Middle Class Task Force

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in their struggles with management.
Obama also used the occasion at the White House to announce formally a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans. He named Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman.
Union officials say the new orders by Obama will undo Bush administration policies that favored employers over workers. The orders will:
_Require federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change.
_Reverse a Bush administration order requiring federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit financial support of unions serving as their exclusive bargaining representatives.
_Prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers deciding whether to form a union and engage in collective bargaining.
"We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests," Obama said during a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
"I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution," he said. "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."
Signing the executive orders was Obama's second overture to organized labor in as many days. On Thursday, he signed the first bill of his presidency, giving workers more time to sue for wage discrimination.
"It's a new day for workers," said James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who attended the ceremony with other union leaders. "We finally have a White House that is dedicated to working with us to rebuild our middle class. Hope for the American Dream is being restored."
Of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, Obama said, "We're not forgetting the poor. They are going to be front and center, because they, too, share our American Dream."
He said his administration wants to make sure low-income people "get a piece" of the American pie "if they're willing to work for it."
"With this task force, we have a single, highly visible group with one single goal: to raise the living standards of the people who are the backbone of this country," Biden said.
Obama set several goals for the task force, including expanding opportunities for education and training; improving the work-family balance; restoring labor standards, including workplace safety; and protecting retirement security.
The president and vice president said the task force will include the secretaries of commerce, education, labor, and health and human services because those Cabinet departments have the most influence on the well-being of the middle class. It also will include White House advisers on the economy, the budget and domestic policy.
Biden pledged that the task force will conduct its business in the open, and announced a Web site, http://www.astrongmiddleclass.gov, for the public to get information. He also announced that the panel's first meeting will be Feb. 27 in Philadelphia and will focus on environmental or "green jobs."
I like the idea of trying to help the middle class, my question is how much will this change things and will it be truly effective?

What do you think?
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Gosh, I hope so. I feel like so many of us are drowning, while those who benefit from the bad economy (i.e., bankruptcy and real estate attorneys) are thriving.

It feels like a very scary time economically, although I must admit, I am reassured by Obama's ascension to President, in re: policy changes, etc. (his public description of 2008's $18 billion dollar Wall Street bonuses as "shameful").
Can't hurt, but I notice Obama still seems to be boycotting the main group of labor unions, the AFL-CIO, and only invites leaders of the splinter group of 6, the CTW, which include the IBT (Teamsters) and the SEIU. Some say the CTW unions don't back up their members on grievances with employers as well as the AFL-CIO unions do, and focus pretty much entirely on getting new members (and their dues). The SEIU has negotiated a number of longterm no-strike contracts lately which are very controversial.

The AFL-CIO endorsed Obama before the Convention, gave him money and phone banks, but they do press for social programs from the gov't like increased funding for health care coverage and better international trade treaties. If Pres. Obama doesn't want to make these things a priority in these times of an over-extended Treasury, that might be a reason for the snub. He's been doing this a lot to the progressives who were a large part of his grassroots campaign workers. It's started bothering me, because unlike FDR, he isn't listening to all sides to get the best ideas. This is the first I've heard of his doing anything to side with workers. Mostly he just puts out programs to strengthen the "safety net" (unemployment, food stamps, etc.). The AFL-CIO was expecting him to support them in raising the federal minimum wage, which would tend to boost all wages, and instead he's giving them this little bit of help with collective bargaining. I guess half a loaf is better than none.

Last edited by JusLooking; 01-30-2009 at 11:48 AM. Reason: small add'n
I don't see anything that suggests that Obama or his aides didn't invite AFL-CIO union representatives to the signing....nor do I see anything that suggests that Obama isn't going to support some of the AFL-CIO issues such as healthcare and international trade treaties. The thing that I think isn't being taken into consideration, is that healthcare reform and trade agreements have to move through congress, and cannot be enacted by an executive order. Executive orders can only be used to change government policy as it relates to executive level agencies...and even then only internal policy. If you notice, this lastes executive order deals with federal contractors and thier practices...which basicly means that an agency (let's use DOD for example) can pull a contract from a contractor if they are not following this executive order. None of this is a law per say.

As far as the creation of the middle class task force...ITS ABOUT DAYUM TIME!!!! The middle class has always been the back bone of this country and I'm glad that finally, someone is going pay attention the the needs and issues of people like me. While I am a firm believer in the need of most social programs (medicare, welfare, public assistance) none of these programs benefit people like me...and its a dayum shame that you have adults that work hard everyday and cant afford healthcare, but make too much money to qualify for medicaid/medicare.
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Gosh, I hope so. I feel like so many of us are drowning, while those who benefit from the bad economy (i.e., bankruptcy and real estate attorneys) are thriving.

It feels like a very scary time economically, although I must admit, I am reassured by Obama's ascension to President, in re: policy changes, etc. (his public description of 2008's $18 billion dollar Wall Street bonuses as "shameful").
Originally Posted by ninja dog
Did you really use the word "ascension"? Man, and I've been called nuts.

The labor unions should not be allowed at the table in any shape, form or fashion. The fat cats at the top have enriched themselves for decades at the cost of the workers...their day is over. Government has taken over the job of assuring safe working conditions and the unions are only there to protect their workers. I worked for a worker's compensation defense firm and have read the transcripts and seen the workers waltz in with their union reps. Little Miss Thang was objecting to the denial of her WC benefits. Honey, you worked there for 4 years under false ID (federal offense), didn't file the claim until you were fired for falsifying your identity and lying about your age. You were not hurt you were trying to gouge the company.
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Gosh, I hope so. I feel like so many of us are drowning, while those who benefit from the bad economy (i.e., bankruptcy and real estate attorneys) are thriving.

It feels like a very scary time economically, although I must admit, I am reassured by Obama's ascension to President, in re: policy changes, etc. (his public description of 2008's $18 billion dollar Wall Street bonuses as "shameful").
Originally Posted by ninja dog
Did you really use the word "ascension"? Man, and I've been called nuts.

The labor unions should not be allowed at the table in any shape, form or fashion. The fat cats at the top have enriched themselves for decades at the cost of the workers...their day is over. Government has taken over the job of assuring safe working conditions and the unions are only there to protect their workers. I worked for a worker's compensation defense firm and have read the transcripts and seen the workers waltz in with their union reps. Little Miss Thang was objecting to the denial of her WC benefits. Honey, you worked there for 4 years under false ID (federal offense), didn't file the claim until you were fired for falsifying your identity and lying about your age. You were not hurt you were trying to gouge the company.
Originally Posted by susancnw
Stuff like this makes me SICK! People like this make it hard for people that really ARE hurt on the job.

*wait a minute...did I just agree with susancnw?*
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