Tag: National Association of Manufacturers

Representatives Question Administration’s Discretionary Ozone NAAQS Reconsideration

Leaders of the House Energy & Commerce CommitteeChairman Upton (R-MI) and Reps. Whitfield (R-KY) and Stearns (R-FL) – sent a letter to  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson asking pointed questions about her voluntary choice to establish more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone as the economy struggles to emerge from the worst recession in a generation. The letter states:

“Your choice to promulgate alternate costly new standards outside of the Clean Air Act’s normal five year review cycle defies common sense. The discretionary basis for such expensive decisions also raises serious questions about the Administration’s priorities at a time when the nation’s focus should be on economic recovery and job creation.”

The lawmakers also stated they will be using the information to prepare for a serious of hearings on the ozone standards after August recess.

Manufacturers are thrilled with the Committee’s plans to hold hearings on the proposed ozone standards which, if set at 60 parts-per-billion, could cost 7.3 million jobs by 2020 and add $1 trillion per year in new regulatory burdens between 2020 and 2030. While the EPA had initially planned to finalize the standard by July 29, significant pressure from the NAM and other industry groups have caused the agency to delay the final standard until sometime in August. We urge manufacturers to take action, and write President Obama in opposition to this completely discretionary new ozone standard that is the most expensive regulation ever proposed by any Administration or Agency.

Alicia Meads is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers

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Manufacturers Urge Lawmakers and President to Increase Debt Ceiling

Manufacturers have been watching the debate on raising the debt ceiling with great concern over the past month. They understand that if the U.S. government defaults on their obligations, job creators cannot succeed or grow, much compete globally. Manufacturers, such as the LORD Corporation have reached out to elected officials, stressing the importance of reaching a deal to raise the debt ceiling and also to address the ever-growing spending problem in Washington. The letter states:

“America cannot afford to renege on its commitments, and LORD would not be in a position to add jobs if our country were to default on its loans. Assuming that there is a last-minute deal to raise the debt limit and avoid default, the terms of this deal will also have a direct impact on our ability to add jobs and remain competitive in the future.”

Earlier this month, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a press release and joined with over 400 other organizations in a letter to leaders in both the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as to the President, expressing the critical importance of raising the debt ceiling to ensure the stability of our economy, and preventing an economic catastrophe. Default is not an option; it would be a fundamental failure of the government to fulfill the obligations they have made.

The reality is that Washington continues to spend more than it takes in – this is fiscal irresponsibility at the highest level. Individuals are expected to pay their taxes, mortgages and other bills and live within their means – should it be any different for the government? There is no question that we must pay the bills our nation has incurred, but moving forward, an era of fiscal responsibility is needed to sustain the economic health of not only America, but the global economy.

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The NRC Plans to Implement Report’s Suggestions before Substantial Deliberation

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Fukushima Daiichi task force recently submitted a report to the congressional oversight committees on the first 90 days of its nuclear power plant review which examines the safety of nuclear energy facilities in the United States. The report also provides recommendations to improve the U.S. facilities’ safety procedures.

Since the report’s release last week, Chairman Jaczko has announced that the Commission should review the suggestions within 90 days; and, for the industry to implement those suggestions within five years. While the Chairman claims that the 90 day review is ample and just, many in the nuclear energy industry would argue otherwise. In fact, any speedy regulation for the sake of regulation will be a roadblock for further developing the U.S. nuclear energy industry.  Additionally, the negative economic impact of burdensome proposed regulations will not just kill existing jobs, but also preventing the creation of new ones.

Since the events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, U.S. nuclear facilities have been in the forefront of providing support. Additionally, they have been examining their own plants to expand on the safety measures that are already in place. The industry as a whole has always been committed to safety and will continue to be in order to ensure consumers have access to safe, clean, dependable and affordable source of energy, particularly manufacturers that use nearly 30% of the nation’s energy.  As a result, the Commission should take its time in reviewing any suggestions by the report.  Furthermore, the Commission should allow for deliberations that include stakeholders’ input in order to make certain that any regulations moving forward are balanced and provide for increased safety without a negative economic impact to the industry that would result in job loss and increase the cost of energy.

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Pushing Back on EPA’s Boiler MACT Rules

Today, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced bipartisan legislation that would stay the current Boiler MACT regulations. These regulations would stifle economic growth and threaten tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The National Association of Manufacturers joined a number of organizations, sending a letter to the Senate in support of this bipartisan legislation.

Senators Collins and Wyden issued a press release outlining the legislation, which will delay the costly and burdensome regulations, providing ample time for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to craft a realistic and achievable final rule.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Ensure the rules are stayed for an adequate and certain period, as the EPA’s current administrative stay is being challenged;
  • Allow the EPA adequate time to re-propose the rules and get them right, including time for stakeholders to conduct more emissions testing and to avoid mistakes that occur when rulemakings of this scope and importance are rushed and become vulnerable to legal challenge;
  • Provide direction and support for the EPA to use the discretion it already has under the Clean Air Act and Executive Order 13563 to add flexibility and make the rules achievable;
  • Clarify that various materials, such as biomass residuals, are fuels and that certain gases in manufacturing processes do not result in boilers being treated as incinerators; and,
  • Give facilities more time to comply with the complex and capital-intensive requirements of the rules.

