Official: Obama To Repeal 4 Bush Executive Orders

President Barack Obama intends to overturn four Bush-era executive orders that unions opposed, officials said Thursday.

Obama planned to reverse one order Friday that allowed unionized companies to post signs informing workers that they were allowed to decertify their union, an order some claim is unfair because nonunion businesses are not required to post signs letting workers know they were legally allowed to vote for a union.

Two Democratic sources also said Obama would prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses that were intended to influence workers' decisions to form unions or engage in collective bargaining. A third order would require federal vendors with more than $100,000 in contracts to post workers' rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The final order would require service contractors at federal buildings to offer jobs to qualified current employees when contracts changed. For instance, rank-and-file workers could continue working on the same federal project even if the administrative contract expired. The officials disclosed the plans on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt the White House's plans.

Friday was set to be the second consecutive day for labor leaders to visit the White House. On Thursday, Obama welcomed them to the East Room as he signed his first major piece of legislation, an equal-pay act that organized labor and women's groups championed.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act allowed workers a longer window in which to sue employers for pay discrimination. At Thursday's billsigning, Obama declared: "There are no second-class citizens in our workplaces, and that it's not just unfair and illegal — but bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability."

That tone was expected to continue on Friday, when the administration also planned to re-announce a Middle Class Task Force designed to coordinate an approach to a slice of the country that has seen its ranks shrink as the economy falters. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the group of advisers and four Cabinet members.

"One of the things I was talking to my staff about yesterday is I do believe — and I make no apologies for it — that over the last 100 years the middle class was built on the back of organized labor. Without their weight, heft and their insistence starting in the early 1900s we wouldn't have the middle class we have now, in my view," Biden told CNBC for an interview Thursday. "So I think labor getting a fair share of the pie is part of it."

Labor leaders have been lobbying the Obama administration to repeal scores of executive orders they view as hostile to their cause. Officials gave administration officials their top 10 executive orders they wanted to see dismantled.

After eight years of President George W. Bush's Republican administration, labor leaders approached Obama's Democratic administration with cause for optimism.

Congress is considering the Employee Free Choice Act — also called card check — that would give workers the option of forming a union by simply signing a card or petition instead of holding secret ballot elections. Labor officials see the bill as a way to rebuild dwindling membership; one in eight workers today is a member of a union, down from about one in five 25 years ago.

Business groups vehemently oppose the legislation and claim passage of the card check bill will put many of their members out of business.

Obama during the campaign pledged to support the measure if — and it's a big if — it makes its way to his desk.

Obama's decision to do back-to-back events that were high on labor's priorities signal that Obama is not ignoring their concerns. It's also the latest move in which Obama has broken with his predecessor.

Many executive orders are enacted and repealed based on which party controls the White House. For instance, one of the rules Obama planned to repeal on Friday was approved by President George. H.W. Bush, removed by President Bill Clinton removed it and reinstated by the second President Bush.


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  • by OK Location: NC on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:46 AM
    Debbie, NC is a good example of why we need unions. We are afraid of losing businesses so we don't have unions. People continue to be paid low wages and have their income subsidized by government programs. I wonder how many people could get off Medicaid and the Food Assistance programs if they were paid fair wages. Since we are so afraid of big business, my tax dollars continue to support the dependent.
  • by william Location: rocky mount on Jan 30, 2009 at 08:43 PM
    We already get most of our products from China or some other country you can't pronounce. Even the gov't gets money from them. This isn't just starting with Obama, it's been spiraling faster and faster for a long time. Only divine intervention can help us now. Or i guess you guys think a Republican will look out for hard working wage earners. Unions don't help our productivity or economy but neither do greedy corporate fat cats who continue to laugh while they dole out bailout money amongst themselves. It's going to be a brutal crash when we hit bottom.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Jan 30, 2009 at 06:22 PM
    Is the White House unionised? Just a thought.
  • by Debbie Location: NC on Jan 30, 2009 at 04:05 PM
    Come on Dem Libs where are all your comments. Explain to me why we need more Unions?
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Jan 30, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    Obama(to unions), heres your pay back for you support, more to follow, thanks unions.
  • by WOLFGANG Location: CHOCOWINITY,NC on Jan 30, 2009 at 03:17 PM
    Is Obama really out for the good of America and it's people? Is he out to destroy us from within? More Unions more inflation. Companies going overseeas. Loss of American jobs. He is a Madman.
  • by Lynne Location: Ayden on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM
    Is this about worker's rights or the LABOR UNIONS getting more members (or should I say dues)? IF workers actually want a union that is one thing, however, this sounds more like the UNIONS want more unions and the democrats are obliging. Though, what protections are there for those workers who don't want to be part of a union?
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jan 30, 2009 at 06:29 AM
    Wellcome to USSA comrads. Unions? We will all be buying everything from China now. If you think the number is high now, just wait. BAAAAAHHH, and you voted for this guy. By the way, the employement security commission will wellcome you with open arms.
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