07.19.17

Murray Questions Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt to Break Promises to Workers, Roll Back Protections

In a speech yesterday, Vice President Pence said Trump Administration was working to roll back worker protections

 

Murray: I am writing to “seek clarity about how the Administration’s latest broken promise to workers will impact our nation’s workforce”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, sent a letter today to Vice President Mike Pence raising concerns with comments he made yesterday about rolling back worker protections. Murray asked for clarification on what rule Vice President Pence was referring to so workers can understand what rights the Trump Administration is actively trying to take away from them.

 

“I am writing to express my concern with the Administration’s apparent plans to roll back important worker protections, and seek clarity about how the Administration’s latest broken promise to workers will impact our nation’s workforce,” wrote Senator Murray.

 

At the National Retail Federation’s Retail Advocates Summit yesterday, Vice President Pence said the Trump Administration was rolling back a joint employer rule. Joint employer standards ensure businesses are accountable to their workers for working conditions and terms of employment.  The comments are of particular concern given that two Republican nominees to the independent National Labor Relations Board are pending before the Senate and have stated that they will not prejudge employment issues, including joint employer standards, until a case is brought before the board.

 

The full text of the letter is below and a PDF can be found HERE.

 

July 19, 2017

 

The Honorable Mike Pence

Vice President

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1650 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20502

 

Dear Vice President Pence:

 

In a speech you gave at the National Retail Federation’s “Retail Advocates Summit” on July 18, 2017, you stated, “as we speak, our administration is rolling back the joint employer rule.”[1] I am writing to express my concern with the Administration’s apparent plans to roll back important worker protections, and seek clarity about how the Administration’s latest broken promise to workers will impact our nation’s workforce.

 

The concept of “joint employment” is a long accepted doctrine within labor and employment law. It is utilized by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the National Labor Relations Board to ensure that workers receive all of the rights and protections afforded to them by the law and that all responsible employers are aware of and accountable for compliance with their obligations.[2]  However, none of the agencies that utilize a joint employer standard have created any new rule regarding joint employment in recent years. Moreover, given that two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are currently pending before the Senate and have repeatedly assured the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee that they have not pre-judged issues that could come before them, including how they might rule on issues such as how the NLRB interprets the joint employer standard, your comments are of concern.  

 

To ensure that workers understand which of their rights you are currently working to roll back, please provide additional details regarding what rule you were referring to and whether you or anyone at the White House has spoken to either Marvin Kaplan or William Emanuel regarding the NLRB’s joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.

 

I look forward to your response no later than August 2, 2017. If you have questions about this request, please contact Joe Shantz or Carly Rush with my HELP Committee Staff at 202-224-0767. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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[1] Vice President Mike Pence, Address at National Retail Foundation Retail Advocates Summit (July 18, 2017), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-zOdTt7N60.

[2] Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division “Fact Sheet # 35: Joint Employment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) (1/2016), available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs35.htm.