Tag: labor issues

An Executive Order to Stop Union Busting?

Posted earlier at both Progressive Blue and DailyKos.

The headline on this video page that has a transcript is White House could use power of federal contracting to enforce labor laws, but has no plans to do so. The Executive Order in question that would force large corporations into behaving responsibly toward workers is about laws that already exist but are not enforced, about an executive order that was signed by President Bill Clinton and then squashed by George W. Bush.

ELK: So there are currently laws on the book that say that if a company breaks the law, they can be debarred from bidding on federal contracts, meaning they can’t get federal contracts. It’s currently in this country illegal to fire a worker from their job for joining a union, but 20,000 workers a year are either fired or disciplined for trying to join a union, both of which are illegal. One-third of all, you know, union organizing drives, somebody gets fired from their job. Over 130,000 companies are federal contractors. All the big companies get some type of federal contract. If you say–if you enforce these laws, these laws about how to debar companies, these companies wouldn’t get contracts anymore.

It is the type of executive order that could get Union workers back in the mood for volunteering and getting active in supporting all the other Democrats who will be running in 2012.  

The interview came after Tuesday May 10 when Mike Elk wrote Obama Has Power to Stop Unionbusting With a Stroke of His Pen  

In the last part of the Clinton administration, when Podesta was White House Chief of Staff, the government issued executive orders to implement “high road” contracting practices that would have enforced laws on the books barring companies that broke labor, safety, and environmental laws from receiving federal contracts. President Bill Clinton’s “contractor responsibility rule” would have created guidelines, a centralized database and data standards to prevent bad actor corporations from receiving government contracts. (The George W. Bush administration ended up blocking implementation of the orders.)

But just a few days later and the enthusiasm seems to be already gone. How can you support such an executive order?

No Vacation Nation

All work and no play makes America a dull country. For some today, the Fourth of July and Labor Day will have to serve as their summer vacation, three days off. Besides honoring the more than one million Americans killed in battle and the people who serve today, Memorial Day also marks the unofficial first weekend of summer. For many a season no different from the rest, one survey shows only 10% of us will take a full two weeks off.

CBS Sunday Morning opened yesterday with the facts, nine vacation days per year for the average American. It was another of those “of the thirty-three richest nations” stats that the U.S.A. comes out on the wrong side of. The U.S. is the only developed nation with no legally required vacation for its workers. Why is America the only industrialized nation that thinks of vacation as a perk, not a right?

For many Americans waiting for an unemployment extension from Congress time off is not an issue but for some who are worried a little getaway might mean the person in the next cubicle getting ahead there’s an app for that, good government. Allen Grayson made the segment talking about creating a law here and claimed “Sixty-nine percent of middle class Americans say that their number one desire in life is more free time.”