Reforming Labor Regulations to Improve Job Opportunities

This level of volatility and policy uncertainty harms manufacturers and their employees who cannot rely on past reasonable interpretations of the law when planning to invest in new workers. Instead, issues that were thought to be previously settled have been up for grabs.

A recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) study calculated the cost of recent labor regulations to the economy:

  • $85 billion
  • More than 400 million hours of paperwork
  • Up to 155,000 jobs over the next 10 years

America faces a severe shortage of skilled workers to meet the current demand and projected future demand in manufacturing.

Unfortunately, labor policies from the Obama administration have made it harder to maintain and grow a flexible workforce to handle today’s manufacturing challenges. We need policies that support flexibility and innovation.

Elections do have consequences, and change may be on the horizon. Unfortunately, the degree to which the Obama administration has overturned longstanding labor law precedent is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

To restore balance, the next administration should do the following:

  • Repeal unnecessarily costly rules that hamper job creation.
  • Appoint National Labor Relations Board members committed to the rule of law and fair treatment of employees and employers, who will rescind ill-informed rules and adjudications.
  • Take a new approach to encouraging good policies in the workplace, rather than attempting to “shame” companies.

The specifics are all laid out in the NAM’s new “Competing to Win” blueprint on labor policy, which we have shared directly with President-elect Donald Trump’s team.

Labor policy needs to adapt to modern workforce needs, rather than turn the clock back. The past eight years have taken us backward by well-established laws without any justification.

Employees, organized labor, management and lawmakers should collaborate in search of outcomes that deliver a positive work environment, opportunities for employee professional growth and safe and healthy facilities.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

Rosario Palmieri

Rosario Palmieri

Rosario Palmieri is the vice president for infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). In that capacity, he works with NAM members to develop and articulate the association's position on regulatory, civil justice, antitrust, transportation and infrastructure issues. Mr. Palmieri also leads the NAM's efforts in the Alliance for Improving America's Infrastructure, a coalition formed under the leadership of the NAM to address the urgent need to modernize the nation's roads, bridges, rail, ports, inland waterways and airports.
Rosario Palmieri

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