NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

New Executive Order: Will It Apply to Unions?

August 13, 2014

Just recently, President Obama signed a new order, the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order," which requires federal contractors to disclose any labor law violations. Director of Economics 21 Diana Furchtgott-Roth asks whether the new order will apply to unions.

The order covers 14 labor laws, from the Family and Medical Leave Act to the Occupational Safety and Health Act and, significantly, the National Labor Relations Act. Under the Executive Order, in order to receive a government contract, all federal contractors must report any labor law violations over the last three years to the government.

Armed with that information, Labor Compliance Advisors -- appointed by each government agency -- will decide whether the contractors have shown a "lack of integrity or business ethics."

Specifically, the order reads: "This order seeks to increase efficiency and cost savings in the work performed by parties who contract with the Federal Government by ensuring that they understand and comply with labor laws." Unions, Furchtgott-Roth says, are "parties who contract with the Federal Government," and unions are capable of labor law violations. The following are listed as violations under the National Labor Relations Act:

  • Coercive conduct by union officials;
  • Threatening a person's job status based on his failure to support union activity;
  • Race discrimination or sex discrimination.

Furchtgott-Roth writes that unions saw 6,000 labor law violation charges in 2010; if the administration is concerned about workplace fairness, these charges, she says, should be taken seriously.  In reality, according to Furchtgott-Roth, the order is "entirely about rewarding friends and punishing enemies," not about workplace fairness.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Watch Closely Obama's Treatment of Unions," Real Clear Markets, August 12, 2014.


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