Labor Unions

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.

House Moving Forward to Restore Joint-Employer Standard

By | General, Labor Unions, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Small Business | No Comments

In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board, in the Browning-Ferris Industries case decision, overturned 30 years of case precedent by redefining a joint employer. Previously, businesses could meet the definition of an “employer” if they had “direct and immediate” control over another’s work. Now, a business owner who has “potential” or even “reserved control” over the practices of another business and its employees could be considered a “joint employer.” This change means businesses may now be liable for the contents of a collective-bargaining agreement they did not negotiate, employee overtime issues they did not cause and other employment practices.

This new definition affects more than 770,000 employers nationwide across multiple sectors and impacts every manufacturer that contracts for performed work with an outside entity. Manufacturers that contract out for any product or service with another company could find themselves mired in unexpected issues that arise from that company’s conduct.

The decision has already had a chilling effect on manufacturers’ ability and willingness to hire outside entities they would normally hire for specific expertise and services in differing fields. This hampers productivity and leads to increased overall costs. It also injects risk into the use of innovative and flexible workforce designs that manufacturers may use to cope with uneven production levels or market uncertainties.

The House will take up H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), which will restore the previous standard by amending the National Labor Relations Act to define that a person may be considered a joint employer in relation to an employee only if such person directly, actually and immediately exercises significant control over the essential terms and conditions of employment. Due to the importance of this legislation to manufacturers, the NAM will be key-voting this measure. We are hopeful the Senate will do its part next and take up this important measure so that manufacturers and others can focus on job creation and running businesses, rather than trying to navigate the complicated labor policy landscape.

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

The Year of Living Dangerously

By | Labor Unions, Regulations | No Comments

At the end of 2011 it’s apparent that our economic recovery has been modest at best. A robust economy can be difficult to achieve under even the best circumstances, but it is made even more difficult when faced with a hostile environment for private enterprise. Manufacturers should be freed from unnecessarily burdensome regulations if they are to lead the economy. Efforts to foster economic growth and job creation have been stymied by an avalanche of overregulation from government agencies. A year-end review of the regulatory action taken by government agencies tells a sad story – one that manufacturers hope will reverse itself in the coming year.

This year alone we saw the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and other agencies place more obstacles in the way of job creation and insert themselves further into the day to day decisions of manufacturers. Here are just a few examples:

2011 was a banner year for overreach for the NLRB, including the ambush elections rule, the decision in the Specialty Healthcare case, and the now-resolved complaint against the Boeing Company. These actions from the board have the potential to create disruptive and adversarial relationships between employers and employees – a result that simply isn’t conducive to growth. The NAM is currently suing the NLRB to prevent the implementation of the poster rule, a rule that has been delayed repeatedly after requests by the judge to allow time for a decision in the case. An NAM survey about the NLRB’s agenda revealed that nearly 70 percent of respondents said the NLRB’s actions will hurt job creation.

The EPA has put forth new rules and regulations that come with high price tags and puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.  The costly and harmful Boiler MACT regulations checks in at $14.5 billion and threatens approximately 230,000 jobs. Sadly, it seems that the EPA may have outdone themselves with the Utility MACT rule – one of the most expensive regulations in EPA history –would have a draconian effect on power plants across the nation. According to the EPA’s own analysis, the Utility MACT regulation could cost more than $100 billion in the coming years and destroy an average of 183,000 jobs per year for the next decade.

The DOT pulled the rug out from under manufacturers that built their logistical operations based on the current trucking hours of service rule and have invested heavily in compliance since their implementation. Released just last week, the revised final rule will have a negative impact on manufacturers’ supply chains, distribution operations and productivity. To change these rules and limit the flexibility of manufacturers without sufficient reasoning is a mistake and will impede the ability of manufacturers to invest, grow and create jobs.

For manufacturers, a year living under the yoke of this overregulation is a year of living dangerously – hopefully Washington will come to its senses before it’s too late.

Ford Agreement with UAW Positive for Manufacturers

By | Economy, Labor Unions | 2 Comments

Today, Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have come to a tentative agreement that will result in thousands of quality manufacturing jobs at a critical time in our economy. Ford has stated they plan to add another 5,750 U.S. jobs in addition to the 7,000 they announced in January, which will in turn create a ripple effect of new jobs for other manufacturers and businesses throughout the supply chain. Many workers and their families will benefit from these additional jobs.

Both large and small manufacturers are essential to our economy and the recovery.  The United States is still the top manufacturing economy in the world and today’s announcement, which will create jobs, will make the manufacturing sector stronger.

Jay Timmons is president and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers.

Report from St. Paul: Card Check and Political Accountability

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An ad in Minnesota sponsored by the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, which the NAM helps to lead, is creating quite a buzz at the GOP Convention in the Twin Cities. The ad effectively points out that Senator Norm Coleman has been a staunch supporter of protecting the secret ballot in Union elections, while his Democratic opponent, Al Franken, certainly is not. (For the coalition’s Minnesota microsite, go here.)

The secret ballot issue (also known as “card check”) was a hot topic at a reception sponsored by McGuireWoods Consulting. Former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen was on hand. He is an articulate and passionate advocate of protecting the privacy of a worker’s ballot in union elections. A key spokesman on the issue, Governor Allen believes the issue will resonate with voters all across the country this November.

My long-time friend Mike Thomas, an executive with McGuireWoods, told me the secret ballot issue is reverberating around the Old Dominion like few others he has seen. Makes sense, since Virginia considers itself the Cradle of Democracy in the New World.

Virginia Republican Senate candidate Jim Gilmore, also in attendance, noted he has become aware that the card check issue is emerging as an issue in Congress and that he is a strong opponent of the card check legislation.

AFL-CIO Big Labor Bosses in Denver last week declared they will spend over $50 million to advance candidates who pledge to end the secret ballot in union elections and other Big Labor priorities. That’s why the NAM and many other business associations are working hard to defeat this misguided legislation. Its defeat will remain a key priority for manufacturers and the 14 million workers we represent in the next Congress.

(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons has been blogging from both the Democratic Convention in Denver and the Republican Convention in St. Paul. He brings not just expertise as trade association leader, but also as the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and chief of staff for Senator Allen, both during his time in Congress and as Virginia’s governor.)

Report from Denver: Big Labor Bosses Throw Their Weight Around

By | Labor Unions, Policy Experts | No Comments

(Note: NAM’s Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is at the National Democratic Convention in Denver this week, and he’ll be blogging events, adding his insights as both a veteran of Senate and campaign politics and as a top representative of the U.S. manufacturing economy.)

Big Labor Bosses are flexing their muscles at the Democratic Convention, proving how vital the dues they collect from unionized workers are to Democrat political objectives.

Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO political director, gave a sneak peak yesterday at the massive $53 million the union will unload to influence unsuspecting voters.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • One million pieces of mail going out today in four target states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
  • A goal of 10 million doors to be knocked on
  • Over 25 million pieces of mail before election day
  • 70 million phone calls
  • 250,000 volunteers

The focus of today’s mailer, according to Ackerman, is to build awareness of the Obama record in the Senate showing that “he is a partisan and will not cave.” (So much for letting the nominee move to the political center to attract independent voters.)

Overall, the AFL-CIO Big Labor Bosses say they will engage in 510 races from statehouses to the White House to “build a sustained movement,” including 61 U.S. House campaigns and 11 U.S. Senate campaigns.

Ackerman also indicated that the unions will deploy union lawyers and poll watchers on Election Day as part of a “voter protection program”. Given their focused determination to eliminate the secret ballot in union organizing efforts, voters might want to be a little concerned about the “protection” the Big Labor Bosses want to provide.