Obama's Executive Actions Have Raised Up Workers: Trump Has Vowed to Knock Them Back Down

These are concrete ways Obama bypassed Congress to make workers’ lives better. They're in jeopardy.

U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured during a news conference held with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany on April 24, 2016.
Photo Credit: Emmanuele Contini /

With Donald Trump having vowed to, on his very first day in office, repeal every executive order President Obama has signed, let’s take a look at some of what that means. Obviously, Obama’s immigration actions are on the chopping block. But Obama has also made a number of moves to make workers’ lives better, which we can also wave good-bye to. 

The orders apply to workers at companies with federal contracts—if a company wants federal money, it might have to live up to a slightly higher standard than otherwise. Obama signed a $10.10 minimum wage for federal contract workers. And an order against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And an expansion of equal pay protections. And paid sick leave. And a ban on labor law violators getting federal contracts—because, come on, if a company actually breaks the law, it really shouldn’t get federal money. These actions affect—or affected, or would have affected—hundreds of thousands of workers.

Additionally, a rule expanding overtime pay eligibility would give millions of workers either more pay or more time to live their lives.

These are concrete ways Obama bypassed Congress to make workers’ lives better. And they are concrete ways Donald Trump can act to make workers’ lives worse.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.


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