I am a really big fan of the NPR radio show, “Car Talk,” where two Boston auto mechanics took callers’ questions and tried to answer them.  Since the November 8 election, I have freely adapted one of their signature phrases – I call it the “Manufacturers’ Lawyers’ Shrug.”  Basically, when I attend any event and someone asks me what will happen with labor and employment policy in the next four years under the Trump Administration, I simply shrug my shoulders and mutter, “I have no idea!”

When asked, “what is the government planning to do with the multi-employer pension plans facing insolvency, some as early as February 2017?”  I shrug.

When it is said, “Do you think the NLRB will overturn the ‘Quickie Election Rule’?”  I shrug.

“How does the Amended White Collar Exception Rule look going forward?”  Another shrug.

During the campaign, neither candidate addressed these or numerous other policy issues.  The Trump Administration will hit the ground with a broad range of issues and can be expected to make some unpredictable choices.

For those looking to try to plan for 2017 and beyond, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has published a comprehensive set of recommended policy changes.  Read the Report.  Among other things, the Chamber recommends:

  • Re-examination of the NLRB’s new (and more strict) joint employer test;
  • Repeal of the NLRB’s “Quickie Election Rule;”
  • Overturning of the “micro-bargaining units” approach of Specialty Healthcare;
  • Overturning of the line of NLRB cases banning the waiver of class actions in arbitration (the D. R. Horton Rule);
  • Overturning the NLRB’s decision making unlawful employer policies prohibiting the use of company email systems to for unauthorized purposes (the Purple Communications Rule);
  • Revision of the standards for deferring to arbitration decisions under the NLRB’s Collyer decision and its progeny;
  • Adoption of new rules mandating that unions return employee signed authorization cards on demand and honor employee “do not call” and “do not contact” instructions;
  • Rules banning unions from accessing private property without the property owners’ permission; and
  • Rules strengthening the principles of federal preemption of state labor laws in conflict with employer rights under the NLRA.

Even if only a few of these broad changes come to pass, 2017 promises to be another “Year of Change.”