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September 2015

Obama administration launches broad pro-worker campaign...

Unable to win congressional approval for minimum-wage hikes and other proposals favored by organized labor and worker groups, President Obama and his appointees have launched a broad effort to accomplish some of the same goals through concerted and coordinated regulatory actions.

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Expanding employer responsibility for contract or temp workers…

Late last month, the NLRB ruled that a business which uses subcontractors to supply workers can more easily be classified as a joint employer of those contracted employees. The board said that such factors as whether a company exercised control over employees "indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so" would determine whether that company is a joint-employer with the subcontractor.

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Raising pay and workplace standards without changing federal laws…

As noted previously in this column, President Obama is moving to dramatically expand the number of salaried workers eligible for overtime pay, by raising the salary threshold below which employees who work more than 40 hours a week automatically qualify for time-and-a-half overtime, from the current $23,660 a year to a new level of $50,440 a year.

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Making it easier for unions to organize workers…

The NLRB’s so-called “ambush election” rules are designed to speed the timetable for providing notice and holding a union organizing election and provide unions with more access to employee information.  So far, they appear to be achieving those goals.

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Chemical safety reform is still on track, but time is running short…

Backers of long-stalled updates to the 37-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) insist they are still on track to win passage of legislation this year.  But they admit that time is running short amid a backlog of key budget and highway construction measures that must be approved by the end of September.

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Avoiding a government shut-down could hinge on funding Planned Parenthood…

An effort by conservative Republican lawmakers to eliminate more than $500 million in government funding for Planned Parenthood threatens to shut down the federal government unless a confrontation can be avoided.

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Most companies do not know where their conflict minerals came from…

Most companies using so-called “conflict minerals” were unable to determine the source of those materials, according to a new study by the government’s General Accountability Office (GAO).

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Footnotes…I look forward to hearing from you. Please let me know about issues of interest to you or questions you may want me to answer. There will always be room to include your comments. Please email me at gsgoldenberg@gmail.com with your comments or issues of interest.


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Gene Goldenberg

Gene Goldenberg has joined us in Washington, D.C., as a consultant on federal, legislative and public policy issues. Gene is an accomplished Washington professional with three decades of experience in business, government affairs, public relations and journalism.

Most recently, he has operated his own consulting business specializing in government affairs and business consulting for corporate and association clients. Prior to that, Gene served in senior management positions with Wolters Kluwer (CCH Tax and Accounting) and H&R Block, Inc. following an award-winning career as a Washington journalist with newspaper and magazine publishers.

In his corporate positions, Gene played a key role directing relations with numerous federal and state government agencies and twice has served as president of the leading association in the tax software and tax preparation industries. His many years managing business-to-business sales and marketing have given him a broad understanding of the problems and challenges facing small to medium sized companies.

His earlier journalism career included writing about Congress, the White House and numerous federal agencies for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper group as well as the Kiplinger Washington Letter and other business publications. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.