by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
While much of Washington’s attention centered on President Donald Trump’s tax reform, his appointees to the nation’s top federal labor arbiter reversed nearly all of the Obama administration’s major pro-union initiatives.
The three-member Republican majority at the National Labor Relations Board reversed course on a number of the Obama board’s most controversial rulings as Chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term ended on Friday.
The about-face from one of the top federal regulators will have major effects on the workplace heading into 2018. Employers will face a decidedly more pro-business atmosphere on a number of issues from workplace rules to union organizing parameters and liability guidelines for contractors.
The NLRB’s decisions, while a major boost for employers, should not be seen through the same prism of other aspects of the president’s de-regulation agenda. While Trump has used the power of the pen to advance pipeline expansions and rein in regulators at Environmental Protection Agency, labor policy has largely focused on resetting long-standing precedent that Obama’s labor board overturned.
“What the board has now done is restore some of the norms [of labor law]. The radical changes all occurred over the previous eight years,” said Rick Grimaldi, a member of the Labor Relations Practice Group at Fisher Phillips.