforce of highly skilled labor who are also well compensated for their skills.

fustian:

Yeah, well back when I was in college, I worked in a unionized lumber mill for minimum wage. And the union had no issues with reducing that check for union dues. A guy on my belt lost a few fingers in some machinery and they nailed the glove, with the fingers in it still to the wall and affixed a small sign that said "think safety". The professionalism just shines through, doesn't it?

Enlightened and professional union workers thought it was really funny to stack the 70lb plywood sheets we used in piles we could barely reach the top of. I got my job when the guy before me didn't jump back fast enough and broke all his toes. They fired him instead of the forklift driver that created the problem because he thought it was funny.

Other union professionals threatened to throw me on the fast conveyor belt that led to the sawdust chipper when they found out I was going back to college in the fall. You know, as a lark. I fooled them, I quit 4 days early.

In my experience, professional is the last word I would apply to union members. Ignorant thugs would fit the bill more.

Your mileage may vary.

its easy - just make everybody a government employee. The only unions actually increasing are government unions, and you have magically created a complete middle class. Everybody who works is union, middle class, government, and we get all our money by stealing it from Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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