This bill is similar to H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this month in the House of Representatives.

At a time of record unemployment, the last thing manufacturers need to face are excessive regulations that will increase the cost of doing business and diminish their ability to successfully compete in the global marketplace.

If the EPA continues to pursue its aggressive regulatory agenda on the Boiler MACT rules, manufacturers will be unable to make future investments, create jobs, and spur economic growth during a time when these actions are needed most.

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Manufacturers, Business Community Question Discretionary Action by Administration on Ozone Standards

Today, Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations at the NAM, joined several industry leaders to discuss with the media the negative impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed ozone standards on jobs and economic growth.

Newhouse participated along with Governor John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable (BRT); Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API); Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC); and Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Newhouse explained that manufacturers in the U.S. start each day at an 18 percent disadvantage (excluding labor costs) compared to their competitors outside the U.S. Increasing the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. to comply with burdensome and costly regulations is unacceptable and will only continue to diminish our global competitiveness. Manufacturers are looking for a common-sense, balanced approach to regulatory policy. Unfortunately, these proposed ozone standards do not present such an approach.

He urged the EPA to hold off on current action until the next statutory review is required in 18 months, allowing for an appropriate review with new data and scientific studies on ozone regulations. By moving forward now, the Administration is using stale data gathered prior to 2008 to formulate these proposed ozone standards, ignoring the real-life effects their actions will have on a wide range of industry sectors.

The cost of nonattainment will make it difficult for manufacturers to grow and lead the economic recovery because these new ozone standards are excessive and unrealistic. These standards will affect a broad spectrum of industries and will freeze the economy, preventing future investment, expanded operations and job creation. The President must put the brakes on the EPA and use his authority to stop the Agency from continuing to impose new, irrational ozone regulations.

Additionally, last Friday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, along with several other trade association representatives, met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss these proposed new ozone standards. Timmons conveyed the business community’s concern with the new proposal and told the Administrator that these standards would stifle economic growth and job creation.

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The President’s Budget: Creating Jobs Through Increased Enforcement?

President Obama has made it very clear that he wishes to work with employers to help ensure they have an environment to creating jobs. We appreciate this commitment and look forward to see how his recent Executive Order on federal rulemaking is implemented. The Obama Administration has sent many signals that they’re going to be carefully reviewing regulations that may hinder job creation.

However, as analysis of the President’s budget continues it appears that the Administration is sending mixed signals. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s budget request does trim $1.1 billion dollars for FY 2012, it would still increase spending for agencies that regulate employers. Looking specifically at OSHA, there are increases for “safety and health standards” for the agency to develop new rules and spending on whistleblower programs. We should note that this request does slightly increase funding for compliance assistance programs, but the agency has proposed rules that would gut many employer outreach efforts like the on-site consultation program. A half a step forward, a full step back.

Looking beyond OSHA, the President’s budget would increase spending to “combat” employee misclassification. The Administration has often stated that they perceive a problem a widespread misclassification of employees as independent contractors by employers to skirt obligations associated with employees. The President’s request would increase spending for the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor to beef up federal employees to investigate misclassification. This comes on the heels of the Department’s fall regulatory agenda that indicates that the Department is still in the process of developing “Right to Know” regulations that would likely impose a new burden on employers to perform extensive employee audits of each worker – independent contractor and employee alike.

Also troubling is the Department’s proposal to lure states into launching paid-leave programs. The Department is looking to increase spending to encourage states to start programs that would create new entitlements, which inevitably lead further funding down the road.

If the President is serious about assisting employers to create jobs, the Administration needs to do more than simply sign executive orders calling for a review of regulations; he needs to focus on supporting an environment that allows employers to create jobs.

Joe Trauger is the NAM’s vice president for human resources policy.

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An Introduction from the President of the Manufacturers

I’m Jay Timmons, the new President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). I may spend most of my time in Washington, D.C., but my principles and motivation are driven by being part of a family with manufacturing roots in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Jay Timmons

My grandfather had a strong commitment to his community and country that came from being a manufacturing employee who helped innovate and make things that contributed to everyday life. These values are with me today as we all fight to help U.S. manufacturers retain their edge in a highly competitive global marketplace.

Here at the Manufacturers, our responsibility is to be the voice of the more than 12 million Americans employed directly in manufacturing. Today, the United States enjoys the distinction of being the world’s largest manufacturing economy, and U.S. manufacturers perform half of all research and development activities in our nation, driving more innovation than any other economic sector.

But manufacturers face significant challenges because our competitors around the world are working hard to take our leadership position away from us. Elected leaders on both sides of the political aisle agree — “Manufacturing Means Jobs” — and we’ve developed a detailed plan called “Manufacturing Strategy For Jobs and a Competitive America”. It’s a blueprint that will promote sustained economic growth and job creation – right here – in the United States.

I strongly believe this is the right strategy to take our nation forward and enable us to maintain our competitive edge against our competitors. I invite you to share this agenda with manufacturers on the frontlines and those living in communities that rely on manufacturing for their economic vitality. Our Strategy focuses on important issues that have a dramatic impact on manufacturing, such as government oversight and regulation, taxes, trade and energy policy among others.

