June 3, 2023

Washington Wire: One Voice Working with Coalitions on OSHA Vaccine Mandate; Circuit Court Identified



One Voice Working with Coalitions on OSHA Vaccine Mandate; Circuit Court Identified
The Biden administration published the long-awaited vaccine mandate for employers on November 5, 2021. The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requires employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing of their workers by January 4 with some mask and record keeping requirements starting December 5th.  Both NTMA and PMA have sent to their members more detailed information from labor law experts and is coordinating efforts with the Coalition for Workplace Safety, of which both organizations are active members.
A day after its release, a federal appeals court issued an emergency stay to stop the immediate order to temporarily stop the enforcement of the ETS on Saturday, November 6, 2021, following a challenge from a number of parties, which they extended on November 12. That Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stated that “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues” with the ETS and stayed the emergency rule until it could be fully reviewed by the Court. On November 17, OSHA announced it would temporarily suspend enforcement of the ETS pending court rulings.
Twelve federal circuit courts received numerous challenges to the OSHA action, which prompted the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to assign the consolidated cases to the Sixth U.S. Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, based in Cincinnati, OH. Comprised of twenty Republican appointed judges and six from Democrats, a three-judge panel will initially review the rule, which many expect to come before the U.S. Supreme Court. 
While these legal challenges move forward, employers are advised to track these developments closely as many legal advisors are suggesting businesses begin at least planning for a testing program. 



U.S. to Replace Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on EU with Quotas 
The United States and the European Union (EU) announced a deal to end the Section 232 steel and aluminum dispute. The agreement revealed on November 6, 2021, implements, starting January 1, 2022, a tariff-rate quota system (TRQ) allowing the EU to export steel and aluminum duty-free into the U.S. at levels around 3.3 million metric tons of steel and 384,000 metric tons of aluminum a year. Imports above those levels would be subject to the Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum. The U.S. is in active talks with Japan as well on addressing tariffs on plate steel and other materials used by One Voice members. 
The deal also maintains previously awarded exclusions on steel and aluminum products and puts an end to EU retaliatory tariffs imposed on a host of U.S. goods, including wine, whiskey, and spirits, in response to the Section 232 tariffs. 
Additionally, the agreement includes a "Global Sustainable Steel Arrangement,” an effort to address overcapacity in the steel and aluminum markets through the cooperation and consultation of the U.S.’s trading partners, such as the U.K. and Japan. One Voice continues to raise concern over government managed markets that could leave smaller buyers of raw materials left paying the tariffs as larger purchasers receive priority shipments from suppliers. 



President Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill Into Law; Negotiations on Larger Spending Bill Continue
After months of delay, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework bill into law on November 15. The bill provides $1.2 trillion in total infrastructure funding, extending existing projects while spending $550 billion on new projects, including roads, bridges, ports, water, and airports. The signing followed a November 5 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives passing the bill by 228-206 after clearing the Senate by a rare 69-30 August 10 bipartisan vote. 
One Voice worked with lawmakers urging them to pass a bipartisan measure that does not increase taxes on American businesses. The bill provides $110 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $39 billion for public transit, $55 billion for water infrastructure, $17 billion for ports and waterways, and $65 billion for broadband among other provisions.
The passage of the infrastructure bill officially ends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was included as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act. The ERTC, a refundable payroll tax credit for “qualified wages” paid to retained full-time employees, was designed to help keep workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally applicable for wages paid from March 13, 2020, to December 31, 2020, One Voice successfully lobbied to extend the ERTC under both the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act, to be claimed through Dec. 31, 2021. However, to pay for the provisions in the infrastructure bill, Congress terminated the ERTC three months early, making wages paid after September 30 ineligible for the credit.
The House is also expected prior to Thanksgiving to pass the reconciliation legislation, called the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, under negotiation by members of Congress for months. After a deal was reached between moderate and progressive Democrats in the House, leadership has said that the House would vote on the $1.75 trillion package the week of November 15, following the release of a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. 
One Voice has continued to urge lawmakers to not pass a spending bill that would increase taxes on America’s manufacturers. Over 200 One Voice members have called on their members of Congress asking that they oppose any tax increases in budget reconciliation legislation that would place manufacturers and other small businesses at an even greater global competitive disadvantage.



EEO-1 Report Filing Now Closed 
The deadline for filing 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 reports has officially passed and no additional 2019/reports will be accepted.
The final deadline to submit EEO-1 Component 1 data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was Monday, November 15, 2021. After delaying the collection of the 2019 EEO-1 reports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC opening the data collection for both 2019 and 2020 reports in April 2021. While the EEOC extended its August deadline for mandatory EEO-1 reporting to October 25, 2021, due to the “continuing impact of the pandemic on business operations,” on November 1, 2021, the EEOC indicated that employers would have until November 15, 2021, to comply with mandatory reporting. 
Filing of 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 data is tentatively scheduled to open on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022. Employers with at least 100 employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract of $50,000 or more must file EEO-1 component 1 data.