Looking for Leadership on Labor Issues

This year manufacturers have seen executive orders, proposed regulations and NLRB decisions in attempts to“fix” our labor system, but instead these actions have created more bureaucracy and hurdles for employers, employees and manufacturers. Last night, Congress unveiled a new spending agreement that included many key policy “riders.” In a missed opportunity to address key issues for manufacturers labor issues were largely left out of the deal.

As the year comes to a close, manufacturers urge lawmakers address these key labor issues in 2016:

Joint Employer – In an August decision regarding Browning-Ferris Industries, the NLRB overturned working labor laws so that now if you are a businesses and you contract with other businesses, you could be considered a “joint employer.” The joint employer definition has worked for more than three decades with no major change in business to warrant a change in the standard and no evidence that workers have been denied their rights because of this standard. The decision to change the definition is nothing more than political maneuvering aimed at disarming manufacturers and job creators throughout the United States.

Overtime Regulations – This June, the Department of Labor released a proposed rule that essentially is the demotion of at least 5 million Americans. The proposal consists of increasing the income threshold to $50,440 in order to be exempt from overtime pay and will tie any further increases to inflation. The current threshold of $23,660 a year, or $455 per week, has been in place since 2004 and took into account salary levels of employees living in lower cost of living and rural areas. Prior to 2004, the last increase was in 1975 and the income threshold for overtime has been increased seven times since it was first implemented in 1938. It has never been indexed to inflation, wage rates, or any measure like in this proposal. For manufacturers, this is another roadblock to growth where some employees may see a reduction in their work hours so that their employers absorb this outrageous income hike.

Blacklisting Executive Order – The proposed regulation from the Department of Labor is another roadblock for manufacturers that will create more uncertainty, bureaucracy and inject politics into the contracting process. The growing regulatory burden is already a significant hurdle for those wishing to do business with the government, and this new regulation is a solution in search of a problem. There are already procedures in place to achieve the goals of this regulation without establishing a new federal bureaucracy and manufacturers call on the Administration to rescind this proposed rule.

Ambush Elections – Shortening the time frame before an election robs employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make an important and informed decision like whether or not to join a union and denies employers adequate time to prepare. It is critical that this rule be eliminated before it does serious and lasting harm in the workplace.

To learn more about the NAM and the growing burden of labor regulations facing manufacturers, visit our website.

 

Amanda Wood

Amanda Wood

Director of Employment Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Amanda Wood is the director of employment policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Ms. Wood oversees the NAM’s labor and employment policy work and has expertise on issues ranging from labor, employment, OSHA, unions, wages and the federal rulemaking process.Ms. Wood’ s background includes legal, policy and government relations experience on a range key labor issues. Ms. Wood received her JD from the University of Maine and undergraduate degree from University of New Hampshire.
Amanda Wood

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