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President Barack Obama visits a pre-kindergarten classroom at the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Ga., Feb. 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
When it comes to policies for working parents, the United States is pretty much the worst. President Obama can't do much about that without Congress being willing to pass laws to bring the United States on par with any other developed nation, but the White House is holding a summit on working families Monday to discuss the issue:
The White House Summit on Working Families will be a broad discussion among policymakers, employers and working parents about ways to implement family friendly work policies, but Obama will also use the event to urge lawmakers to pass a few specific legislative proposals pending in Congress. The FAMILY Act would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year to qualifying workers for an illness, the serious illness of an immediate family member, or the birth or adoption of a child, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require employers to make certain accommodations for pregnant women that allow them to keep their jobs.

"This should be a nonpartisan issue, because it affects every woman in the country who has been pregnant," Valerie Jarrett, Obama's top adviser, told reporters on a conference call Sunday. "So far we haven't seen any interest from Republicans in the House or Senate for supporting the legislation."

Obama is also announcing some of his administration's efforts on working families issues despite congressional Republicans blocking even the most modest and obvious legislation. These efforts include:
Taking Executive Action to Expand Workplace Flexibility. The President will issue a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to implement existing efforts to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent. In support of this goal, this executive action will direct agencies to review their workplace flexibilities and programs and report back any best practices and barriers to their use. In addition, the memorandum will make clear that Federal workers have the “right to request” a flexible work arrangement without fear of retaliation, and will direct agencies to establish procedures for addressing these requests by employees. [...]

Empowering Pregnant Workers with Better Information About Their Rights. At the President’s direction, DOL will release a new online map that will be a one-stop shop where working families can learn about the rights of pregnant workers in each state. The map will also allow families to see which states are leading the charge in protecting their rights and which are lagging behind. [...]

Supporting the Creation of State Paid Leave Programs. DOL is targeting funds for Paid Leave Analysis Grants to fund up to five states to conduct research and feasibility studies that could support the development or implementation of state paid leave programs.

None of this will be enough to bring the U.S. up to the most minimal standards that hold in other countries, but as always, small progress is better than none and you don't move toward passing more significant chance without organizing for it and making it clear to voters that Democrats stand for fair pay and against pregnancy discrimination while Republicans block remedies on those and so many other policies intended to help working families.

7:15 AM PT: "Family leave, childcare, flexibility and a decent wage aren't frills. They're basic needs. They shouldn't be bonuses -- they should be the bottom line," Obama writes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We're the best third world country in the world (5+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:20:00 AM PDT

  •  At the same time Republicans will unveil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    their version of a "plan"

    "Put a crib in your home office for a tax deduction"
    "No overtime, but 'flex pay' is even better"
    "Toothless paycheck fairness--no punitive damages for you"

    And on and on.

    All cosmetic in nature, all designed to make Democrats "look bad" if they vote against it, because all their ads will say "Democrats are against working families"

    Also designed to pass the House and be reconciled with a bill that passes the Senate (maybe)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:23:16 AM PDT

  •  Reading the headline I somehow saw "Bag Lady" (3+ / 0-)

    instead of  "Lag Badly." Thing is, it made just as much sense, maybe more. The U.S. is continuing to bag lady.

    I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

    by rasbobbo on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:48:24 AM PDT

  •  You get what you vote for. (2+ / 0-)
  •  That Obama guy is ok by me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, askew

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:55:12 AM PDT

  •  I'm Still Flabbergasted Over the Unmitigated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, ladywithafan

    audacity of Fortune 500 corporations' UNPaid Internships --

    slavery paid better.

    (How many young people from low income backgrounds can afford to work at their own expense (negative income)
    for a highly profitable, large, international megacorporation for 6 months to several years?!)

    •  If they are paid they go to the kids of the (3+ / 0-)

      corporate management or to their kids friends.

    •  Teachers have to do this too. Student (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      teachers are unpaid, usually for a semester but sometimes a whole year.  Some states require this time before you are allowed a certificate.  When I did it, we were also required to provide all supplies for each lesson we did with the students.   We were not promised a contract at the end or even an interview.  We were allowed one sick day per semester and if you needed more, even in an emergency, you had to repeat the entire semester.  We also had to pay to be evaluated by field instructors, it was additional to our tuition.  

