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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