Tag Archives: President Barack Obama

Business Woman

Equal Pay for Equal Work

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order for the non-retaliation for disclosure of compensation information on April 8, 2014. The next day, April 9, 2014, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to pass in the Senate with a vote of 53-44, missing the needed 60 votes.

In part one of this article, the Ban Bossy campaign was discussed by two Arizona business leaders, and what women need to do to break the glass ceiling. The Executive Orders and the Paycheck Fairness Act are two items that are meant to help women receive equal wages for equal work because statistics show that women make 77 percent of what men make for equal work.

One of the major problems facing women in the workplace is that wages cannot be discussed, so most people do not know if they are receiving discriminatory wages. The Executive Order for non-retaliation for disclosure of compensation allows employees of Federal contractors to discuss their compensation without fear of adverse action. Section 1 of the policy states that the executive branch is trying to enforce the civil rights laws of the United States including those laws that prohibit discriminatory practices with respect to compensation and that Federal contractors that employ such practices are subject to enforcement action.

Section 1 states, “When employees are prohibited from inquiring about, disclosing, or discussing their compensation with fellow workers, compensation discrimination is much more difficult to discover and remediate, and more likely to persist.”

This Executive Order follows Obama’s first signed bill from 2009: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration. When signing the bill in the company of Lilly Ledbetter, Obama exclaimed, “Lilly Ledbetter didn’t set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job – and did it well – for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits – losses she still feels today.”

Five years later, women continue to fight for equal pay for equal work, leading to the new Executive Order and Paycheck Fairness Act. Although women, especially women of color, suffer from unequal pay, Obama stated at the 2009 bill signing that equal pay is not just a women’s issue, but a family issue. He said, “It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition or child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on . . . And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple discrimination.”

So why would the Senate block the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014? There are many thoughts about why the Senate Republicans blocked the bill including that the Senate would not consider Republican amendments to the measure, Senate Democrats wanted to control the debate, the bill would lead to job losses and the bill was only an election-year ploy.

Senator Mitch McConnell explained that the bill would hurt employers. He stated, “At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss – all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers. In other words, it’s just another Democrat idea that threatens to hurt the very people it claims to help.” He continued to explain that the bill was part of a broader strategy to appeal to low- and middle-income voters, the same as the move to increase the federal minimum wage and long-term unemployment benefits.

McConnell explained, “For weeks now, they’ve blocked the efforts Republicans have made to improve the picture. Senate Democrats want to control this debate from start to finish and basically do nothing to help with our efforts to expand opportunity and jobs for women and for men. They continue to block all the innovative ideas that Republicans have been offering to turn the tide.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte also explained why Republican women opposed the bill. “There are two other laws that already cover this issue in addition to Lilly Ledbetter. I believe those laws should be enforced. And obviously I think it’s self-evident that I’m for women receiving equal pay. In fact, I’d like them to be paid more.”

From the other perspective, Senator Barbara Mikulski, who sponsored the bill, gave a passionate speech about the bill before the vote occurred. She said, “I’ll tell you what I’m tired of hearing – that somehow or another we’re too emotional when we talk. You know, when we raise an issue, we’re too emotional. Well, I am emotional. If we don’t pass this bill, I’m so emotional I’m going to press on. It brings tears to my eyes to know how women every, single day are working so hard and are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that.” She concluded with a call to action: “Today is the day that’s a reckoning on ‘Do you want equal pay for equal work?’ and I want men and women all across America to be emotional about it. If you think we’re emotional, wait till you see what happens if this bill fails.”

After the bill failed to pass, Mikulski called for women to keep fighting. “Let’s suit up. Let’s square our shoulders. For the women, put your lipstick on and let’s fight on. We will be back another day for another vote,” she exclaimed.

Based upon the social movements looking to empower women and the persistence of senators like Mikulski, women are not going to put down this fight. This is the third time that the Paycheck Fairness Act has failed to pass, but it appears that Mikulski refuses to admit defeat. Lean In, Ban Bossy, the Paycheck Fairness Act and other movements are calling women to use their voices and to empower themselves. We shall see what these movements bring for the future.

If you missed part one of this article, check it out here.

Ban Bossy1, WEB

Local business owners weigh in Ban Bossy campaign

The Ban Bossy campaign led by Facebook COO and Lean In founder, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Girl Scouts of USA works to help empower girls and women. The campaign partnered with celebrities and businesses to share quotes, stories and tips for girls, parents, troop leaders and managers to help women become leaders. The basis of the campaign comes from statistics that show that when boys assert themselves they are called leaders, but when girls assert themselves they are labeled as bossy.

The Ban Bossy websites shares leadership tips for girls, parents, teachers, managers and troop leaders that contain statistics and tips for difficult situations. Some examples include allowing boys and girls to work together in groups, pausing after questions so that all students have time to answer, asking questions without right answers so students can answer without the fear being wrong, reading books and watching movies with heroines and heroes, differentiating between competence and being well-liked in the workplace and eliminating language that contains gender bias.

