• AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the union is working with the White House and Department of Labor to try to find solutions to “inadvertent” problems in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). According to Trumka, the ACA was a “major step in the right direction,” but still needs to be “tweaked.” Trumka identified certain unintended consequences of the law – for example, some companies have begun cutting the hours of work for their employees to less than 30, since the law considers anyone working 30 hours a week to be a full-time employee for whom the employer must provide health care benefits. Another issue Trumka identified is a lack of subsidies for workers covered under Taft-Hartley health plans through which many union-represented workers receive coverage. Trumka also said that the labor movement expects that new Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will enforce the law and protect workers’ rights, and will be “more aggressive” than former Secretary Hilda Solis.
  • The Senate by unanimous consent confirmed three nominees to the National Mediation Board. Current member Harry Hoglander (D) and current Chair Linda Purlacha (D) were confirmed alongside new member Nicholas Geale (R). Geale most recently served as director of oversight and investigations for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), ranking minority member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • President Obama withdrew his May 23 nomination of Lafe E. Solomon as general counsel of the NLRB and nominated former union lawyer Richard R. Griffin for the four-year term in his place. Griffin, along with Sharon Block, had served as a recess-appointed member of the Board since January 2012, but the President recently withdrew their nominations for Board positions. Solomon will stay on as acting general counsel until Griffin is confirmed and will then retire from the agency.
  • The NLRB announced that Acting General Counsel Lafe E. Solomon and Mexico’s Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora recently signed a letter of agreement providing for cooperative efforts to provide Mexican workers in the U.S. and their employers information, guidance, and access to education regarding their rights and responsibilities under the NLRA. Solomon signed the agreement on behalf of the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel and Medina Mora signed on behalf of Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the agreement, the parties anticipate developing procedures that will enable Mexican consulates to assist the NLRB in locating witnesses in Mexico, and to refer complaints by Mexican employees to an appropriate NLRB office.
  • The NLRB announced that it has created a new Division of Legal Counsel at its Washington, D.C., headquarters office. In addition, it has transferred some of its existing branches and sections to three newly created branches within the new division: the Ethics, Employment and Administrative Law Branch; the Contempt, Compliance and Special Litigation Branch; and the Freedom of Information Act Branch. The NLRB has said that the consolidation of offices “eliminates duplication of functions” and will “improve the delivery of services.”