January 16, 2021

Washington Wire: Automakers Reach Agreement with California over Emission Standards


Automakers Reach Agreement with California over Emission Standards  

On July 25, after weeks of secret negotiations, automakers Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Volkswagen AG, and BMW of North America LLC announced an agreement with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to manufacture cars with stronger fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards than the Trump administration’s Safer and Affordable Fuel Economy (SAFE) rule expected after Labor Day. The automakers decided to reach this deal with California because they feared the SAFE rule would compel them to sell completely different kinds of automobiles in different states. Under the agreement, the four automakers (about 30 percent of the U.S. auto market) are required to hit a fleetwide average of 51 miles per gallon (mpg) by model year (MY) 2026. While this is a significantly higher standard than the SAFE rule’s 37 mpg by MY 2026, it is looser than the original Obama standard of 54.5 mpg by MY 2025.
In addition to increasing mpg, the agreement sets increasing year-over-year stringency standards for GHG emissions. Beginning with MY 2022, the automakers will need to reduce GHG emissions by an average rate 3.7 percent annually. This increasing stringency standard extends through to MY 2026, however, automakers can a use advanced technology multiplier credits for 1 percent of the 3.7 percent annual stringency rate. Also important to automakers, CARB agreed to remove a requirement to account for upstream emissions of fuels. Finally, the parties agreed to recognize California’s authority to set its own standards. Since the announcement of this agreement, other automakers have begun discussions about joining the pact as suppliers and OEMs seek a 50 state policy to avoid a patchwork of regulations.



House Repeals Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax
On July 17, the House passed the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019, repealing the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac Tax.” In total, 419 lawmakers in the House voted to repeal the tax. Set to go into effect in 2022, the Cadillac tax is a 40% excise tax on the value of employer-sponsored health plans exceeding $10,200 per individual and $27,500 per family annually. This victory provides relief to the almost 24% of One Voice members who reported in 2019 that their current plans exceed the Cadillac tax threshold. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration, where a Senate version of the bill already exists and currently has 49 co-sponsors.



 Department of Education Marks the Beginning of Perkins V by Approving Every State’s Transition Plan
With the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) taking effect on July 1, the Department of Education announced it “received, reviewed, and approved every state’s Perkins V one-year transition plan.” In 2018, One Voice and its members lobbied Congress extensively on passing the law, marking a rare bipartisan victory during an election year. The bill provides $1.2 billion in federal funding for career and technical education (CTE) initiatives, including $160 million in apprenticeship opportunities. With the approval of their transition plans, states now must work on full four-year Perkins V implementation plans, which are due in April 2020.



EEOC Opens Online Filing System for Component 2 of EEO-1 Data
On July 15, in response to a judge’s order, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) opened its online filing system for Calendar Year (CY) 2017 and 2018 EEO-1 Component 2 data. The EEO-1 is an annual survey requiring all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, sub-contract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report. Originally, the EEO-1 form collected company employment data categorized by race/ethnicity, gender, and job category. In 2016, the Obama administration changed this EEO-1 reporting requirement into “Component 1” and added “Component 2,” which would include an employee’s W-2 compensation.
The Trump administration attempted to freeze the compensation reporting requirement under Component 2, only requiring employers to file the previously approved EEO-1 form data on race/ethnicity, gender, and job category (Component 1) by May 31. However, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to move forward with the collection of Component 2 data.
Following the judge’s order, the EEOC contracted with NORC at the University of Chicago to conduct CY 2017 and 2018 EEO-1 Component 2 data collection. The URL for the collection portal is https://eeoccomp2.norc.org. Employers should have already received their User ID to log in from NORC via letter by mail or email to the registered EEO-1 email address on record. After logging into the portal, employers may file Component 2 data by either completing the online form or uploading their own data file. Currently, employers only have the option of completing the online form, as the secure file upload function and validation process is expected to be available by mid-August 2019. The due date for submitting CY 2017 and 2018 Component 2 data is September 30, 2019.