September 27, 2020

Washington Wire: Manufacturing Day Events Draw Record Numbers


Manufacturing Day Events Draw Record Numbers  

There were a record number - over 3,000 - Manufacturing Day events held across the country this year. This growth in participation is reflective of the strength of the sector and the ongoing need to recruit a new generation of skilled workers to fill open positions.
NTMA and PMA continued their long-standing support for the national day dedicated to building awareness. Members of both associations opened their doors for tours and participated in other educational and inspirational events. For example, members of the NWPA Chapter of NTMA joined in a local event which hosted over 2,000 students, parents, educators and community members. The Meadville Tribune ran a front-page article and an opinion piece featuring NWPA and NTMA leaders on Manufacturing Day and other recruitment efforts.
Also, several PMA member companies including Enterprise Tool & Die hosted bus-loads of students at their facilities. Joining the students for tours and discussions were Senator Peter MacGregor (R-MI) and Walker, MI Mayor Mark Huizenga. Pictures of the event were posted on the One Voice Twitter account - @OneVoiceforMfg.



OSHA Releases Memorandum in Support of Safety Incentive Programs/Post-incident Drug Testing
In a victory for One Voice, on October 11th, OSHA released a memorandum reversing some of the guidance of the 2016 Injury and Illness rule by the Obama administration. The memorandum stated it is the agency’s belief that, under certain circumstances, employers can utilize safety incentive programs and post-incident drug testing to promote workplace safety and health. According to the agency, if an employer consistently enforces legitimate work rules regardless of illness or injury, that would establish the employer was serious about creating a safe work environment and not just the facade of reducing rates. An employer would only be in violation of the rule if the employer took the action to penalize an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness instead of the valid purpose of promoting workplace safety and health. In its comments to OSHA last month, One Voice made a point of addressing this issue and applauds the administration’s decision to reverse it previous guidance.



Labor Department Conducts Listening Session on Overtime Rule
On October 17, the Labor Department held a listening session in advance of proposing a new overtime rule. Towards the end of 2017, a Texas U.S. District Judge ruled against the new federal overtime rule released 2016 by the Obama administration. That rule sought to double the white-collar salaried overtime exemption from $23,660 annually to $47,476, or $913 per week. In striking down the rule, the judge noted the massive salary increase set at a level so high it could wind up including management workers who are intended to be exempt from overtime protections.
Last week’s listening session focused on reviewing the regulations at 29 CFR 541, which implement the exemption of bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. The Department will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing an updated salary level for exemption in March 2019. Sources indicate the agency is looking to set the exemption somewhere in the low to mid-$30,000 range.



White House Releases its Regulatory Agenda for Fall 2018
For the second time this year, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its regulatory for the remainder of 2018 and beginning of 2019. OMB releases its regulatory agenda twice a year, once in the Spring and then again in the Fall. Besides the notices mentioned in the above articles, the updated regulatory agenda has posted many agency regulations important to One Voice members, especially on the environmental front.
In the next few weeks, the EPA expects to publish an NPRM for its second step of its Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, conducting a substantive reevaluation and revision of the definition of WOTUS. Also, in March of next year, the EPA plans on issuing a final rule withdrawing the Clean Power Plan on grounds that it exceeds the statutory authority provided under section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Finally, in the near term, the Labor Department is planning on issuing a NPRM clarifying the statutory definition of employer in section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). One Voice will continue to file comments, fight ineffective regulations, and support those regulations that promote manufacturing in America, reducing the regulatory burden on our manufacturing members.