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Continuing to thumb his nose at conservatives during his last term in office, President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to provide workers with up to seven days of annual paid sick leave, reports The New York Times.

Speaking Monday before a union audience gathered for Labor Day in Boston, Massachusetts, Obama assailed Republican congressional leaders for pushing policies that hurt the middle class by opposing labor unions.

“You can’t just talk the talk,” Mr. Obama said to cheers. “You’ve got to walk the walk. You can’t talk middle class and then do things that hurt the middle class.”

Mr. Obama’s executive order on paid leave was his latest use of executive power to change the rules of the American workplace and was designed to appeal to his union base. A fight over trade this year ruptured the usual alliance between the Democratic president and the organized labor movement.

He also advocated for Congress to mandate paid sick and family leave for public and private workers, which conservatives argue would force families to pay more for products and services, the report says.

The president also seized the moment to criticize congressional opponents for threatening to shut down the federal government in an effort to slash taxpayer financing for Planned Parenthood.

“A shutdown would be completely irresponsible,” Mr. Obama said. “It would be an unforced error, a fumble on the goal line.”

The paid sick leave order, which must first go through a public comment period, will apply only to new federal contracts starting in 2017.



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Obama Signs Order For Federal Contractors To Give Workers Paid Sick Leave  was originally published on