Category Archives: Jobs

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility

Posted by: Audiegrl

Small Business Owners, Workers, Business and Labor Leaders, and Experts Join Administration Officials to Discuss Workplace Practices for a Changing American Workforce

President Barack Obama addresses the closing session of the Forum for Workplace Flexibility in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building March 31, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Obama Administration held the forum to discuss workplace practices that allow working class to meet their jobs demands without sacrificing the needs of their families. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Today, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House Council on Women and Girls are hosting the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility to discuss the importance of creating workplace practices that allow America’s working men and women to meet the demands of their jobs without sacrificing the needs of their families.

Small business owners, business leaders, policy experts, workers and labor leaders are joining with senior administration officials today to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for American workers and families. The opening and closing sessions, as well as five breakout sessions focused on best practices and benefits for the American workplace and workforce, are streaming live on www.WhiteHouse.gov/live. In addition, much of the event is streaming on Facebook and Ustream, and the White House will include comments taken through these social networks in the feedback collected through the forum.

In conjunction with the forum, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers is releasing a report presenting an economic perspective on flexible workplace policies and practices. The report documents some of the changes in the U.S. workforce which have increased the need for flexibility in the workplace, including the increased number of women entering the labor force, the prevalence of families where all adults work, increasing eldercare responsibilities, and the rising importance of continuing education. It then examines the current state of flexible work arrangements and discusses the economic benefits of workplace flexibility – such as reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, improved health of workers, and increased productivity. The analysis is available online here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/100331-cea-economics-workplace-flexibility.pdf.

“Workplace flexibility isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s an issue that affects the well-being of our families and the success of our businesses,” said President Obama. “It affects the strength of our economy – whether we’ll create the workplaces and jobs of the future that we need to compete in today’s global economy.”

“Flexible policies actually make employees more – not less – productive,” said Mrs. Obama. “Instead of spending time worrying about what’s happening at home, employees have the support and the peace of mind they need to concentrate at work which is good for their families – and the bottom line.”
The Office of Personnel Management is also announcing a pilot program to incorporate flexibility in the government to provide better, more efficient service for the American people – even in the face of snow storms and other emergencies. The pilot program will build on the cost savings telework provided during last winter’s snow storms and expand opportunities for federal employees, here in Washington and across America, to telework on a regular basis.

“Employers, including the federal government, will have to implement flexible work policies if they want to attract the best and the brightest,” said Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. ” The President is committed to making sure that the federal government can compete for talent because he knows that good people produce better work, which in turn, leads to better service for the American people.”

Shortly after taking office, the President signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is delivering relief to working families across the country, including tax credits and child care assistance for working families.

The President’s Budget for FY2011 builds on those initiatives with a series of investments to support caregivers for elderly relatives or family members with disabilities, to help families afford the cost of quality child care, to aid states wishing to establish paid leave funds, and to build the knowledge base about work-family policies.

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the importance of creating workplaces that allow workers to balance job and family as she opens the Forum of Workplace Flexibility. A panel discussion follows the First Lady’s remarks.

Read the Transcript

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Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, Jobs, Labor, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

President Obama Signs the HIRE Act Jobs Bill

Posted by: Audiegrl

Surrounded by members of Congress, President Barack Obama signs the Hire Act during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House on March 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. The HIRE Act will offer a payroll tax break for businesses that hire unemployed workers and will offer businesses an income tax credit of $1,000 for retaining these employees. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

USAToday~Acknowledging that government alone can’t solve the nation’s job crisis, President Obama just signed a new $18 billion jobs bill designed to spur hiring by giving tax breaks to small businesses. The bill also includes $20 billion for highway and transit programs.

While this jobs bill is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough,” Obama said during a sunny Rose Garden bill signing ceremony. “There is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about a full economic recovery; from helping creditworthy small businesses get the loans they need to expand, to offering incentives to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, to investing in infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work America needs done.”

Obama also urged lawmakers to consider a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that the health-care legislation will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion in the first decade and $1.2 trillion in the next. He said it represented the “most significant effort to reduce the deficit” since the Balanced Budget Act.

I urge every member of Congress to consider this as they prepare for their very important vote this weekend,” Obama said.

More @ USA Today

Full Remarks by President Obama

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Would You Move 1000 Miles For Your Job?

Posted by: BuellBoy

CNN~What would you do if your company closed its doors, but offered you the same job 1000 miles away?