Manufacturing not only means jobs –- it means opportunity, innovation, security and economic growth. So, join us in this effort to preserve and build on the greatness that people like my grandfather and those in manufacturing today have built for our nation.

I am excited to lead this association and I look forward to working with our dynamic companies to make the United States the best place in the world to be a manufacturer and to be a manufacturing employee.

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AFL-CIO Joins NAM to Back OSHA On-Site Consultation Program for Small Business

The AFL-CIO posted an open letter to Rep. Issa (R-CA) from California Labor Federation Legislative Advocate Mitch Seaman reacting to an article in POLITICO about the Congressman seeking input from companies, business groups and think tanks on federal regulation. The AFL-CIO snidely and incorrectly cited part of the article that reported the National Association of Manufacturers’ call for oversight of OSHA’s regulatory proposals that would gut employer compliance programs (e.g. on-site consultation).

The National Association of Manufacturers responded to your request for marching orders by naming OHSA consultations as “high-priority regulations that can cost manufacturing jobs.” Not to nitpick, but OSHA consultations are free services provided by OSHA—or a state OSHA program—that identify potential hazards before they happen. This is a win-win that creates both safer and less expensive work environments. As workers, we are curious as to exactly how jobs are created by eliminating a free service that saves employers money and reduces workplace injury.

Marching orders? What silliness.

Still, we’re pleased to see the labor group’s apparent agreement with the NAM about the value of the consultation program, as the blogger describes them as “a free service that saves employers money and reduces workplace injury.” Absolutely. We feel strongly that OSHA should not hinder a successful program that allows small businesses to voluntarily approach OSHA for advice on how to make their businesses both more productive and safer for their employees. The NAM joined with numerous other organizations in the Coalition for Workplace Safety’s comments to OSHA which urged the agency not to remove important aspects of the program that encourage company participation. It’s rare when the AFL-CIO and the NAM can find common ground on policy, but we were optimistic that we may have found a new ally in our effort to protect an important OSHA program.

Labor’s newfound support is especially welcome since the AFL-CIO submitted comments to the agency’s regulatory proposal calling for major changes that would have made it much more difficult for employers to use the OSHA program effectively. Let’s hope that the members of the California Labor Federation can make AFL-CIO’s staff in Washington aware of why they agree with the NAM when they describe the program as a “win-win that creates both safer and less expensive work environments.”

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President Makes Nominations to Labor Board Amid Increased NLRB Activism

This week President Obama nominated two individuals to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Lafe Solomon, who has been serving as the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, was picked to be General Counsel and Terrence Flynn, chief counsel to NLRB member Brian Hayes, was nominated to become the fifth member of the five member board. Should Flynn be confirmed, he would join Hayes as the second Republican on the Board.

While it’s unclear how soon these nominations will be considered by the Senate, the confirmation hearings do provide the Senate with an opportunity to review much of the recent NLRB activity that has so alarmed employers. The Board is slated to make decisions in many key cases, including Lamons Gasket Company, which addresses issues with card check certification, and Roundy’s, dealing with workplace access for union organizers. In addition, the Board has already begun the process of proposing new rulemaking that seeks to make sweeping changes to employee relations by requiring employers to post a notice to employees of their right to unionize. Board Member Hayes has expressed the view that the NLRB lacks the necessary authority to propose this rulemaking, which would require employers to display posters of union rights as well as in some cases make employers distribute such a notice to employees through e-mail.

The National Association of Manufacturers has long been troubled that the current NLRB, which includes the controversial Craig Becker, intends to bend its authority to implement the goals of the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act, skewing the balance of labor relations towards labor unions. The changes sought by the NLRB produce a tremendous amount of uncertainty for employers, which in turn threatens jobs creation and the economic recovery.

We hope that the Senate uses the confirmation process to fully review the Board’s recent action – and makes it clear that the NLRB should not seek to change U.S. labor law without the necessary Congressional action.

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Congress Recognizes Importance of All American Workers‬‪‬‪

America’s high-skilled manufacturing workforce is one of the most important contributors to our economy, producing 1/8 of the  nation’s GDP. Through their hard work, manufacturing workers in the U.S. make over 1/5 of all things made on the planet. This dynamic workforce includes employees who are represented by labor unions and those that are not.‪

This week marks the start of the 112th Congress, and the Committee that has jurisdiction over issues facing American workers begins with a new name – the Committee on Education and Workforce. Government institutions including cabinet agencies and Congressional Committees often change names to reflect changing dynamics and priorities: the Department of War is now the Department of Defense, the House Committee on Banking and Currency is now the House Committee on Financial Services, etc.‪

It is fitting the House Committee with jurisdiction over issues facing American workers will have a new name – the House Committee on Education and Workforce. It is true that historically that Committee had been named the Committee on Education and Labor, with the exception of brief periods of time when it was referred to differently.

This latest renaming indicates that the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), intends to focus on all workers in the economy and not just the 12.3 percent of American workers (and only 7.2 percent of private sector workers) who are members of labor unions.

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