Representative Bradley Bryne (R-Ala.), Chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, asking it to address “troubling initiatives” by the NLRB that “overturn decades of well-settled law and together would upset the historic and appropriate balance between employer and employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).” Nearly 50 Representatives signed the letter. The first issue the letter urged the Appropriations Committee to address in its FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill was the NLRB’s decision to overturn the traditional joint employer standard in Browning-Ferris Industries. The letter also encouraged the Appropriations Committee to address the NLRB’s ambush elections rule, a rule that shortens the time between the filing of a certification petition and the actual conducting of an NLRB secret ballot election. According to the letter, the rule drastically alters election procedures, severely restricts an employer’s ability to provide employees with the resources they need to come to an informed decision prior to a union election, limits due process rights, and violates employee privacy rights. The letter also highlighted the NLRB’s decision in Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, stating that the decision “fundamentally alters organizing rules by permitting unions to gerrymander bargaining units.” Of particular concern to the Representatives was the potential burden the decision imposed upon employers by requiring employers to manage multiple bargaining units of similarly situated employees.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will make union dues and agency shop fees fully tax deductible. The bill also provides $160 million in funding for wage increases for direct care workers in private human service organizations that come under the purview of the state’s Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The funding will go into effect over a two-year period and will result in an average wage increase of 3.25 percent per year. The bill also contains a provision that requires real estate developers to pay prevailing wages to construction and building service workers in order to receive a tax break. In addition, the bill alters the state’s current workers’ compensation system by establishing a 2.5-year limit on benefits for injured workers who receive temporary benefits, while providing exceptions to those injured workers who need to continue receiving temporary benefits beyond the 2.5-year limit. According to state representatives, the cap will save employers an estimated $350 million per year. The bill also aids injured workers who will now receive extended benefits if they are at least 75 percent disabled, as compared to the current law, which requires 80 percent disability to receive extended benefits.
The Texas Senate passed a bill that requires workers under the age of 18 to receive parental consent before they are permitted to join a union. The bill is currently awaiting review in the Texas House.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) is expected to sign a bill that prohibits state and local governments from requiring bidders on public projects to use union labor or pay union wages, and forbids union contractors from receiving preferential treatment. Under the bill, local governments who violate the law would face state funding cuts. If enacted, the bill would not only give the state attorney general and local prosecutors enforcement authority, but it would also provide a private right of action for wrongly excluded contractors to pursue damages.
President Trump announced his intent to designate current NLRB Acting Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra to the position of NLRB Chairman and re-nominate Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Acting Chair Heather L. MacDougall for another term.