On Friday, January 30, 2008, President Obama signed three executive orders impacting federal contractors. The first executive order repealed President George W. Bush's executive order 13201, which required, among other things, the posting of a "Beck Rights" notice alerting workers to the fact that they did not have to join a union to keep their jobs. The executive order on posting notices of rights not only undoes Bush's Beck notice requirement, but goes further to require a new notice be posted informing workers of their rights under federal labor laws.
The second executive order signed by Obama on Friday requires federal contractors to first offer jobs to qualified employees of their predecessor when assuming or taking over an existing contract. This provision revives a former Clinton era policy reversed by former President Bush.
The third, and most unexpected executive order, prohibits federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses related to efforts influencing union activity or organization. Under this order, costs associated with hiring legal counsel or consultants, holding meetings, or other activities will not be reimbursed under the federal contract if those activities are done with the intent to discourage or encourage employees to exercise their rights to organize.
As is always the case with a new administration, additional developments impacting federal contractors are expected in the coming weeks and months and we will continue to keep you posted in the future.