Can’t see the images? View it online. February 16, 2021
Labor, Legal & Regulatory Policy Newsletter

NAM Labor and Employment Policy Committee,

I hope you were able to join us last week for the bi-annual meeting of the Labor and Employment Policy Committee. We discussed the NAM’s policy priorities and heard very informative remarks from David Cleary, Republican Staff Director of the Senate HELP Committee. If you would like to discuss the Labor and Employment Committee’s upcoming work, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

We have many updates for you, both from Capitol Hill and the Labor Department. Let’s get started:

PRO Act Introduced
The Protecting the Right to Organize Act was introduced for the second consecutive Congress by Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) with 200 cosponsors in the House and 40 cosponsors in the Senate. As readers may remember, the PRO Act contains dozens of misguided policy wishes that would fundamentally change America’s workplaces in ways not seen in generations.

To offer a brief snapshot, here are a few of the most concerning provisions of the bill:

  • remove workers’ right to a secret ballot and institute “card check;”
  • hand over confidential employee data to unions without consent;
  • eliminate state Right to Work laws and allow forced union dues;
  • remove workers’ right to work independently by instituting California’s AB-5 worker classification law;
  • remove the ban on secondary boycotts;
  • allow intermittent strikes; and
  • institute numerous Obama-era labor policies, including joint-employer, ambush elections, micro-unions and the persuader rule.

The NAM will continue to oppose the PRO Act because it does not recognize the realities of modern manufacturing facilities. Simply put, the PRO Act is an attempt to create adverse relationships between employees and employers. The NAM will push Congress to reject the PRO Act and we will be sharing numerous resources with members, including fact sheets, webinars and grassroots materials.

President's COVID-19 Package Moves Through Congress
The NAM is continuing to pay close attention to the President’s proposed COVID-19 relief package as it moves through Congress in a budget reconciliation package (learn more on the reconciliation process). House Committees have advanced multiple parts of the package, including the Education and Labor Committee that included a $15 minimum wage increase but did not include paid leave mandates like we saw in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The House Ways and Means Committee, the tax writing experts, advanced their portion of the package with a tax credit for some businesses that voluntarily provide paid leave.

The NAM will continue to push the recommendations outlined in the American Renewal Action Plan to build upon our prior accomplishments.

DOL Secretary Confirmation Hearing
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the nominee to lead the Department of Labor, faced questions from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in his confirmation hearing last week. Mayor Walsh answered cordial questions from Republican and Democratic Senators, with particular focus on workplace safety, workforce development, labor relations, worker classification and the PRO Act. The Committee later voted 18 – 4 to advance the Mayor’s nomination to the Senate floor, where he is expected to be confirmed as the next Secretary of Labor.

By looking at Mayor Walsh’s prepared remarks, as well as his answers to questions in the hearing, we know that he will be focused on “protecting workers with fair pay, healthcare and unemployment benefits, safety in the workplace and a secure retirement” and “the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining.” The NAM remains committed to working with Mayor Walsh and the rest of President Biden’s cabinet to keep workers safe, defeat COVID-19 and create the conditions for the manufacturing community to lead America’s economic recovery.

In addition to Mayor Walsh, the President announced that he will nominate Judy Su, the Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor, which is an important position in any federal agency.

Representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continued to say they are in the process of determining whether to issue a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) by March 15, in accordance with President Biden’s January 21 executive action. Your host and members of the NAM team recently participated in a business-focused listening session with OSHA, in which we discussed the concerns that NAM members have shared with us. Our comments focused on the unintended consequences of a nationwide standard, including the manufacturing and supply of essential goods and services, the need for workplace flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and the consideration of vaccinated workers in any forthcoming standards.

The NAM will continue our outreach and advocacy to OSHA to express the significant concern manufacturers have with an ETS, which is still likely to be issued. Please reach out to me if you would like to share your company’s experience with any of the states that have already issued an ETS.

ICYMI, OSHA updated its guidance for employers to fight COVID-19 at the workplace. The new guidance does not include any new mandates but recommends involving employees in developing a COVID-19 prevention plan and reiterates the importance of wearing facial coverings and social distancing.

NAM Requests Incentives Guidance from EEOC
The NAM joined 40 business groups to request guidance from the EEOC on what incentives may be offered to employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The NAM has heard concerns from manufacturers that the laws covering incentives are not specific to COVID-19 and it is imperative that businesses be provided flexibility to offer modest incentives to employees to take the vaccine.

This letter builds upon NAM outreach to the EEOC to provide employers with clear and thorough guidance relating to COVID-19. As a reminder, the EEOC issued guidance on mandatory employee vaccination programs in which the EEOC confirmed an employer’s right to mandate vaccines as long as equal employment protections are kept.

NLRB Rescinds Trump-era Memorandums
Peter Sung Ohr, Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, rescinded several memorandums issued during the Trump Administration relating to handbook policies, union dues, neutrality agreements and others. You can read the memorandum here.

Quick Reads

As always, thanks for reading and please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.


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Please contact NAM Director, Labor and Employment Policy Drew Schneider at [email protected].

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