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

ArticleMay 24, 2018 - 5:00pm
Judge's gavel on top of $100 bills.

California’s Dynamitic Dynamex Decision

The Supreme Court of California recently issued a decision that essentially rewrites the standard for determining whether someone is...

May 17, 2018 - 12:00pm
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PBGC Premiums Are Not The Answer

Today the Joint Select Committee on Multiemployer Plans held a hearing on the financial condition of the Pension Benefit Guaranty...

ArticleMay 17, 2018 - 11:00am
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Your Retirement May be In the Future but the Time to Update the Laws is Today

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was passed in 1974 and over the years has proven to be largely successful...

ArticleMay 17, 2018 - 10:00am
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“Workplace Democracy” Act Introduced

As observers of labor policy know quite well, organized labor is at its lowest point since the mid-1930s, and unions and their allies...

ArticleMay 11, 2018 - 10:30am
Right to Work Law: The Economic Evidence

Right-to-Work Laws: The Economic Evidence (2018 Update)

In the years since the passage of the 1947 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act that permitted states to pass right-to-work laws, numerous...

Op EdMay 07, 2018 - 9:00am

The Hill Op-ed: Improving Labor Transparency Helps Workers

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) recently introduced a bill to bring much-needed transparency to front groups acting on behalf of the labor unions that support them...

ArticleApr 25, 2018 - 8:00am

U.S. Chamber Report: DOL Should Revisit Legal Treatment of ‘Worker Centers’

A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Employment Policy Division urges the U.S. Department of Labor to revisit...

ReportApr 25, 2018 - 8:00am

Worker Centers: Union Front Groups and the Law

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) in the U.S. Department of Labor is the federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing most provisions of...

CommentApr 18, 2018 - 1:00pm

U.S. Chamber Comments on the National Labor Relations Board's "Ambush" Elections Rule

Today, the Chamber submitted comments to the NLRB calling on the Board to begin a rulemaking that would undo the disastrous “ambush” election rule issued in 2014.