The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

“You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.”

In Economics, Legislation Today on January 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm

President Obama made the above statement today as he signed a series of executive orders in the White House that are meant to “level the playing field” for labor unions.

According to the New York Times report of the meeting:

The orders he signed, which union officials say will undo Bush administration policies that tilted toward employers, would require federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change, and would make it more difficult for federal contractors to discourage union activities.

The president also announced a new task force on the problems of middle-class Americans, and he named Vice President Joe Biden to chair it. Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist, has been tapped to lead the task force. More information can be found at AStrongMiddleClass.gov.

President Obama and VP Biden at White House ceremony (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

President Obama and VP Biden at White House ceremony (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

More from the Times:

The president and vice president did not define the “middle class” precisely in terms of income or standard of living, but it seemed clear that they were not speaking of Wall Street people.

“These are the men and the women who form the backbone of our economy, the most productive workers in the world,” Mr. Obama said.

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