      With that said, my student teaching experience taught me more than I ever learned in my classes and I was fortunate enough to be hired as soon as it was over by that same district. Had I not had the placement as a student teacher, I would have been one of who knows how many others competing for the lone class available that year on that campus. Those who go through the student teaching process and make a great impression will generally be remembered and that is very important as it has now become very competitive, way more so than when I started.  I also met some who learned during their student teaching that education was not the career for them and were able to quickly switch to another major before graduating and finding out later that they had made a huge mistake.

      I agree that it is very difficult to complete any type of unpaid internships.  I can't even remember how tired I was the whole time, working both night and day and trying to complete my studies to graduate, but in the end so worth it.

  •  Complete and utter b.s. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa
    The President will issue a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to implement existing efforts to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent.
    In other words, we know you aren't doing what we told you to do last time, we don't expect you to do it now, but this will get me some PR.  Carry on as usual.

    I was still working for the federal government last time he announced something like this.  All it does is get employees thinking they are getting something they aren't getting, makes the lives of first level supervisors miserable because they have to deny every request, and the Directors carry on as usual implementing nothing because they need the flexibility to take Friday off and it would cause them some extra work to deal with this.

    Obama is no different from Bush in this respect and darned if it wouldn't be a thankless job if he tried but he changes NOTHING at the facility level.  

  •  Is she being disingenuous ? (0+ / 0-)
    "This should be a nonpartisan issue, because it affects every woman in the country who has been pregnant,"
    As soon as she uttered the word woman the Repubs were against it.

    Hey GOP! You'll get my Obamacare when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. And thanks to Obamacare, that just may be awhile.

    by jazzmaniac on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:18:59 AM PDT

  •  The President with children. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't ever recall seeing any President as comfortable and playful with children as this President is. I love seeing pictures of Obama with children. Many are truly classic like the one in this diary. The one with him bending over so a little boy can touch his hair is a great one as well, but I think this one has to be my favorite.

  •  Worse than China? Worse than India? Worse than (0+ / 0-)

    Brazil?  Worse than Singapore?  Worse than Russia?

    It's one thing to be bad, but being the world's worst takes some doing.  Are we really that bad?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:27:00 AM PDT

  •  When will this bloody country recognize that (0+ / 0-)

    if middle-class people don't have children there will be no one to buy all those cars, computers, and houses 30 years from now? Isn't it a fact that consumer spending constitutes 70 percent of our economy? If employers don't become family-friendly, fewer people or perhaps no people will elect to become parents.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:31:48 AM PDT

  •  Well, there's this traditional (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty

    belief, alive in many RW circles, that a woman's place is in the home. In enacting gender-neutral family leave policies, you're basically flying in the face of that, so of course there's resistance.

    In general, the RW likes traditional gender roles. Boy, oh, boy, does it hate "gender confusion"...

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:34:27 AM PDT

  •  I think more ought to be said about workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in general and not only those workers who are in family unit.  We need guaranteed sick leave for all workers.  Guaranteed vacation time, at least a week, for all full time employees.  

  •  The greatest thing about the photo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    isn't the President peering through a magnifier to look at the girl. It's the boy next to him, squinting through a magnifier to see what it does - totally oblivious to the President of the United States at his elbow.

    Isn't a mandatory assignment to write an essay about "Free Will" just plain wrong?

    by weatherbigot on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

  •  I thought "lag badly" said "bag lady" (0+ / 0-)

    Not too far off.

    "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." George Washington, 1796

    by djny10003 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:44:53 PM PDT

  •  This is a distraction (0+ / 0-)

    From the real issues of declining median wages and the refusal of the right wing to raise the Minimum Wage;  Yes, these initiatives help support our middle class, but the ever growing pressure on the working class is not affected.

    In the dark shadow of the Great Satan of Retail

    by OzarkOrc on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 02:24:43 PM PDT

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