Legislative Affairs

Legislative Updates

Here are the top political and regulatory stories that will directly impact your business and the merit shop.

House Committee Holds Hearing on NLRB “Ambush Elections” Rule

On March 5, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing to examine the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) reintroduction of a rule to dramatically shorten the election window during union organizing campaigns to as little as 10 days. This proposed change to election procedures, commonly referred to as “ambush elections,” is detrimental to both employees and management as it hastens the union election process and significantly cuts the time employees have to review all of the facts.

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IEC Submits Testimony on OSHA Circumvention of Regulatory Process

On Tuesday, February 4, IEC submitted written testimony for the record to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing “OSHA's Regulatory Agenda: Changing Long-Standing Policies Outside the Public Rulemaking Process.” The hearing focus was recent actions taken by OSHA to regulate by other means without issuing rules through the formal public comment and review process.

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Congress Approves $1.1 Trillion FY 2014 Spending Bill

The Senate voted 72 to 26 to pass a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund government operations through the end of Fiscal Year 2014. The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this week by a vote of 359 to 67.

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Senate Democrats Invoke “Nuclear Option” to Restrict Republican Filibusters of Nominees

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Issue of Employee Misclassification Heats Up in Congress, DOL

Congress Strikes Deal to End Government Shutdown, Raise Debt Ceiling

On Wednesday, the bipartisan so-called “Gang of Eight” of U.S. Senators unveiled their immigration overhaul package, a product of months of closed-door negotiations with business groups and big labor. The bill is intended to address the status of millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the country, provide new enforcement measures, and restructure our nation’s guest worker program. The proposal has received a lukewarm reception at best, with some business groups concerned about the bill’s ability to meet their workforce needs.

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Fall 2013 Legislative and Regulatory Outlook

Depending on the outcome of the current government shutdown precipitated by Congress’ failure to agree to a funding resolution to keep federal agencies running, previously projected legislative and regulatory actions could potentially be delayed or derailed by an ongoing fiscal crisis.  However, a number of items remain on Congress’ and agencies’ radars despite the impasse on funding.

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IEC Submits Hearing Statement on Career and Technical Education

This morning, IEC submitted a written statement for the hearing record to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on ways to improve career and technical education. The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education invited education system representatives – both from administration and from public schools – to testify on challenges perceived and possible solutions to overcome them in “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.”

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Senate Confirms Five New NLRB Members

Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate confirmed all five pending nominees to the NLRB. An agreement was reached between leaders of both parties earlier in July to move on the Administration’s picks as part of negotiations to avert Democrat-threatened filibuster reform.

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Senate Committee Votes to Advance Perez Nomination for DOL Secretary

In an expectedly party-line vote of 12-10, the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) endorsed Thomas Perez for the position of Secretary of Labor, vacated by Hilda Solis in January of this year.  The vote brings the White House nominee one step closer to approval for the cabinet position, with the full Senate set to vote on Perez in the coming weeks.

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IEC Legislative Brief: Potential Impacts of the Sequester on IEC Members

On March 1, 2013, federal agencies will see an across-the-board automatic spending reduction take effect. The initial cut of $85 billion will occur immediately and apply equally to defense and non-defense spending, with cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over a 10 year period. However, many large mandatory programs (such as Social Security, Medicaid, veterans benefits, and low-income services) are exempt from the cuts. As a result of these cuts, federal agencies may be forced to reprioritize, down-size projects and staff, and even terminate programs.

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Recess Appointments to the NLRB Unconstitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court ruled unanimously that President Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he appointed members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during a Senate recess. IEC actively opposed the appointments and applauds the Appeals Court's decision (Official case name is Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board).

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IEC Supports Congress' Challenge to the NLRB's New Election Rules

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate announced they will file a challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new union election rule. The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) supports this legislation and is requesting that Congress move quickly.
“Since its inception, the election rule has been severely flawed,” said IEC National Executive Vice President/CEO Thayer Long. “It was an attempt to fix a system that was not broken. The NLRB’s hastened union election process does not allow workers sufficient time to hear all options and make an informed decision. IEC supports the challenge to this rule.”
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Federal Court Delays NLRB Poster Requirement

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has granted an injunction regarding the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB's) mandate requiring employers to post a notice advising employees of certain rights under the National Labor Relations Act. This rule was scheduled to take effect April 30, 2012.
The Court of Appeals granted this injunction following a federal district court's decision in South Carolina late last week that ruled the NLRB overextended their authority in mandating such a requirement. The decision was in response to an appeal filed by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and the US Chamber of Commerce, both of which IEC is a member.
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U.S. District Court Overturns NLRB Union Election Rule

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB's) rule to significantly speed up the union election process. The highly controversial rule, which previously took effect on April 30, was opposed by IEC and many other groups. It is widely viewed as detrimental to both employees and management as it significantly shortens the amount of time employees have to gather facts and make an informed decision on if they want union representation.
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IEC Opposes the President's Recess Appointments to the NLRB

On January 4, 2012, in a constitutionally questionable move, President Obama recess appointed three Members to the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB). This announcement bypasses the U.S. Senate confirmation process for presidential nominations.
“We are extremely disappointed that the President has chosen to circumvent the American people’s ability to fully vet and consider these appointments,” said Thayer Long, IEC’s Executive Vice-President/CEO. “This move robs Congress with the responsibility and obligation to provide a check to the authority of the Executive Branch.” 
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