Today’s News & Commentary — February 10, 2016

According to Reuters, the U.S. Department of Labor will delay the Obama-era fiduciary rule for 180 days and seek public comment on the rule after President Trump ordered the DOL to review the fiduciary rule last week.  The DOL has sent a letter of proposed rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget that will push back enactment of the rule from April 10 to 180 days later. The DOL has also requested another round of public comments on the rule.  The fiduciary rule elevates all brokers and other financial advisers who work with retirement plans to the level of a fiduciary to their clients, making them legally obligated to act in their clients’ best interests.

According to a Medium post by a man claiming to be a factory worker at Tesla’s only plant, Tesla factory workers have reached out to UAW to seek assistance with forming a union.  Bergen Kelly, a labor union consultant based in San Francisco, sent the Medium post to Bloomberg.  Neither UAW nor Tesla have confirmed or denied the story.  In an emailed statement, a Tesla spokesperson said, “We have a long history of engaging directly with our employees on the issues that matter to them, and we will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do.”  In response to the allegations, Elon Musk claimed that the man behind the Medium post, Jose Moran, was paid by UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union.  He criticized the UAW’s alleged attempt to unionize the plant as “morally outrageous.”  “Tesla is the last car company left in California, because costs are so high. The UAW killed NUMMI and abandoned the workers at our Fremont plant in 2010.  They have no leg to stand on.”  Tesla’s Fremont, CA-based plant is the site of the former NUMMI factory, a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. Workers at NUMMI were represented by UAW.

Wisconsin state senators approved on Wednesday a bill that no longer requires government contractors to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects.  Republicans backed the bill, claiming that the measure will protect taxpayers from overspending on projects.  The bill will still allow local elected officials to use project labor agreements.

The Iowa bill that would enact “sweeping changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining laws” has passed Senate committee 7-4 and is headed to the Senate floor.  All Republicans voted in favor and all Democrats voted against.  The legislation is expected to be debated and voted on by the Senate next week.  OnLabor reported on the bill earlier this week here.