On March 27, President Trump signed legislation striking down the U.S. Department of Labor’s so-called blacklisting rule, which would have given federal agencies greater latitude in denying federal contracts to companies with labor-law violations. A federal judge placed the rule on hold last fall, but congressional lawmakers moved forward with a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act—passing the House 236-197 and Senate 49-48—that invalidates the blacklisting rule and prevents a future administration from issuing a similar order or rules in the future. For more information, view our client briefing “President Trump Signs Bill Revoking “Blacklisting Rule.”     

On March 7, President Donald Trump met with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to discuss trade policy and infrastructure.      

Under a fast-moving House bill, the Official Time Reform Act (H.R. 1364), federal employees who spend 80 percent of their time during the course of a year on union duties would not get credit for that time for purposes of their retirement benefits. The bill would also restrict union officials from receiving recruitment, retention, and relocation bonuses from agencies. The American Federation of Government Employees warned that the measure would take away AFGE’s ability to defend employees who face retaliation, and Democratic House members say the bill could harm whistleblowers at federal agencies.    

The Wisconsin Assembly passed Senate Bill 3, which will bar state and local government units from establishing bid specifications that require contractors to use unionized labor. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) is widely expected to sign the bill.     

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (D) vetoed a bill (SB 1) that would have updated the state’s right-to-work law, the Workplace Freedom Act. The Workplace Freedom Act was preliminarily enjoined by the state’s courts last August. In his veto message, the governor said that he was not going to sign the bill because of the pending litigation.     

S.B. 13, which would end Texas’ practice of collecting public employee membership dues for specific labor unions, has passed the Texas Senate and is headed to the House. S.B. 13 would apply to state employees, including teachers and corrections officers, but exclude police officers, firefighters, and other emergency first responders.