As has been our tradition, January is the time to predict the big developments in the coming year that will impact manufacturers. In January 2017, notwithstanding my “Lawyer’s Shrug,” I predicted Congress was unlikely to raise the minimum wage, but states and cities would attempt to do so; the National Labor Relations Board would turn back to Republican control and begin the roll-back of Obama-era advances; more multi-employer pension plans would become insolvent and put pressure on the Administration; and Congress would not give guidance on immigration reform, but the Administration would launch some high-profile workplace raids to pressure employers not to hire undocumented workers. In my opinion, three out of four is not bad. (No sign of pressure on the multi-employer pension front.) Manufacturing Law Predictions for 2017: Labor and Employment
Here is my take on 2018.
States and cities will continue to fill the void where Congress fails to act, leading to even more challenges for manufacturers with multi-state and multi-city operations.
The #MeToo movement will put increasing pressure on manufacturers to enact robust harassment prevention and investigation protocols. Anyone waiting for that pendulum to swing back may be in for a long wait.
The Trump Administration will rush forward with more Obama-era repeal efforts as quickly as possible, as Republicans in Congress face some pretty challenging public opinion numbers in anticipation of the November 2018 Congressional elections.
The National Labor Relations Board will seek to repeal the Quickie Election Rule and may implement additional procedural changes to the block the reimplementation of that Rule by Congressional action in future years.
Like all things, however, I am sure 2018 will give manufacturers some unexpected surprises. Keep your friends close and the employment lawyers closer!