In December 2008, in the depths of the recession, GM worker Steve Kerl faced that same question. Just 8 years from retirement, his GM assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin was shut down. 1,933 workers were out of work.

“What are we going to do?” was Kerl’s first reaction. “Are we going to have our health care? How are we going to come out? We didn’t even know if you were going to have a job.”

Most of the Janesville plant workers took buyouts. But 545 of them were fortunate enough to be offered jobs at other GM plants. The catch? The plants are hundreds of miles from Wisconsin.

What would you do?

Kerl took a job putting fenders on GM SUV’s in Arlington, Texas. It’s hard work. At the end of his 10-hour shifts he goes back to bunk with two other GM workers in a three-bedroom apartment near the plant. Home is 1000 miles away.

Kerl’s wife and two teenage kids remain behind in Janesville. The Kerls didn’t want to take the kids out of school. And they couldn’t face the prospect of selling their house anyway with real estate prices plummeting.

The Kerl family, along with many others who worked at GM in Janesville, is yet another side of the recession. Families physically separated by economic circumstances beyond their control. The sacrifice is palpable.

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President Obama’s White House to Main Street Tour: Savannah, Georgia

Posted by: Audiegrl

Helping Homeowners Invest in Energy-Efficient Homes

President Barack Obama speaks at Savannah Technical College in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama speaks at Savannah Technical College in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Earlier today, after touring Savannah Tech, President Obama announced the initiatives for HOMESTAR, a program that offers incentives for people to make their homes more energy-efficient.

The President explained that the new program will save families several hundred of dollars on utilities, make the economy less dependent on fossil fuels, create work for small businesses and contractors, and bring back construction jobs.

Here’s one of the best things about energy efficiency – it turns out that energy-efficient windows or insulation, those things are products that are almost exclusively manufactured right here in the United States of America. It’s very hard to ship windows from China. So a lot of these materials are made right here in America.

Through the HOMESTAR Program, homeowners who make investments for energy-efficiency in their homes will be eligible to receive:

  • Direct rebates for energy-saving investments
  • 50 percent rebates for the cost of each upgrade up to $1500
  • Rebates up to $3000 for those who choose to retrofit their whole homes
  • Guaranteed quality installations through quality assurance providers who would conduct field audits after work is completed
  • Support for financing through State and local governments

President Obama explained that these short-term investments will lead to long-term savings for homeowners and consumers.

Just like a responsible homeowner will invest in their homes in the near term to fortify their economic security in the long term, we’ve got to do the same as a country. It will have some costs on the front end — you buy a new boiler, or you get some insulation, or you get some new windows, that’s going to have an initial cost, and the same is true from a government perspective. And it’s going to be politically difficult to do some of this, but it’s what’s right to plan for our future.
Vodpod videos no longer available.President Obama speaks with students in alternative energy programs at Savannah Technical College on today’s White House to Main Street tour. Vodpod videos no longer available.

President Barack Obama stops to greet workers as he tours the Chatham Steel Company in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Just before giving a speech in Savannah, GA, President Obama chats with building manufacturers and local contractors about the importance of retrofitting. Around the circle are Mark Andrews of Knauf Insulation, Michael Lawrence of Insulation Systems, Howard Feldman of Coastal Green Building Solutions, Patrick Shay of Green Sweep, and Larry Laseter of MASCO Home Services.
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President Barack Obama sits down for lunch with other customers during a stop at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room in Savannah, Ga. March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

During his “White House to Main Street” tour today in Savannah Georgia, President Obama made a surprise lunch stop. If there’s one thing better than meeting new folks on the road, it’s meeting new folks out on the road and having them cook you up some of the best food in the country. So it was when the President sat down with some of the regulars at the famous Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House restaurant in Savannah, Georgia today. They were polite enough to offer not to ask him any questions so he could relax, an offer he jokingly declined: “How often you gonna have lunch with the President? Might as well ask some questions.”

Please visit our friends at Obama Foodorama for details on the lunch menu and more info about this historic restaurant.

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Filed under Alternative Energy, Barack Obama, Change, Economy, Food, Georgia, Green, Green Energy, Green Jobs, Jobs, Pres. Barack Obama, Small Business, Students, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Not A Game by Senator John Kerry

Posted by: Betsm

Written by Senator John Kerry/Cross-posted from TPM

Senator John Kerry

Senator John Kerry

Too often, the way it’s played and the way it’s reported, Americans might think everything that happens in Washington is a game.

