Labor Law Round-Up

February 1, 2011

Several events have been underway in relation to labor laws and their impact on small businesses, including continued activity at the National Labor Relations Board and a recently withdrawn proposed regulation from the Department of Labor.

Most recently, President Obama re-nominated Craig Becker, who gained his seat from a controversial 2010recess appointment. His recess appointment is scheduled to expire at the end of 2011. NSBA and other business groups have been critical of Mr. Becker’s nomination because of his ties to unions. NSBA will continue to oppose this confirmation.

President Obama also recently nominated NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe E. Solomon to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.   The White House indicated that it also will nominate Member Brian Hayes’ Chief Counsel Terence F. Flynn to fill the currently vacant fifth Board seat.

The NLRB continues to churn out union biased decisions since the five-member Board tilts in favor of unions. Recently, the Board issued a proposed rule for public comment requiring businesses under the National Labor Relations Act to post notice in the workplace of workers’ rights under the Act. Click here to read more and to send in comments.

Many small businesses have voiced concern over the proposed rule, particularly in light of President Obama’s recent Executive Order, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Overview,” which suggests an administration effort aimed to streamline rules and reduce burdens on small businesses.

Fortunately, a Jan. 25 temporary withdrawal of a proposed ergonomic rule by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which would have required employers to report work-related musculoskeletal disorders, seems to be more in line with the administration’s effort to reduce regulatory burdens on small business. In fact, the DOL explicitly noted that the rule was pulled in order to seek greater input from small businesses on the impact of the proposal and will do so through outreach in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

NSBA will continue to monitor labor law initiatives in the administration and on Capitol Hill, and work to ensure that proposed changes do not negatively impact small businesses ability to create jobs and improve the nation’s economy.