The site also displays favorite stories and resources that “encourage girls to flex their leadership muscles.” These range from PDF activities for girls and parents to complete, to troop activities, to media choices and information, to stories of real girls breaking stereotypes and being leaders.

So how can we expand upon the Ban Bossy campaign? Two Arizona businesswomen speak up about what it means to be a woman in business and how to break the glass ceiling.

Lisa Pino, an ASU alumna and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at USDA, and Kimber Lanning, an Arizona business owner and founder of Local First Arizona, both talk about women needing to take the initiative and use their voice.

Pino explains that she first took the initiative when she worked at a small, private college. She pitched an idea about how to help women enter and stay in college through difficult socio-economic situations such as teenage motherhood, financial struggles and cultural differences. Through this idea, Pino implemented the first minority retention program at the college. “I was fortunate to have a woman boss, and this gave me the initiative to empower myself and do work other than what I was assigned,” Pino states. After this first critical step, Pino states that she later realized that she could be the leader because she learned how to exercise new muscles in creativity and leadership.

Lanning takes a similar position when she states, “Don’t use ‘I’m a girl’ for an excuse for anything – good or bad.” She continues to explain, “I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on what I can or can’t do,” Lanning states, “I just leap. Fear of failure is not a reason to not try.”

Lanning took the initiative at a young age. She explains that she was passed over for a manager position at a record shop because “no one would listen to a 100-pound woman.” So, Lanning opened her own store, Stinkweeds, instead.

Both women also agree that women need to speak up for themselves in the workplace. Pino explains, “As a woman, it’s necessary to be able to exercise your voice.”

She continues to explain that there is a recent shift in the workplace. Previously, she says, women needed to act like men in the workplace, but now there is an appreciation for the qualities that women tend to have and how those can be regarded as strengths.

“Women tend to have the likelihood of listening, negotiating and handling situations. They work on challenges with a longer view, and are not just forced by the short-term pressure,” Pino explains, “Women tend to be more ambidextrous because they are used to doing it all – work and family. Juggling many things is part of the norm.”

Lanning agrees that women need to show what they can offer in the workplace. She states, “I try to take the time to be conscientious about what I can offer to other people, but if I need to, I have a big toolbox and boxing gloves if needed.” However, Lanning also points out “if women come to work with their boxing gloves every day that is not helpful either.” She suggests that women find ways to collaborate and show their worth.

Pino also speaks directly about Ban Bossy, Lean In and other women’s campaigns. She explains that, even with some of the criticism, all of these campaigns are successful because they start the dialogue. She claims, “It is not as simple as identifying one word – it is a much more complex subject – but, nevertheless, we are talking about it.” She explains that through the extensive coverage from mass media, social media and other women that now people who are not women have to talk about it as well. “Let’s continue the dialogue, let’s see what measurable actions we can take together, let’s create some sort of coalition of support and collaboration,” Pino states.

Finally, Pino states that she is excited and proud of the millennial generation. “It is so exciting for younger women today. It is fantastic that they are growing up in a culture where they won’t tolerate challenges that women had in the past. Also, male millenials are much more progressive in believing in equity for women. I am inspired by younger women and their courage in speaking out about these issues. The culture is changing.”

As women are still underrepresented in board rooms, in business, in the STEM fields and in politics, the discussion needs to continue about equality in the workplace. Ban Bossy attempts to confront the stereotypes and double standards that women face and show girls and women how to lean in. As Beyoncé states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

Check out part 2 of this article discussing the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Barack Obama’s Executive Order.

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Jobless rate falls below 8%

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.

The rate declined from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed soared by 873,000 — an encouraging sign for an economy that’s been struggling to create enough jobs.

The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009.

The Labor Department said employers added 114,000 jobs in September. It also said the economy created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than the department had initially estimated.

Wages rose in September. And more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.

The 7.8 percent unemployment rate for September matches the rate in January 2009, when Obama took office. In the months after Obama’s inauguration, the rate rose sharply and had topped 8 percent for 43 straight months.

The decline in the unemployment rate comes at a critical moment for Obama, who is coming off a weak debate performance this week against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The September employment report may be the last that might sway undecided voters. The October jobs report will be released only four days before Election Day.

economic crisis

Congress, Europe Must Stem Economic Crisis, Obama Says

President Barack Obama speaks on what he believes must be done in Congress and overseas to stem an economic crisis.

The economy at risk, President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Friday of pursuing policies that would weaken the U.S. recovery. He simultaneously urged Europe’s leaders to prevent an overseas debt crisis from dragging down the rest of the world.

