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Bush labor rules repeal called 'ominous'

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama's moves to enhance labor unions' ability to organize in U.S. workplaces is an "ominous message" to employers, a legal group says.

In undoing the Bush administration's rules, federal contractors will no longer be reimbursed for trying to prevent their workers from unionizing, nor will they be required to post instructions on how employees could opt out of union dues earmarked for political purposes, The Washington Times reported Saturday.

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"President Obama has sent an ominous message to the 93 percent of private sector workers in America who, for whatever reasons, have chosen not to unionize: You're not welcome here," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Virginia legal non-profit.

The Times said Obama's new orders also give workers the chance to retain jobs on federal contracts even if the contractors change.

The president said his goal was to reverse Bush administration labor policies and "level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, said the new rules require employers to "waive their free speech rights and allow unions to approach their employees without being able to respond."

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