It will be months, if not longer, before employers learn how President-elect Trump’s victory will impact the labor- and employment-law environment. Looking ahead, however, and given that the Republicans hold a majority in both chambers of Congress, employers may witness a radical makeover to that landscape. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the labor and employment changes we may see with a new Republican administration.
National Labor Relations Board
One of the most significant changes could come in the form of a conservative, pro-employer shake-up at the NLRB. The NLRB is supposed to be composed of five members, but only three members currently serve. Members serve five-year, staggered terms. Board Member Philip Miscimara’s (R) term expires on December 16, 2017; Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce’s (D) term expires in August 2018; and Member Lauren McFerren’s (D) term expires in December 2019. Thus, President Trump must wait until those terms expire before nominating new members.
However, there are currently two vacant seats at the NLRB. Harry Johnson’s (R) term expired in August 2015, but President Obama has not nominated a replacement. In addition, Kent Hirozowa’s (D) term ended on August 27, 2016, but the Senate has not acted on his renomination. Thus, President Trump, with the help of a cooperative Republican Senate, could have a chance early-on to leave his mark on the NLRB by replacing Member Hirozowa with a more conservative, pro-employer nominee. This could have a major impact on such issues as joint-employer status, micro bargaining units, the Board’s new “Persuader Rule,” and the Board’s new rules on “quickie elections.”
There are numerous other employment and labor-related issues that likely will be impacted by a Trump presidency. A Trump administration also could address, and in some cases nullify, some of President Obama’s Executive Orders (EO), such as EO 13706 (paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors); EO 13673 (Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces); and EO 11246 (Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).
MSEC will continue to monitor developments as they occur.