As the incoming Trump administration prepares to reform and roll back many misguided federal regulations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new study revealing the sheer number of business and operational hurdles that manufacturers face on a daily basis as a result of the nation’s current regulatory structure. Read More
Manufacturers can’t wait for Inauguration Day. Like the first hours of New Year’s Day and baseball’s Opening Day, anything feels possible. And when you’ve been battling eight years of volatility and policy uncertainty in the rules governing the workplace, a new way forward is exactly what we need—to help American workers and families with more jobs and higher pay.
A recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) study calculated the cost of recent labor regulations to the economy to be $85 billion, more than 400 million hours of paperwork and up to 155,000 jobs lost over the next 10 years. That’s more jobs lost than the entire populations of Green Bay and La Crosse, Wis., combined.
The right type of change starts with a confirmation vote—to get the U.S. Labor Department working smarter and functioning at the level Americans expect and deserve. The Senate should move swiftly to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder. The president-elect was wise to choose the leader who turned around Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., saving not only brick-and-mortar businesses but also jobs that jumpstart better lives. There’s no reason to delay another turnaround—at the Labor Department—that needs to start on day one.
How bad has it been? Here are some of the worst-offending policies:
- President Obama’s Labor Department has hindered the ability of employers, particularly smaller-sized firms, to seek advice on how to comply with labor laws, which can harm manufacturing workers, as much as their employers.
- The administration tried to more than double the minimum salary threshold for employees exempted from overtime pay and add a costly automatic increase provision. Small and rural businesses were hit especially hard by the change—and the rule failed to account for the varied types of work done by affected employees and the increasing need for flexible work arrangements.
- They’ve prevented employers from incentivizing safe workplace practices.
- And they’ve tried to turn back the clock on labor law, refusing to allow modernizations to take place that best fit the modern workplace.
It’s time for more balance: a labor policy that can achieve both a positive work environment and create new job openings in manufacturing and in other sectors for all Americans. It’s the type of labor policy we lay out in the NAM’s new “Competing to Win” blueprint on labor policy and the agenda we’re confident President-elect Trump and Andrew Puzder can get working on right away—if senators act in manufacturing’s and the people’s interest.
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.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the nomination of businessman Andy Puzder as secretary of labor:
“President-elect Donald Trump has served up one of the best leaders on the menu for secretary of labor. Andy Puzder is an insightful businessman who knows what it takes to create jobs and put Americans to work.
“No one knows better than Mr. Puzder that the Obama administration’s workplace rules haven’t just harmed manufacturers and entrepreneurs in America, but have also cost people work and families paychecks. Manufacturers have fought for change and laid out solutions in our “Competing to Win” agenda for labor laws and workplace regulations that reflect the dynamics of modern manufacturing. We’re confident President-elect Trump and Mr. Puzder know the recipe necessary to make America more competitive to create jobs and lift up all Americans.”
CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly issued the following statement after a federal judge temporarily halted the Obama administration’s final overtime regulation:
“The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action is the last line of defense from unreasonable regulations that harm not just job growth but also manufacturers’ ability to stay in business. Today’s decision is an important win for all manufacturers in America—halting what would have been a dramatic and devastating change in labor law that manufacturers could not afford. The rule would have vastly expanded the number of employees that would be eligible for overtime. The decision brings us a step closer to curbing regulations that have resulted in $80 billion in compliance costs and more than 25 million hours of paperwork.
“In the days and weeks ahead, the NAM looks forward to working with the Trump administration and the 115th Congress to right a regulatory and legal system that has pummeled the manufacturing industry in America. The fights are not yet over—and our work is just beginning.”
The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts, representing the more than 12 million men and women who make things in the United States. The MCLA strategically engages in litigation as a direct party, intervenes in litigation important to manufacturers and weighs in as amicus curiae on important cases.
Manufacturers and their employees share a mutual goal of a safe, communicative and productive workplace, and good policy from Washington is part of the solution. To learn more, visit our website.
The latest jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are in, and while the broader jobs numbers increased, jobs in the manufacturing sector fell for the third straight month, declining by 9,000—losing 62,000 workers year to date. Not only does this suggest that manufacturers continue to exercise caution in their business practices, but it points to the fact that continued challenges, including the failure to move on critical pro-manufacturing policies in Washington, are having a severe impact on the nation’s most innovative sector.
Unfortunately, throughout this election cycle, isolationist and incendiary rhetoric have continued to harm manufacturing workers and their families by perpetuating myths about pro-growth policies like free trade. For their part, manufacturers will continue to stress the policies that will enable faster economic growth and enhance the sector’s overall global competitiveness.
35,000. That’s the cost of federal regulations endured by a small manufacturer with fewer than 50 employees—per year, per employee!
I think we can all agree: this isn’t the way our regulatory system should work. It is time for real reform.
That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers, in partnership with the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, is launching a project called Rethink Red Tape to bring the regulatory issue to life for lawmakers in Washington and provide real momentum for reform.
Regulations are important, but the constant churn of new and misguided rules leads to regulations that are counterproductive, contradictory and next to impossible to understand. That’s especially hard for small business owners who don’t have the resources to keep pace with new regulations and absorb their higher costs.
Layers of excessive regulations hurt manufacturers’ ability to invest in new innovations, and our entire economy suffers as a result.
To correct this and enable American manufacturers and small businesses to grow and create jobs, regulatory reform has to be a bipartisan priority. Transparency, accountability and honest evaluations of small business costs need to be part of our government’s regulatory calculus. Too often, this is the exception and not the rule.
Rethink Red Tape will bring personal viewpoints and real-life stories to the conversation to explain the impact regulations have on small firms and the hours and opportunities manufacturers lose because of them.
As our program grows, we’ll identify and advance bipartisan solutions that will change the way regulations are written and give small businesses a stronger voice in the process.
Today, the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) announced its lawsuit on behalf of manufacturers challenging the newly released persuader rule. This regulation infringes on the rights of employers to communicate with and receive advice from expert advisors on labor relations issues.
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
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