But look, this is anything but a game. The business before the Senate is literally life and death on many issues, and the parliamentary tricks to delay and obstruct the basic workings of our government have real-world consequences.

What am I talking about? Start with the latest example: one Senator’s effort to delay the votes on some critically-needed legislation for Americans out of work and hurting in our economy.

A lot of people today are clicking on this news story about Senator Bunning.

Political theater? Much more than that. Here’s what’s at stake: 2000 federal highway workers were furloughed this morning, losing the pay that their families depend on and halting work on critical national infrastructure. Nearly 1.2 million could lose their unemployment benefits without an extension of that program, pulling away a critical financial lifeline.

This has to end.

In the last Congress, the Republican minority more than doubled the previous record for filibusters, and they are on a pace to challenge or surpass that “accomplishment” this Congress as well. And filibusters are only the most obvious part of it. (TPM put together a great chart on filibusters which you can see here.)

On issue after issue, votes large and small, the strategy from the GOP at the highest levels has been the same: exploiting every Senate rule, playing every trick to try to slow things down. They put holds on bills that later pass by 90 votes, filibuster things they later vote for, block things they previously proposed. They used the filibuster to shoot down a debt commission that they themselves called on President Obama to implement! They block completely uncontroversial nominees and cause days of delays on the most critical of legislation. They even stalled on money for our troops last year, just to try to delay debate on health care reform.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are good Senators on both sides of the aisle. Last week, five Republican Senators (including Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and I don’t care about party label, I call it the way I see it – Scott cast the right vote for Massachusetts there) joined with Democrats to break a GOP filibuster to pass a jobs bill helping small businesses hire in this tough economy. Senator Lindsay Graham and I are working hard together to develop a bill on energy and global climate change.

But as long as the GOP leadership continues with the scorched-earth campaign, it will be tough to get done the things we know we need to do.

We need this to end. Debate big differences. Disagree. Use the filibuster when big matters of principle hang in the balance – and sometimes they do. But at the end of the day, Washington has to function – people are counting on it. When it comes to unemployment insurance for workers who have been laid-off through no fault of their own, stop playing games immediately, allow a vote, and then get to work trying to solve some problems, not playing tricks with the Senate rules. The framers invested the minority with rights to protect the Senate – not to destroy it.

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Filed under Economy, Jobs, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Sen. John Kerry, Senate, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s Impasse Puts 2000 Federal Employees Out Of Work Today

AP~Two thousand federal transportation workers were furloughed without pay on Monday, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that also expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans.

Bunning objected to the $10 billion measure, saying it would add to the budget deficit. He didn’t respond to a request Monday for comment.

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Filed under Jobs, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized, Unemployment

A Disappointing Return to Political Games with Severe Consequences for Those Who have Lost Their Jobs

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director
Cross-posted from WhiteHouse.gov

On Thursday, Democrats and Republicans came together in the House to pass an emergency bill that will temporarily extend benefits for American workers and small businesses. It showed that in times of great need, our elected officials can still set aside their differences to do right by the American people.

But just when we thought we were seeing progress, we have been confronted with a disappointing return to tactics that could be harmful to the American people, with Senator Bunning (R-KY) blocking the extension of several critical priorities for middle-class families. If Senator Bunning gets his way, hundreds of thousands of people could be ineligible for COBRA tax credits for health coverage created by the Recovery Act; 400,000 individuals who cannot find work will lose their unemployment insurance; thousands of small businesses will lose access to credit; transportation projects and public safety programs across the country would be halted; critical transportation safety personnel will be furloughed at a time of increased concern about the safety of our roads and highways; and 600,000 doctors across the country who care for our seniors and veterans could be subject to a 20 % pay cut, including 8,105 in Senator Bunning’s home state of Kentucky.

Make no mistake about it: this bill is too important to fall prey to the political games of one person. If Senator Bunning succeeds, it would have a devastating effect on millions of people as early as Monday.

There’s nothing wrong with someone taking a principled stand for something they believe in, but Senator Bunning voted to extend these same benefits in 2008. Over the past decade, unemployment insurance extensions have been passed as emergency measures under Republican and Democratic Congresses alike. So what we’re seeing right now is politics at its worst. It’s a perfect example of why so many Americans are fed up with Washington.

We need to think about how our actions will impact the American people, because they sent us here to work for them. We need to put an end to the gamesmanship, and do whatever is in our power to put Americans back to work. They expect and deserve nothing less of us.

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Filed under Economy, Jobs, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized