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Obama and Biden Welcome Labor Unions Back to White House

This morning President Obama signed three executive orders intended to "reverse many of the policies towards organized labor that we’ve seen these last eight years, policies with which I’ve sharply disagreed.” The president maintained that a strong labor union is key to America's economic recovery.

The orders make it harder for federal contractors to discourage union activity, require federal contractors to inform employees of their rights, and ensure that qualified workers already on the job keep their positions when contracts change hands.

While hosting labor leaders at the White House ceremony, Obama and Vice President Biden also discussed the first meeting held by the administrations special task force set up to discuss middle class issues, like healthcare and education. The middle class task force has its own website, where the public is invited to discuss the issues and government action.

Do you agree that labor is part of the solution, and not part of the problem?


lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Sorry, I worded that poorly. I should have asked why we have to trust either one.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
What does one have to do with the other?
stephley stephley 8 years
But CEOs, politicians and bankers have shown themselves to be totally upright people and should be trusted?
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I'm generally against unions. I've seen unions push a company under and I think most union leaders are way to greedy to be trusted to do what is right.
lildorothyparker lildorothyparker 8 years
Oh I fully agree with you that unions continue to be relevant. I do, however, believe that in many cases (such as Chrysler/GM) there needs to be union reform.
hope2be hope2be 8 years
I agree lil, but the generalization that all union companies are failures (or ok, the auto ones) and all non-union auto companies are successful is not accurate. And for some reasons, I feel odd every time someone says that non-union workers are happier, if that's based on her own experience, so be it, but putting everyone in that category, I have to disagree. I think GM, Chrysler, and co. have had union for awhile anyway, but Bad MANAGEMENT mixed with recession may play bigger part in their failures. I agree with you that general global economy is bad so sales is down and it'll affect EVERYONE (union or non-union companies).
lildorothyparker lildorothyparker 8 years
Hope - Ford didn't take any of the bail out money because it began restructuring plans several years ago. My understanding is that they have been selling off non-essential brands and focusing on implementing better designs . I think the Honda/Toyota situation is more a reflection in the general economic state rather than the bad management we see in Chrysler and GM.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
If you were fired for no reason except that your boss didn't like you and you didn't have a union you would have to file a lawsuit and go through all that and you could still lose. If you had a union you would never get fired in the first place unless your boss had a good reason. A few years ago my dad called out sick from work and the company, even though it had to pay him for the sick day refused and on top of that they suspended him for another day because after he took 1 sick day in 8 yrs they thought he was lying. But the union stepped in and got him compensated for both days. Imagine having to go through a lawsuit for that!
I blame greedy executives, not union workers. I'm sorry, but when you say that union workers are making too much money (which happens to be a little more than a living wage in most cases), but nothing of executives giving themselves BILLIONS in bonuses, there is something wrong. My brother was recently "fired" from his job for something that he's been instructed to do by supervisors, of which he had previously brought it up as a safety hazard, but told to continue. The super was immediately fired for taking the wrong course of action, as the most it should have warranted was a write-up. Obviously, when you have been working for someplace for 7 years, you are rightfully making more than entry level employees. So, he was undoubtedly fired due to his seniority and loyalty to the company. Luckily, he's a Teamster. So, rather than freak out that he was just fired, he has his faith in the Teamsters to get him his job back (the guy has a 100% success rate). Companies fire hard working people all the time, and my brother was definately one of them. Bank of America posted 4Q losses of $18B, but gave out $15B in executive bonuses in September. Now, they are firing people in every position, due to the greed of their executives. Is it really appropriate to blame unions when all of these executives are destroying their companies by paying themselves? Gotta love th greed!
hope2be hope2be 8 years
I have to disagree with janneth that auto companies that are non-union are succeeding (or more successful) because for example, Nissan Motor Co. has asked the Japanese government to help out with their company since they're hitting the lowest sales in 23 years (by the end of 2008). Honda Motor Co. lowered its annual profit forecasts for a fourth time this year, while rival Toyota Motor Corp.'s losses are growing as sliding global car sales force the industry to cut production further. Ford Motor is union-company but it hasn't fallen (well, not as quick as the Big 3 asking for the bail-out) or asked for a bail out. I'm assuming it's because Ford may have better management than the other 3 (but I've not looked into that). The Big 3 auto makers-management might have gotten their sales projection wrong therefore they overproduced. But don't hold me on that, that's just an opinion. Of course, I still have to research more about the reasonS why they fell. As for the foreign cars being better made, it may be so (people have different opinion, and to each his own). But there's no proof that their workers are happier, right now, many are worried (even these non-union auto workers) of losing their jobs, especially since they've been cutting production.
