#SOTU and the #Workplace: A full debriefing of last night’s Presidential address

I had every intention of watching the President address the Nation last night. I really did.

But, then I got sucked into the Director’s Cut of The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the one where the Washington Generals show up first and replace all the confetti with lice. Then poor Lovie Howell takes some shrapnel and, frankly, I didn’t realize that Thurston could order a hit squad so quickly to a remote Island.

By the time I remembered the SOTU, the Harlem Globetrotters were busting out a ladder — sorry, Krusty — and que sera.

Fortunately for me, and, by extension, you, the White House printed a copy of the SOTU, which I could cut and paste expertly analyze for you after the jump…

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President Obama on paid sick leave: Noting that 43,000,000 American workers have no paid sick leave, President Obama declared that he’ll “be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.” Plus, if Congress send him a bill that “gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave,” he’ll sign it.

President Obama on equal pay for men and women: President Obama said that “Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.” While not mentioned by name, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which President Obama supports, would ban any difference in wages between men and women, except for “bona fide factors,” such as education, training, or experience. The Chamber of Commerce, among others, opposes the Act. The Chamber believes that the Paycheck Fairness Act would increase lawsuits and erode employer defenses.

President Obama on raising the minimum wage: In the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. After the SOTU. President Obama signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for the individuals working on new federal service contracts. The minimum wage for private-sector employees remains $7.25 (unless your state raised it). In this year’s address, the President did not specify a new minimum wage. Instead, he stated, “We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned. And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

President Obama on organized labor: Unions kinda got the back of the hand last night. President Obama had only this to say about ’em, “We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice.”

President Obama on hiring veterans: “We owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We’re slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we’re making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done, hire a veteran.”

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