Today’s News & Commentary — July 15, 2016
Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice-president. Unions are unlikely to be happy with the choice. Pence’s administration successfully defended in court Indiana’s right-to-work law, passed by Pence’s predecessor. Pence also repealed the state’s common wage for construction projects. But Pence departs from Trump’s views on one of the issues dearest to Trump. Pence supports the TPP. In fact, as governor Pence urged Indiana’s members of Congress to support “fast-track” trade negotiation authority for President Obama. Pence’s record shows his commitment to free trade in other contexts. Before he became governor, Pence was a member of Congress, where he voted for every free trade agreement that came before him.
The House Appropriations Committee spent Wednesday and Thursday marking up the labor and health spending bill that emerged from subcommittee. The House bill includes provisions that block many major NLRB or Labor Department rulings of the past few years, including the DOL’s new overtime rule, the DOL’s new fiduciary rule, the NLRB’s new joint employer standard, and the NLRB’s rule to speed up union elections. It also seeks to allow H-2B visa employers to use their own private wage surveys to determine the prevailing wage they must pay workers.
The NLRB will begin reporting allegations of labor law violations by government contractors to a federal database, pursuant to President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, signed on July 31, 2014. The NLRB will not report just any unfair labor practice charge however; it will only consider the allegations of a NLRB regional director. The NLRB also will not report the charge if the employer settles the case before the issuance of a complaint. Contracting agencies will use the federal database to assess a contractor’s eligibility to bid on new contracts or to continue work on future contracts valued at more than $500,000.