janneth janneth 8 years
Auto companies that are union are failing. Auto companies that are non union are succeeding. And their workers are happier. And their cars are better made.
hope2be hope2be 8 years
I may not like paying my union dues (so does my fiancee LOL), but seriously, I've known people who do crappy jobs in our company (who are part of the union) and still get fired for them. I haven't had experience with unqualified/horrible worker being able to continue working just because they're part of the union. I guess each union's experience is different, and believe it or not, there are substandard non-union workers too! The union has its good uses and purposes, and like every organization, they have their con points as well. Both my fiancee and I are fine being part of the teamsters. So far, so good. We actually DON'T MAKE LOTS of money at all, it irks me that people blame union WORKERS due to our supposedly hiked up 'pay,' our wages just enough to live decently and if you're 'newer' worker like myself, heck, it's barely. But thank goodness we're not exactly without. In the past both me and fiancee have worked for different companies, horrible coverage (or almost no coverage at all for me), the wage was real low as well (that's why we changed jobs). The good thing about union jobs that I found out is that at least, we're getting decent pay (perhaps 10% more than our last jobs or let's just stretch it to 20%) to be able to live...decent and have good health coverage.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
Hainan, I don't know that they are a BIG part of it, but I do agree they had something to do with it. For the auto manufacturers as an example. I think the Union wages they had to pay contributed a lot to their current situation. However, MORE of a contributor are the HUGE raises the CEO'S, CFO'S Presidents, etc all got. I don't know that they are needed as they are CURRENTLY run, but I think getting rid of them altogether is wholly a bad idea. We need unions for some things, like Teachers, Policemen, Firemen etc. to ensure they continue to be treated fairly and to help avoid strikes from those types of businesses. I think the system needs to be revamped, but I don't think scrapping the whole business is the best idea.
stephley stephley 8 years
How did unions contribute to the credit or mortgage crisis?
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
:oy: Labor Unions were aand are a big reason we are in this mess. Yes they served their purpose. but that was before the US began regulated every aspect of business. They are not needed any longer. I too have seen the ugly dirty tactics labor unions use and try to strong arm people into joining a labor union when they have already said no. SEIU has made dirty attempts here where I live, smearing good people and places to work. When it comes down to it, all they care about is their bottom line. They are no better than the execs that are getting all of these bonuses.
stephley stephley 8 years
I've been a member of four unions - I found three of them very responsive and helpful, one wasn't. While they may occasionally impede the firing of substandard employee, I have also seen them protect good employees from unequal pay, step in and correct unreasonable/unsafe work requirements, protect workers from reprisals from management and personal vendettas.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
I only worked as part of a union when I worked for Safeway in high school (They even made us Deli Clerks join the dang union!) and as a minimum wage worker, I didn't like that I HAD to join. I had no choice, If I wanted to work there I had to join the union. Every month they took dues out. I was a part time employee, making very little and to lose a lot of that to dues when I was only going to leave the company when school started up again was utterly ridiculous! I think I'm jaded against unions because of it.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
"one downside of them is that it impedes the ability of a company to get rid of a sub-standard employee." I agree, no company should be forced to accept a substandard employee. But you see this is an issue that can be addressed by both sides to make Labor Unions work better for everyone involved. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water, just drain the dirt and start fresh.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Anything to increase the burden on small business.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Labor unions make me uncomfortable. I live in an area that is largely non-union. Majority of the companies around here would be hurt if they went union. I've seen how they try to recruit here and it isn't always pretty or truthful. I know in some places unions are in place to be helpful and that they can help. But as hypnotic said, unions are a double edged sword. I'm afraid when Obama reverses the current policies, the unions will come in to my area specifically and ruin a good thing.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Wow, Obama's doing more in his first two weeks than Bush did in eight years. Labor unions are good because they ensure worker's rights. It's not like us down on the bottom rung of the company ladder have any power except in our numbers. We don't have money or influence, we have to make sure we're being treated right some way.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I should have said labor unions as they exist today.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Labor Unions are part of the problem. Obviously a situation as complex as the one we're facing has more than one cause.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
I think I have to agree with Hypnotic on this one. Also adding on the "con-union" side too that one downside of them is that it impedes the ability of a company to get rid of a sub-standard employee.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Wal-Mart's going to loooove this.
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