President Obama Signs Executive Orders Reversing Bush Labor Policies

On January 30, 2009, President Obama signed three executive orders that will reverse former President George W. Bush’s labor policies. Under the new executive order “Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws” (E.O. 13496, to be published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2009), federal contractors will be required to post a new notice of workers’ rights with content determined by the Secretary of Labor under rulemaking to be initiated within 120 days of the effective date of the order. In addition, the new order repeals the executive order signed by former President George W. Bush (E.O. 13201 dated February 17, 2001), which required government contracts and subcontracts to include an employee notice clause (Beck Poster) requiring non-exempt federal contractors and subcontractors to post notices informing their employees that they have certain rights related to union membership and use of union dues and fees under federal law. Section 13 of the new order states that the “heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, revoke expeditiously any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies implementing or enforcing Executive Order 13201. President Obama also signed two other executive orders requiring successor federal contractors, and their subcontractors, to offer jobs to current workers when contractors change, and making unallowable certain costs associated with activities undertaken to influence workers deciding whether to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.

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