Can The Election Impact Your Company?

We are inundated with political news put forth from countless sources. This presidential election offered eye-opening aspects of our government rules that we may not have learned about in school.

With an eye on our clients, we know every presidential election can bring sweeping changes to how the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is interpreted and enforced. Many people believe this Act only applies to unions. However, most employees in the private sector are covered under the NLRA.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the body that oversees the NLRA, is an agency of the federal government. Its parent agency is the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The Board has five members and primarily acts as a quasi-judicial body in deciding cases. The President appoints board members with Senate consent. They have five-year terms, with the term of one member expiring each year.

The NLRB is currently composed of three Republican members and one Democrat, with one vacant seat. If President-elect Biden is able to fill the vacant seat, his first opportunity to flip control of the Board in his favor will be in August 2021, when one Trump appointee’s seat expires.

Some people believe Obama had an overly expansive, pro-employee view of NLRA practices. Alternatively, others feel that Trump has systematically rolled back workers’ rights.

In 2017, the US Chamber of Commerce, a business-oriented lobbying group, put forth a list of 10 legislative changes they wanted from the NLRA to give business owners back power and weaken workers’ rights. While under the Trump administration, all 10 were approved, and even more decisions were made favoring business owners.

Joe Biden recently referred to himself as “the strongest labor president supporters have ever had.” What could his position mean for employers? We can expect pro-employee changes in the fall or winter of 2021. Issues including overtime, paid time off and union organizing may be approached differently over the next four years.

Most employers work hard and make sincere efforts to keep pace with the changing workplace and culture while ensuring they can operate successfully. We work with our clients to ensure preventive employee relations is aligning the needs of employers and employees through direct and proactive communication and problem solving.

Cana Tighe