On January 30, 2009, President Obama signed 3 Pro-Labor Executive Orders that affect the rights of employees of federal contractors. He said the orders should "level the playing field" for labor unions in their struggles with management.
The first order, entitled “Economy in Government Contracting”, will prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers’ decisions about whether to form a union. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is responsible for issuing and implementing regulations pursuant to this executive order within 150 days from January 30, 2009.
The second order, “Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Law”, requires employers with federal contracts over $100,000 to inform their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This encourages collective bargaining, by posting a notice in the workplace. The order also reverses a Bush administration order, which required federal contractors to post a notice of an employee’s right to refuse to join a union (commonly referred to as the “Beck” Notice). The form and content of the notice of employee rights will be determined by the Secretary of Labor and will be the subject of a rule-making proceeding that will begin within 120 days from January 30, 2009.
The third order, “Non-Displacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts”, requires federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change. The order requires all new contracts under the Service Contract Act to contain a mandate that new contractors offer positions to the non-supervisory employees of the contractor that have lost the federal contract. The Secretary of Labor and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council are responsible for issuing and implementing regulations pursuant to this executive order within 180 days from January 30, 2009.
Obama also used this occasion at the White House to announce formally a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans to be chaired by Vice President Joe Bide.