Congressman Rooney Bill Gives Power to Employees

By | Economy, Labor Unions, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) applauds Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL) for introducing the Current Employee Representation Act, H.R. 4327, which would give employees the choice to reconsider union representation should less than 50 percent of the current unit members are employed. Under current law, an employer has to file a petition when it is believed the current union does not have support from the majority of the employees in the bargaining unit. The employees then have to file for a decertification of the union. Rooney’s bill will put the power in the hands of the current employees by giving them the choice to be represented by the union who was chosen by a different group of employees. Employees will no longer have to live with the decisions made by their predecessors. Employees also want to continue with the union representation, but again, this will be of their choosing under Rooney’s bill. The NAM looks forward to this legislation moving forward and welcomes the change the bill will bring to union representation and empowering the current employee base.

Infrastructure Is Critical for Both Rural and Urban Shop Floors

By | Infrastructure, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that the administration’s infrastructure proposal would be released in the new year. At the same time, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy DJ Gribbin joined a bipartisan infrastructure conversation that featured House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), manufacturers, farmers, truckers and infrastructure financiers. Making manufacturing more competitive by advancing an infrastructure package that increases certainty was at the center of one panel discussion, titled “Rural America and an Infrastructure Package.”

Shop floors are commonly located in rural areas and rely on the same vital infrastructure needs as manufacturers in urban areas. Manufacturers look forward to a 2018 infrastructure package that advances and invests in energy, water, broadband and transportation infrastructure projects. Regardless of whether it is a rural or urban area, if ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down or the internet has a lapse, productivity and customer service are impacted.

That said, rural infrastructure faces different challenges in funding and delivering projects given low population levels. They are often not suited to public–private partnerships. During the event, Gribbin outlined that President Donald Trump’s plan would include a special rural component or set-aside to ensure that rural infrastructure is not overlooked.

The National Association of Manufacturers continues to build support among diverse stakeholder groups by advancing a comprehensive infrastructure proposal in the House and Senate.

Hurricanes Likely Reduced Manufacturing Output and Labor Productivity in the Third Quarter

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing labor productivity plummeted by 4.4 percent at the annual rate in the third quarter, its first decrease in one year and the largest quarterly decline since the Great Recession. On the positive side, it was originally estimated to be a decline of 5.0 percent, with the latest revision lessening the decrease somewhat from what was originally thought. Overall, though, the data continue to reflect the damage from recent hurricanes, with output down by 1.1 percent in the manufacturing sector. At the same time, hours worked and unit labor costs in manufacturing rose by 3.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. The sectoral breakdowns were similar, with labor productivity for durable and nondurable goods firms off by 4.7 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. Read More

U.S. Trade Deficit Rose in October to Highest Point Since January

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit rose from $44.89 billion in September to $48.73 billion in October, its highest level since January. In the latest figures, the increase in the trade deficit stemmed mostly from a jump in goods imports (up from $195.88 billion to $199.40 billion), with goods exports (down from $130.64 billion to $130.32 billion) off slightly. On the positive side, goods exports remain not far from September’s figure, which was its best reading since December 2014. Beyond goods, service-sector exports (up from $65.29 billion to $65.59 billion) and imports (up from $44.93 billion to $45.24 billion) each rose to new all-time highs. Read More