From: Eilperin, Juliet [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 12:34 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.
Subject: In-town pool report #1: Signing of a presidential memorandum of disapproval & announcement of WH summit on workers' rights in the fall
First off, this is an Iran-free pool report, since the president did not respond to questions about the status of the Iran nuclear talks. Instead, he spoke for a few minutes about why he was vetoeing a congressional resolution that would have overturned a National Labor Relations Board rule accelerating the timeline for union elections.
The pool was ushered in at 11:59 am. Obama made these remarks while seated at his desk in the Oval Office. As always, please check any quotes against the transcript.
“I am about to sign a memorandum of disapproval. A while back the National Labor Relations Board, NLRB, put forth some common-sense.. standards to streamline the voting process for folks who wanted to join a union. And unfortunately the Republican Senate decided to subsequently put forward a proposal to reverse those changes. I think that’s a bad idea.”
“One of the freedoms of folks who live in the United States is if they choose to join a union they should be able to do so. We shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen.”
“So not only will I be signing this memorandum of disapproval, I also want to announce that in the fall we’re going to host a summit on increasing the voice and the rights of workers here in the United States. We’ve had a terrific economic recovery, and we’ve got more work to do.”
“We’ve got record corporate profits. Folks at the very top are doing very well. Middle class families and folks trying to work their way into the middle class still have some real difficulties and part of what we want to do is make sure that we give workers the capacity to have their voices heard, to have some influence in the workplace, to make sure they’re partners in building up the U.S. economy and to make sure growth is broad-based.”
The president signed the memorandum and declined to answer questions about Iran, saying instead. “This is really interesting stuff.”
As the pool was escorted out at 12:03 pm, he encouraged reporters to enjoy the spring weather, adding “I want to see those cherry blossoms!”
See below for additional background on the memorandum and summit from the White House:
Background from the White House:
The President is committed to strengthening the middle-class and helping to ensure that all Americans can contribute to and benefit from our resurgence. He believes that Washington should be working to support, not undermine, middle-class Americans. That’s why, today in the Oval Office, the President announced his veto of a Congressional resolution that would undo modest, common-sense reforms announced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to streamline the process leading up to elections in which workers can vote to form, or not form, a union. The NLRB rules will help reduce unnecessary delays – such as by allowing the electronic filing and transmission of documents, ensuring all parties receive timely information necessary to participate in the election process, unifying procedures throughout the country, and consolidating appeals to the NLRB into a single process. The President believes that at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high workers should be able to organize for higher wages and better conditions if they choose.
To continue his efforts to support working Americans and strengthen the middle class, this fall the President will call union leaders, workers, worker advocates, and forward-thinking businesses to the White House for a summit to discuss expanding American workers’ voices in the workplace and in the economy. At a time when workers are under attack in too many states and in Congress, the President is determined to find ways for workers to have more of a say – not less – to restore the link between hard work and opportunity.
Additional Background on the Summit on Worker Voice:
· The Summit will highlight the economic case for strengthening Americans’ voices in the workplace and demonstrate the longstanding relationship between worker voice and a thriving middle class, including higher wages, productivity, and lower levels of income inequality.
· This Summit will shine a light on some of the challenges faced by workers in today’s workplaces and just as importantly highlight their successes. It will also recognize the progress that many employers are making and put forward concrete ideas and build momentum around action for addressing these difficult issues.
White House Bureau Chief