President Obama’s Labor Department has issued new rules that require any business entering into a service contract with the federal government to hire whatever workers were employed by the last contractor for that service (or for a “similar” service). Worse, if those workers were unionized, the new contractor must recognize the old union as well.

ASIDE: The new contractor only has to hire “qualified” workers, but the rule make it very hard to show that a worker is not qualified.

In effect, this means that the employees on federal contracts are government employees. The contractor might change, but the staff will not. Contractors are left unable to make changes in the area (personnel) that is most important for improving equality and reducing cost. (ASIDE: Nevertheless,¬†Obama actually had the temerity to suggest that “economy and efficiency are served” when contractors cannot bring in their own staff.)

I think what’s going on here is an effort to reverse privatization by executive order. It would take an act of Congress for the government to take such functions over, and such an act will not be forthcoming (nor would Democrats even want to push such legislation publicly), but this order produces most of the effect without legislation.

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