The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what's happening in Washington, D.C. could impact your business.
Mark Your Calendar. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Member Mark Gaston Pearce's term comes to end on Monday, August 27, 2018. Suffice it to say that most employers won't exactly be sorry to see him go. Indeed, during his years on the Board, Pearce was instrumental in rolling out some of the Board's most controversial initiatives, such as the "ambush" election regulations, the Specialty Healthcare decision that allowed unions to gerrymander bargaining units, and the dramatic expansion of the Board's joint-employer standard. Traditionally, presidents do not rush to fill minority-party vacancies at the Board, as this allows the majority to operate at a more efficient pace. Still, rumors persist that Pearce may receive a third appointment as part of a broader package deal of nominees. The Buzz will be watching closely. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial on the entire situation.
Judging McConnell's Effort. The Buzz has chronicled how nominees like Scott Mugno (nominated for assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)) and Cheryl Stanton (nominated for administrator of the Wage and Hour Division) have been waiting quite some time for a confirmation vote on the Senate floor. This is due, at least in part, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) strategic decision to prioritize the confirmations of judges to the federal bench. Well, it turns out that Sen. McConnell's strategy is paying off. Since President Trump's inauguration, the Senate has confirmed 26 federal circuit judges, and one in seven federal appeals court judges have been appointed by President Trump.
Jackhammers, Grinders, and Power Saws, Oh My! OSHA is providing employers with more resources and guidance on how to comply with its 2016 silica regulation. As part of the effort, OSHA has posted several videos on YouTube that demonstrate proper dust control methods for common construction tasks. The agency has also posted frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a slide presentation for the construction industry.
H-4 EAD Update. At the Buzz, we've mentioned how Regulatory Agenda forecasts are often aspirational in nature and that the target dates listed for regulatory actions are not often met. We've also discussed the administration's plans to rescind an Obama-era regulation that provides work authorization to spouses of H-1B visa holders. It should therefore come as no surprise that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week in a court filing that its proposal to rescind the H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) rule is further delayed, but that "[f]inal DHS clearance review of the proposed rule is ongoing, and senior levels of the Department's leadership are actively considering the terms of the NPRM [notice of proposed rulemaking] for approval." This doesn't sound all that different from the May status report, which claimed that the proposal " is currently in final DHS clearance." Even then, the proposal will have to be cleared by the Office of Management and Budget before being released to the public for comment. Back in May, the Buzz predicted that the June deadline for the proposal was really more like a June or July deadline. Now we're predicting closer to October or November.
No, Not That ACA. A Different ACA. Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today. This seems to be the driving philosophy behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) recently introduced Accountable Capitalism Act. The bill represents the Bay State senator's latest effort at Wall Street reform. Among other provisions, the bill would require larger companies to obtain an operating charter from the federal government that would require them to meet certain standards with respect to how they might impact employees, subsidiaries, customers, "the local and global environment," and other "societal factors." These new "United States corporations," as they would be called, would be overseen by a newly created Office of United States Corporations, which would be run by a director who would have the power to revoke charters. The bill would also require that 40 percent of corporate boards be elected by employees, and it directs the Securities and Exchange Commission and NLRB to issue rules governing these elections. And to make sure that the Secretary of Labor isn't left out, he or she would have the authority to issue civil fines as great as $100,000 for each day that a corporation's board is found to be out of compliance with the new standard. Sen. Warren has previously denounced the practice of U.S. corporations moving their headquarters overseas, yet the Buzz can't help but wonder if this is exactly what would happen if this bill were to become law.
Women's Suffrage. Last Saturday, August 18, marked the 98th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The anniversary marks the date on which Tennessee officially became the 36th state to accept the amendment and therefore complete the ratification process. Mississippi was the last state to ratify it, and it didn't do so until *squints at notes* 1984?!?
The Buzz will be on vacation next week and return on September 7.
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