President Barack Obama has announced a series of executive orders that he says should "level the playing field" for unions in struggles they have with management.
Obama used the occasion at the White House to also formally announce a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans, and installed Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman.
On labor issues, Obama said that among other things he was changing Bush administration policy in a way that will require companies doing contract work for the government to inform workers of their legal rights on the job.
Although his task force centers on the middle class, Obama said that "we're not forgetting the poor." He said his administration wants to make sure low-income people "get a piece" of the American pie "if they're willing to work for it."