Employment Policy

The Employment Policy division regularly interacts with Congressional staff, numerous Federal agencies and many national coalitions (some of which are chaired by the Chamber) to help define and shape national labor, immigration and employee benefit policy.




The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) engaged in massive regulatory overreach during the Obama administration.  Rather than acting as an impartial referee, the Board aggressively carried out a one-sided agenda aimed at growing labor unions at any cost.  

Fortunately, the NLRB has new members and a new General Counsel, who have already begun restoring the appropriate balance to labor law.  For example, the new NLRB:

  • Overturned the Specialty Healthcare decision that allowed unions to form “micro-units” that made no sense and upended collective bargaining.
  • Revised the Lutheran Heritage standard for reviewing employee handbook policies, which had allowed the Obama-era Board to penalize employers all over the country for maintaining common-sense policies like requiring courtesy in the workplace.
  • Issued a new General Counsel memo requiring many controversial Obama-era regulatory policies to get special review.

However, there is still more work to be done to ensure that labor law works for both employees and employers. This includes:

  • Agency Staffing: Former NLRB Chairman Phil Miscimarra’s term expired in December 2017, and the administration named Marvin Kaplan as Board Chairman.  However, this leaves the Board with a 2-2 split along party lines.  Until the U.S. Senate confirms a replacement for the fifth seat on the Board, the agency will be deadlocked on many issues.
  • Arbitration Agreements:  In D.R. Horton and Murphy Oil, the Obama-era NLRB tried to prohibit the use of employment arbitration agreements.  These agreements speed up the resolution of workplace disputes and reduce the need for expensive class action litigation.  However, the Board claimed that arbitration agreements violate Section 7 rights to engage in concerted activity.  The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in these cases in the near future.  Nonetheless, the Board should expressly reverse D.R. Horton and Murphy Oil.
  • Joint Employer Standard: The NLRB should overturn the Obama-era Browning-Ferris decision which massively, and improperly, expanded the number of businesses that could be deemed "joint employers." 
  • Union “Ambush” Elections:  In December 2017, the newly-constituted NLRB asked the public if it should keep, modify, or get rid of its “ambush” elections rule. This rule requires employers to turn over to union organizers personal information about their workers, such as phone numbers, e-mail accounts and home addresses.  It also strips employers of their due process rights and makes it harder to respond to a union organizing campaign.  By shortening the time period before an election, it also may prevent employees from getting fully informed about a critical workplace decision like voting for or against a union.  Rulemaking should ensure that the elections process works fairly.
  • Congressional Activity:  The positive changes listed above will last only so long as a balanced Board majority lasts.  That’s why Congress needs to pass legislation like the Save Local Business Act that would enshrine in law a sensible joint employer standard.  Congress should also pass the Workplace Democracy and Fairness Act, to lock in place fair union election procedures.

The NLRB has finally started to turn the corner.  Now the administration and Congress need to ensure that this progress continues.

Recent Activity

ArticleMar 15, 2018 - 4:00pm
Wet floor sign reads: "Caution: Vague joint employer standard"

Hy-Brand Appeals NLRB Reversal

A company involved in a controversial case at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—Hy-Brand—filed a Motion to Reconsider...

ArticleMar 14, 2018 - 3:00pm

Joint Employer Ping Pong

When it comes to public policy, one of the things the business community appreciates is stability, but the National Labor Relations Board...

ReportMar 14, 2018 - 8:00am
Cover of the Multi Employer Pension Report

Multiemployer Pension Reform Principles

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) have developed a series of principles aimed at guiding policymakers toward a solution to a growing multi-employer pension crisis.

ArticleMar 07, 2018 - 1:45pm

NLRB Invites Comments on Worker Misclassification

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has invited the public to submit briefs in a case involving...

ArticleMar 06, 2018 - 2:15pm
United States Supreme Court

Supreme Court Hears Agency Fee Case

The United States Supreme Court on February 26 heard oral arguments in one of the most closely-watched cases of this term...

EventMar 01, 2018 - 8:30am to 3:30pm
Opioid Event Banner

Combating the Opioid Crisis: From Communities to the Capital

This event highlights the important work that the business community, the public-sector and local communities are undertaking to combat the opioid epidemic.

ArticleFeb 27, 2018 - 9:45am
Wet floor sign reads: "Caution: Vague joint employer standard"

NLRB Returns to Obama-Era Joint Employer Standard

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) on February 26 announced that it had vacated its decision in Hy-Brand...

Issue BriefFeb 26, 2018 - 4:00pm

Establish a Proper Definition of Joint Employer

The NLRB and Congress can protect small business ownership by enshrining a clear standard for determining “joint employer” status...

ArticleFeb 23, 2018 - 11:30am
United States Senate

Coalition Urges Senate to Pass Joint Employer Bill

A coalition of businesses and trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on February 15 delivered a letter to the entire...