At a White House news conference five months before Election Day, the president also said Republican allegations that his administration has leaked classified information for political gain were offensive. He said his administration has “zero tolerance” for any such practice.

Republicans fired back quickly on Obama’s comments on the economy, particularly his insistence that “the private sector is doing fine” when it comes to job creation.

Campaigning in Iowa, Republican rival Mitt Romney said Obama’s view was “defining what it means to be detached and out of touch.”

From the White House podium, the president urged passage of legislation that he said would create jobs — proposals that Republicans have long blocked.

“The recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief to the housing market and would result … in lower growth,” said the president, who is locked in a close campaign for re-election.

Obama’s tone was markedly different when it came to European leaders, whom he prodded to inject money into the banking system. He also said it is in “everybody’s interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone,” despite the division of public opinion inside the country where austerity measures have been imposed to deal with out-of-control deficits.

“The Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone,” Obama said.

“The solutions to these problems are hard, but there are solutions,” he said.

The president spoke after several days of difficult turns for his re-election prospects, including last Friday’s report that the unemployment rate had risen slightly to 8.2 percent in May as job creation had slowed, and new signs that the European debt crisis was hurting the U.S. economy.

In the overtly political realm, Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker turned back a recall movement led by organized labor, while former President Bill Clinton stirred controversy by saying Obama should be ready to sign a short-term extension of all expiring tax cuts — including those that apply to the wealthiest taxpayers that the president has vowed not to renew.

The president’s attack on Republicans was part of his campaign playbook in an election in which the economy is the top issue. Romney is campaigning for the White House as better equipped to created jobs, and polls make the race a close one, with only about a dozen battleground states in dispute.

Said McConnell: “The economy would respond much more favorably to providing the tax certainty Americans deserve by extending all the tax rates and assuring employers they do not have to budget for the largest tax increase in American history next year.”

Obama’s opening remarks were part jawboning and part economics lesson.

He stressed the importance of a strong European economy, saying, “If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid it could mean less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.”

The president said that if Congress had passed his jobs bill from last fall, “we’d be on track to have a million more Americans working this year, the unemployment rate would be lower, our economy would be stronger.”

“Of course Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full,” he said dismissively. “They left most of the jobs plan just sitting there, and in light of the headwinds we are facing right now I urge them to reconsider because there are steps we can take right now.”

Congress approved an extension of the payroll tax, which Obama said was helping the economy, but Republicans balked at calls for additional spending to provide funding for teachers, school construction, highways and more, citing concerns about the deficit.

The president said U.S. companies actually have been creating jobs at a faster clip than they did after the previous recession while state and local governments have been shedding them.

“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy is in the state and local governments, often times cuts initiated by governors or mayor who are not getting the kind of help they got in the past from the federal government,” he said.

“If Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work,” they should enact legislation to permit the hiring of more teachers and law enforcement personnel, he said.

As for leaks of classified information, Obama said his administration has “zero tolerance” for it. Lawmakers are investigating recent leaks of sensitive information about the covert drone and cyberwars against terrorism. Republican Sen. John McCain has accused the Obama White House of leaking the information to bolster the president’s standing on national security grounds.

Intel Corporation Headquarters in Santa Clara, CA

Intel To Invest More Than $5 Billion To Build New Factory In Arizona

CHANDLER, AZ., Feb. 18, 2011 – Intel Corporation today announced plans to invest more than $5 billion to build a new chip manufacturing facility at its site in Chandler, AZ. The announcement was made by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini during a visit by President Barack Obama at an Intel facility in Hillsboro, Ore.

The new Arizona factory, designated Fab 42, will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. Construction of the new fab is expected to begin in the middle of this year and is expected to be completed in 2013.

“The investment positions our manufacturing network for future growth,” said Brian Krzanich, senior vice president and general manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain. “This fab will begin operations on a process that will allow us to create transistors with a minimum feature size of 14 nanometers. For Intel, manufacturing serves as the underpinning for our business and allows us to provide customers and consumers with leading-edge products in high volume. The unmatched scope and scale of our investments in manufacturing help Intel maintain industry leadership and drives innovation.”

Computer component, image provided by Flickr

While more than three-fourths of Intel’s sales come from outside of the United States, Intel manufactures three-fourths of its microprocessors in the United States. The addition of this new fab will increase the company’s American manufacturing capability significantly.

Building the new fab on the leading-edge 14-nanometer process enables Intel to manufacture more powerful and efficient computer chips. The nanometer specification refers to the minimum dimensions of transistor technology. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter or the size one ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair.

“The products based on these leading-edge chips will give consumers unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency across a range of computing devices from high-end servers to ultra-sleek portable devices,” said Krzanich.

Fab 42 will be built as a 300mm factory, which refers to the size of the wafers that contain the computer chips. The project will create thousands of construction and permanent manufacturing jobs at Intel’s Arizona site.

About Intel

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at newsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com.