Present Obama recently unilaterally issued an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour for employees working for companies with federal contracts. Rather than be grateful for the wage increase, the workers went on strike to demand collective bargaining rights in addition to the raise. A representative of the labor federation Change to Win that organized the strikes has said:
Let’s be real, $10.10 is not enough to address income inequality, and it’s certainly not enough to help working women achieve the American dream. Federal contract workers need living wages, health care benefits, sick days, paid time off, and flexible schedules. Ultimately, these workers need a union. They need the ability to bargain collectively so they don’t have to keep striking to get heard.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said he plans to urge Obama to issue an executive order to secure union rights, improve wages and benefits, wage theft enforcement, and curbed CEO pay as a basis for government contracts. While I doubt Obama will pen such an order, it does call into question whether in fact he has the power to do so; I don’t think he does.