NYT: Obama to Host Workers’ Voice Summit at White House

October 07, 2015


President Obama has had a sometimes rocky relationship with unions — and the workers they represent. Just this week, union leaders expressed displeasure at the administration’s concluding of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that unions fear will be bad for workers.

[Reposted from The New York Times  |  Michael Shear  |  October 7, 2015]

But that has not stopped Mr. Obama from wooing workers. On Wednesday, the White House will host the “Summit on Worker Voice,” an effort to give unions, organizers and some businesses a platform to discuss wages and other issues.

“It’s in the numbers,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, writes in an email Wednesday morning. “Firms with unionized workers have higher retention and higher productivity.”

Mr. Obama has won praise from some unions for enacting overtime rules, expanding access to paid leave, helping to enact an equal pay act for women and pushing — so far unsuccessfully in Congress — for an increase in the minimum wage.

The Worker Voice summit meeting will be going on all day, starting with a breakfast in the East Wing. But the centerpiece of the day will be remarks by Mr. Obama, who aides said would “start a conversation with workers, employers, unions, organizers and other advocates and experts on how we can energize a new generation of Americans to come together and recognize the potential power of their voice at work.”

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