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Amanda Wood

Manufacturers Agree: Joint-Employer Standard Could Hurt Entrepreneurship

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations held a hearing looking at the joint-employer standard and its impact on businesses. For months, the NAM has been at the forefront of efforts to push back against the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, which created a new joint-employer standard in federal labor law.

This new standard turned 30 years of precedent on its head by stating that two companies are joint employers if the host employer has any indirect or potential control of the contracted entity’s employees. Previously, a company had to have actual or direct control over these employees. Read More

Another Attack on Federal Contractors

By | Labor Unions, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This week, the administration hit federal contractors with a mandate it failed to achieve through congressional action—paid sick leave. This, unfortunately, seems to be the pattern, with a minimum wage mandate as well as the anticipated blacklisting regulation and guidance due out in April. When the administration is unsuccessful with Congress, it turns to the broad authority over federal contractors and pushes mandates onto the backs of those companies that produce essential products and services for the federal government.

For many years, the Healthy Families Act has come up as a proposal when both Democrats and Republicans have controlled Congress and has been repeatedly rejected. The concept has not, as the other side would have you think, been rejected because employers do not want to give their employees time off to care for themselves or their family.  Read More

Silica Rule Heads Towards Final Stage

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the proposed silica rule (reducing the occupational permissible exposure limit) will head to its final stage of review at the Office of Management and Budget and will likely become final during the early party of 2016—a long anticipated rule that is twelve years in the making.

We agree permissible exposure limits implemented in the early 1970s should be reviewed and revised, however, relying on outdated data from over a decade ago should not be the standard we expect from our government when issuing new regulations. The standard should be higher. Manufacturers have been concerned with the length of time this rule has taken to move forward—from submission of public comments to the final rule stage will be more than two years. The NAM first submitted comments in February 2014 and then testified at a public hearing in March 2014 and submitted its final brief before the record closed in August 2014.
Read More

Looking for Leadership on Labor Issues

By | Human Resources, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

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: Read More

NAM Continues to Fight Harmful Joint-Employer Decision as Congress Takes Action

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Since August, the NAM has been at the forefront of efforts to push back against the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) highly anticipated decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, which created a new “joint employer” standard in federal labor law. This new standard turned 30 years of precedent on its head by stating that two companies are joint employers if the host employer has any indirect or potential control of the contracted entity’s employees. Previously, a company had to have actual or direct control over these employees.

With the stroke of a pen, the NLRB disrupted the economic and business models that represent a modernized, 21st-century workplace that includes temporary contracts, subcontracting and other practices that allow businesses to focus on their core competencies, which are all critical tenets of modern manufacturing facilities. For manufacturers who use subcontractors for services, such as payroll, janitorial, food, security and law enforcement, hiring and temporary worker placement, just to name a few, they will now be subjected to this new standard. Read More

President Supports NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule

By | Human Resources, Labor Unions | No Comments

It comes as no surprise that, today, the President vetoed Congress’ disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Ambush” Election Rule, finalized by the Board late last year and which goes into effect on April 14.

In the Memorandum accompanying the pocket veto (a veto occurring while Congress is adjourned), the President states that Congress’s Resolution of Disapproval would “block modest, but overdue reforms to simplify and streamline private sector union elections.” The word “streamline,” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to make simpler or more efficient.” However, when looking at the NLRB’s own data, I am confused as to what needs to be “made simpler or more efficient.”  Currently, in over 95 percent of election petitions filed, a union election is held in 60 days or less.  That is two months, which when you compare to our political campaign cycles, is merely a blink of an eye.  So what exactly needs to be streamlined with this process? Read More

Supreme Court To Consider Pregnancy Accommodation Case

By | Human Resources | No Comments

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case Peggy Young v. United Parcel Services, Inc. where the Court will examine the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and consider “whether, and in what circumstances, an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations must provide comparable work accommodations to pregnant employees.” Read More

More Confusion Rather than Safer Workplaces

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Today, the NAM filed supplemental comments to OSHA’s proposed rule publicizing injury and illness data of private employers. In January, the NAM’s Labor and Employment Policy team participated in a public hearing on this rule and from the outset, the NAM has opposed this rule for a few very simple reasons: 1) OSHA has the tools they need to improve workplace safety at their disposal already; 2) This data would be presented without context and could result in a serious misrepresentation of a particular company or industry; 3) This rule gets us no closer to the shared goal of a safer workplace. Nothing has changed to mitigate these concerns – improbably, the rule is getting worse

In August, OSHA reopened the rule posing several questions, without any actual regulatory text. What OSHA appears to be doing is adding new provisions to the rule as well as additional burdens and confusion to employers.

For example, if an employer has a stellar record for being injury and illness free for several months, the employer, to boost morale and to show the company’s safety record, may prominently post this for employees and customers to see.  Defying logic, however, supplements to the rule would a classify this type of posting as discouraging employees from reporting injuries and illnesses in the workplace. OSHA could therefore cite an employer for this.  Despite a reality devoid of data, scientific studies or research to back up OSHA’s assertion, they are moving forward in this misguided thinking.

OSHA should take time now to apply the fundamental question to its rule making process – does it make the workplace safer? Unfortunately, in this case it misses the mark.

Amanda Wood is Director of Employment Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers

Transparency—A One Way Street

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Yesterday, OSHA convened the first day of a three-week public hearing on the proposed silica rule, which would reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) when working with crystalline silica (or sand).  The proposed rule has been over a decade in the making, consists of over a thousand pages of rule text and economic impact.  And, although the comment period came to a close last month, OSHA announced it would have a public hearing for stakeholders to present information and question one another. Equally important, the hearing was supposed to provide stakeholders an opportunity to question OSHA and the data it presented as its justification for the rule.

One would think this is what an open and transparent government is all about, right? Well, not exactly.  It became abundantly clear from the first couple hours of this hearing that the openness and transparency of this government comes only when it is convenient for them and is often a one way street—only open for travel by the stakeholder.

Notwithstanding the volumes of material OSHA has put in the public record, the agency allotted itself only two-and-a-half hours to take questions from stakeholders and experts.  In fact, each inquirer was given a mere five minutes to question the validity of the data used to justify the rule change.  At one point, the OSHA panel even declined the judge’s direct request to work through lunch so as to not answer questions.  You would think with three weeks for the hearing and if the rule change is indeed on solid ground, OSHA could have withstood more than a few dozen questions. Maybe the rule really isn’t as strongly supported after all?    The farce of this hearing process is one that is likened to a one-way mirror in an interrogation room—only one side is really subject to questioning and they are not permitted to have knowledge of what the full story looks like.

Silica Rule Unnecessary and Based on Outdated Data

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Yesterday, the NAM filed its comments in response to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) proposed rule, which would cut the permissible exposure limit (PEL) to respirable crystalline silica (or sand) in half from its current level.  To breakdown what this means is if you took a basic sugar packet and then dispersed it into a building that is the length of a football field and 13 feet high—this would be the amount of sand we are talking about.

Particularly noteworthy in this rulemaking is that OSHA has been working on the rule for well over a decade, starting back in 2003 with the Small Business Review Panel, and then using data points from the 2002-2007 timeframe to justify OSHA’s cost analysis. It is, therefore no wonder OSHA’s cost estimate of $656 million and industry’s of $5 billion are so far apart. Yet, OSHA gave the public only 157 days to read and analyze well over 1,500 pages and gain an understanding of whether a lower PEL and implementing engineering controls were even feasible for companies who work with silica every day.

One thing is for sure, the NAM has serious concerns with lowering the current PEL and what that will mean for manufacturers and questions whether the rule is necessary, the methodologies relied upon are valid and process has been fair.