Ann O'Leary

Ann O'Leary is executive director of the Berkeley Center on health, Economic & Family Security at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress.

Recent Articles

The Power to Act

There is well-established legal authority for much stronger presidential action to promote good jobs.

The Employee Free Choice Act is a low priority for the White House and Congress. Legislation mandating a minimum number of paid sick days for all workers couldn't even get congressional action when the country was facing the public-health scares of the H1N1 virus. And bills to curb the practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors are at the earliest stages of the legislative process. Does this mean labor rights are doomed by gridlock? Not at all. The President's Contracting Power. Since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt, presidents have used their executive power to sign orders aimed at strengthening working conditions for all employees of businesses receiving federal contracts. Roosevelt was the first to sign an order prohibiting defense contractors from discriminating on the basis of race in their workforce. The authority for presidential executive orders was addressed by the courts only in 1952 when the Supreme Court struck down President Harry Truman's executive...