The Global Manufacturer

Six Issues Employers Should Be Thinking About After the Election

Glad the election season is almost over?

Well, it's not time to relax yet. In fact, employers will be confronting a number of important matters no matter who wins today's vote. Jay Krupin, a partner with law firm BakerHostetler and an expert on labor-management issues, says manufacturers should keep their eyes on these six issues:

The future of the National Labor Relations Board-- The unions haven't forgotten the promises Obama made to them in his first campaign. And while the president has had to focus on the pressing issues concerning the economy, it's likely he would turn back to the unions in his second term. That would involve continuation of the NLRB and their more pro-union stance. This is likely to include a revisit to the Employee Free Choice Act, and refocus on time periods for union elections and employee notifications.

New action from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- If Obama remains in power, one of the first changes you should expect out of the EEOC is the addition of sexual orientation as a protected category. Remember, Obama demonstrated his commitment to equal pay by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law as his first bill as president.

A growing public sector workforce -- In light of Superstorm Sandy, areas like New Jersey and New York will see an uptick in public works projects. In fact, there will likely be an emphasis on public infrastructure projects (buildings, tunnels, roads) across the country. Since these projects will employ a large public sector workforce, it's likely there will be a need to revisit laws dealing with the construction and contractor processes.

Wage & hour issues -- Under the current administration we should expect to see greater enforcement of wage & hour issues. Obama will take on a more aggressive approach with employers in order to maximize the return for employees. We can also expect to see more enforcement and promulgation from the Department of Labor.

Pension challenges for our aging population -- Either candidate will have to deal with our nation's aging population. This means addressing unfunded, rehabilitating and critical status pension plans. Employers should expect modification of pension laws across the board.

The roll out of health care reform -- If the current administration stays put, employers should be prepared for the wide range of health care changes that will be put into place and will certainly impact their workforce. If Romney is elected president, we can expect to see the rule modified greatly.

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