NAM Files Brief to Overturn NLRB Decision on Technical Refusal to Bargain

In the wake of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the country has seen a proliferation of so-called “micro-units” instead of the traditional “wall-to-wall” bargaining units. The change in the test for determining the appropriate size of a bargaining unit has led to the creation of these smaller micro-units even when every other factor, especially common sense, points in the opposite direction. (continue reading…)

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NAM Asks CFTC Not to Regulate Supply Contracts as Swaps

Manufacturers by nature assemble and build goods day in and day out. Creating all of these products requires a tremendous amount of supplies, which are often delivered as a result of a supply contract between two parties. Sounds simple enough, right?  (continue reading…)

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Supreme Court to Hear Case on Challenges on Investment Decisions

The Supreme Court recently granted cert in Tibble v. Edison Int’l to decide whether plan participants can challenge investment decisions by plan fiduciaries made more than six years before the suit was filed, if the decisions could have been reconsidered during the six-year window. A ruling by the Court in this case could have a significant impact on plan fiduciaries by addressing the nature of a separate duty to reconsider past decisions and whether a theory of “continuing violation” can be used to evade ERISA’s limitations period. (continue reading…)

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MCLA Amicus Argues a Balanced Consideration of Costs and Benefits for EPA

If U.S. manufacturers had no costs from complying with federal, state and local regulations, they would have a significant advantage over competitors that have such costs. Wouldn’t that be nice? Obviously, compliance costs are an important factor in many business decisions, and the greater the costs, the harder it is for manufacturers to produce and to compete. (continue reading…)

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Offshore Drilling Plan Misses the Mark

Today the Department of Interior (DOI) released their “Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing.” The draft proposal, developed by DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is the administration’s blueprint for offshore oil and gas leasing for the years 2017-2022. This plan will not only determine what areas will or will not be available for leasing for the next 8 years, but also will effect American energy production long after this Administration leaves office. (continue reading…)

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FTC Report on Internet of Things Released Today

Staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report today entitled: Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World. This report is based on an Internet of Things (IoT) workshop hosted by the FTC in November of 2013 and includes recommendations on how to protect consumers as this emerging technology continues to develop. (continue reading…)

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NAM Calls for an Extension of Pension Nondiscrimination Testing Relief

The NAM has blogged previously on the need for relief from an issue that may cause manufacturers to completely close their defined benefit pension plans before they, or the participants in the plan, are ready. While the IRS granted temporary relief from this pension nondiscrimination testing problem, the NAM is urging the agency to grant a much needed extension before the relief runs out this year. (continue reading…)

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Tennessee Added the Most Manufacturing Jobs in December; Indiana for 2014 as a Whole

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Indiana created 25,500 net new jobs in 2014, the most of any state. Durable goods firms accounted for the bulk of that growth, with 21,900 new workers year-over-year. Indeed, when looking at major sectors in Indiana, a number of fast-growing durable goods industries rise to the top of the list, including motor vehicles, primary metals, fabricated metal products and aerospace. Ohio (up 16,400), Texas (up 11,800), Wisconsin (up 10,800), Michigan (up 9,800) and North Carolina (up 9,500) also had significant manufacturing job growth in 2014.

In December, Tennessee topped the list for manufacturing job creation, creating 2,800 net new jobs in the month. Other states with notable increases in December include Illinois (up 2,300), Pennsylvania (up 2,000), Indiana (up 1,600), Iowa (up 1,600) and Ohio (up 1,500). (continue reading…)

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Conference Board: Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since August 2007

Consumer confidence rose to its highest level since August 2007, just a few months before the start of the Great Recession. The Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board increased from 93.1 in December to 102.9 in January. The increase in perceptions was more than likely positively influenced by lower gasoline prices and better economic news of late. Indeed, the index of present conditions, which gauges sentiment on the current economic environment, jumped from 99.9 to 112.6. The forward-looking subcomponent also improved, up from 88.5 to 96.4. (continue reading…)

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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continues to Grow Modestly

The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity continued to expand modestly in January. The composite index of general business conditions edged marginally lower, down from 7 in December to 6 in January. While this represented a slower pace than the more-robust growth seen in October, when the composite index measured 20, it did represent the tenth consecutive monthly expansion in the Richmond Fed district. Moreover, growth in shipments (up from 5 to 10), capacity utilization (up from -5 to 9) and the average workweek (up from 4 to 8) accelerated for the month, which were encouraging signs. (continue reading…)

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