Law360 discusses the Trump administration’s labor policy with Trey Kovacs.
Saturday marked one year since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the past 365 days have been nothing if not eventful, with the administration moving to fill key positions at agencies and weighing in on hot-button cases, while roiling Washington with seemingly never-ending controversy.
Here, four experts from the management and worker-side camps grade the Trump administration’s performance on labor and employment issues during its first year.
The Obama administration drew a ton of flack from the business community and its advocates for what they perceived to be a pro-union shift in federal labor policy, and the Trump administration’s work so far to reverse that trend has drawn cheers from the same group.
The National Labor Relations Board overturned a series of rulings in December that the management community had argued were too favorable to unions, including a controversial revision to the board’s test for holding affiliated businesses responsible for each other’s labor violations as joint employers. New General Counsel Peter Robb has also signaled more change is in the pipeline, which came as welcome news to Kovacs.
“A Littler Mendelson report that they issued last year found the agency overturned around 4,000 years of precedent — that’s unheard of,” Kovacs said. “They’ve done a great job of bringing back balance to an agency that’s supposed to represent the public interest in labor disputes.”
But Kovacs has been less pleased this last year with Trump’s DOL, which got off to a late start after initial labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s candidacy fizzled. Though Acosta has worked admirably since being seated in late April, Kovacs said the administration has “hamstrung” him by failing to fill all but a handful of key DOL positions.
But if these key personnel are seated in 2018, the Trump administration may earn a better grade, Kovacs said.
“[The administration did well] in shifting back to a more common-sense approach, rather than imposing huge costs, but certainly there’s room to improve,” Kovacs said. “I think you’re going to see that in the coming year once people are in place to do the job.”
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