Jen Kern, the minimum wage campaign coordinator at the National Employment Law Project, one of the largest advocacy groups on wage issues, says that her organization was consulted only “two hours ahead” of the State of the Union speech.
“We had been pushing him on this for years, since he mentioned it in his campaign in 2008, and never really heard anything from him,” says Kern. “So, yeah, we were surprised.”
“We were given little advance notice,” says Bill Samuel, government affairs director for the AFL-CIO, labor’s main coalition. “I think this is a strategy that the White House has often employed before a State of the Union. I believe that was intentional. It wasn’t a bad motive. I think they decided this should be good news.”