Regulatory Wrap-Up
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Regulatory Wrap-Up

The latest updates on legislation impacting businesses across the nation.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Wages

Federal – House Democrats believe they have the votes to pass a $15/hr minimum wage and plan to hold a vote in early July. The legislation also includes an annual cost-of-living adjustment and eliminates the tip credit.

Delaware  Legislation to raise the minimum wage has stalled and will likely not be voted on this year. Lawmakers are concerned that the mandated wage increase to their own employees would cost the state millions of dollars. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn June 30. 

Michigan – The governor filed a lawsuit contending that the Republican-led minimum wage law passed during the 2018 lame duck session was unconstitutional because it significantly altered an initiative passed by the voters.

New Hampshire  A house and senate conference committee agreed on compromise legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12/hr by 2022. It also increases the cash wage for tipped employees to $5.40/hr by 2022. The governor is still likely to veto the final package. 

McDonald’s  The reputational assault on the company by Democratic hopefuls continued this week. Sen. Kamala Harris joined a protest against the company in Las Vegas while a McDonald’s employee will be highlighted at a forum of Democratic presidential candidates in South Carolina. 

Paid Leave

New Hampshire – House and senate negotiators finalized the state budget and stripped proposed language regarding a state family and medical leave program. The issue appears dead for the year but will certainly be revisited in 2020.

Scheduling

Chicago – The city council is expected to vote on a restrictive scheduling bill next week. The industry is working to amend the bill to include a voluntary standby list and a number of other exemptions.

 

Labor Policy

Minnesota – The legislature passed and the governor signed a substantial expansion of laws related to wage theft. The language was included in the state’s omnibus budget and in addition to providing new funding for enforcement, it criminalizes the withholding of wages or payment.

New York – The assembly passed legislation making it easier for employees to pursue wage theft claims against employers. Action now moves to the senate. Among other provisions, the legislation would allow for an “employee lien,” allowing an employee to put a temporary lien on an employer’s property. The governor has indicated his support for the measure.

New York – Both the assembly and senate passed legislation to prevent sexual harassment. The bill lowers the standards for what is deemed to be sexual harassment to make it easier for victims to come forward, as well as bans non-disclosure agreements by employers in cases of sexual harassment. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for reporting to three years.

Immigration – President Trump announced at the first rally of his reelection campaign that next week Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will conduct a sweeping national raid. At this juncture, it’s unclear what the raid will look like or the impact it will have but expect the administration to continue to focus on this issue into 2020.

Apprenticeships – The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the Labor Department’s proposed rule related to apprenticeships which is now subject to a 90-day comment period before the agency can begin finalizing the rule. Despite continued delays, the initiative is a stated priority of the administration.

California – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Teamsters union announced their opposition to Uber and Lyft’s proposed compromise on pending independent contractor legislation. The unions announced the launch of Gig Workers Rising and are lending their organizing and campaign expertise to assist rideshare drivers and push for the adoption of state legislation that would reclassify many independent contractors in the state as employees.

Little Big Burger – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has set the parameters of the proposed bargaining unit and the date for the burger chain union election. The election will apply to the company’s Oregon locations, as the company preferred; however, the date of the election was delayed to July 1. The vote will be conducted by mail and the results will be tallied July 23.

Taxes

San Francisco, CA – The Board of Supervisors released the ballot language for the CEO pay initiative that will be put in front to the voters this coming Nov. If passed, the city would collect up to a .6% tax on companies whose CEO pay exceeds median pay for other employees by a 600:1 ratio or more. The funds would be earmarked for the establishment of mental health treatment facilities throughout the city.

Packaging 

California – One of the more expansive recycling bills in the country is moving through the legislative process, passing the assembly and now heading to the senate for consideration. It would require that all single-use packaging in the state be recyclable or compostable by 2023. It also sets a recycling rate requirement for all single-use plastic products, rising to 75% by 2030.

Vermont – The governor signed legislation giving Vermont the strongest packaging laws in the country. Under the new law, retailers are prohibited from providing single-use plastic bags at checkout as well as plastic stirrers. Paper carryout bags will be allowed for a fee of 10 cents each.

Key Takeaways

  • The pending unionization vote at Little Big Burger needs to be watched closely. If the union is successful in organizing the company, the momentum for the labor community, especially in light of the assault on McDonald’s by the Democratic establishment, will be significant. Brands need to pay attention and prepare for a renewed focus on organizing.
  • Companies should strongly consider participating in the burgeoning industry apprenticeship programs. Not only can they immediately benefit companies on the labor side, widespread participation by major brands would help the industry shift the national conversation around our business model from minimum wage and other related issues to opportunity, first jobs and workforce development – a narrative the industry can win.

 

The Regulatory Wrap-Up is presented by Align Public Strategies. Click here to learn how Align can provide your brand with the counsel and insight you need to navigate the policy and political issues impacting retail.

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