- January 2017
For the first time in eight years, this staff report is being written without outlining how you should be preparing for a pro-labor policy and regulatory onslaught. Rather, the business community is actively working with the Trump transition team to develop plans to reverse the pro-labor agenda of the Obama Labor Department and NLRB.
Much of this is still up in the air as of this writing, so we providing today only a broad overview. Specifics on the regulatory agenda are in a separate staff report.
The Department of Labor:
President-elect Trump’s naming of Andy Puzder to be Secretary of Labor is seen as a very positive sign that we will see an aggressive effort to restore balance at the Department of Labor and end its inappropriate and extreme pro-labor agenda. Mr. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, a franchise that includes Hardees’, Carl’s Jr., Green Burrito and Red Burrito restaurant brands. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association, a trade association with which NAW actively partners in many DC issue coalitions.
Mr. Puzder has been a vocal critic of Obama labor and regulatory policies, especially the “Joint Employer” standard which targeted franchise organizations. As a result of his outspoken criticism of the pro-labor agenda, his nomination will be aggressively opposed by labor’s advocates on Capitol Hill. His nomination is likely to be confirmed by the Senate under the post-nuclear option process imposed by Harry Reid’s Democratic majority. (see explanation in Staff Report on the first 100 days)
The Board is a five-member independent agency, on which there must be at least three seated members for them to conduct business. There are presently only three members, which leaves two open seats that President-elect Trump can fill immediately. If he acts promptly, two new GOP-named members would join current GOP member Phil Miscamarra to form a Republican three-to-two Board majority. In addition, the powerful office of General Counsel will become vacant in October, giving the president the opportunity to further strengthen GOP control of the Board.
There has been no indication from the Trump transition team on how quickly they plan to move on NLRB nominations, but a strong effort is being made by the business coalition in Washington to urge the incoming Administration to act quickly. Further, a consensus is forming around potential nominees for the open positions so that there should be no need for a delay to search for possible nominees.
Getting a GOP majority confirmed and working quickly is a huge priority for the business community. In a recent column, former GOP Board member Brian Hayes cited a study that “has estimated that in the seven or so years of its existence, a majority on the Obama Board has collectively overturned more than 4,000 years of existing NLRB precedent.” It will take a new GOP majority many months to reverse and unravel the amount of damage done by the Obama Boards.
North Carolina GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx will be the new Chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee. Mrs. Foxx is very much a friend of business, can be expected to fight to roll back the Obama Administration’s pro-labor agenda, and has named the Persuader and Overtime rules as prime targets for repeal.
In the Senate, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will continue as Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP). Senator Alexander can also be counted on to promote a pro-business agenda and to continue to take the lead in efforts to repeal those rules that are within their jurisdiction to tackle.