White House Summit to Promote "Worker Voice"

On October 7, 2015, the White House and the U.S. Department of Labor will host a "Summit on Worker Voice," an event intended to "ensure that working Americans are fully sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth that they are helping to create." The all-day event marketed for workers, employers, unions, organizers and other advocates will feature multiple panels on labor- and employment-related topics, including union organizing. President Obama will conclude the Summit with a town hall meeting to discuss the "Future of Worker Voice."

The Summit's pro-labor tone was evident in the press release announcing the event:

The labor movement has long served as a powerful force for ensuring that workers' voices are heard and, as a result, for growing and strengthening the middle class. As we work to continue to address economic inequality, and as we adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by our changing workforce, the Summit on Worker Voice will look to energize a new generation of Americans to come together and recognize the potential power of their voice at work. 

Both the Administration and the DOL have been heavily promoting the Summit. Members of organized labor are expected to attend in full force.  

The business community has expressed some skepticism regarding the White House's selection of a seemingly one-sided event, particularly in light of recent pro-labor decisions by the National Labor Relations Board and pro-employee regulations issued by the DOL. The Summit is viewed by some as a platform for generating 2016 election campaign talking points on issues related to labor and employment.  

On October 6—the day before the White House Summit—the conservative Heritage Foundation will host a "Summit on Worker's Empowerment." This event will feature workers discussing problems they have had with organized labor. In addition, American Rising Squared (AR2), a nonprofit public policy organization, has produced a video as a counter-point to the Administration's promotional materials for the White House Summit. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.