President Obama Pressed to Issue "Model Employer" Executive Order

September 30, 2016

Foreshadowing the next requirement for federal contractors likely to be imposed by a Democratic administration, unions and congressional Democrats are calling on President Obama to issue a "model employer" executive order after the election that would mandate, among other things, that federal contractors affirm workers' right to unionize in return for a no-strike pledge.  According to Joseph Geevarghese, Deputy Director at Change to Win, at this moment where "it's unlikely that Congress is going to flip, probably the only way that unions will be able to grow in the next four to eight years is through executive action."  The model employer executive order (EO) also would require federal agencies to give contracting preference to businesses that pay workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour and provide health benefits, full-time hours, and stable work schedules.  Although an administration official downplayed the possibility of a new EO post-election, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has reportedly said it remains in play.  The final version of the 2016 Democratic National Convention platform explicitly supports a model employer EO.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also called on the next administration to ban the use of non-competes in federal contracts, and to require federal contractors to provide their employees with some certainty and predictability around their work schedules.