Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA Political Update March 4, 2021

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
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150 Business Groups Pressure Lawmakers on Labor Bill: From Politico – “More than 100 trade associations representing a range of industries are ramping up pressure on lawmakers to vote down a sweeping labor law bill that would expand union power (HR 842S 420). The groups, writing as part of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, sent a letter to the Hill Thursday arguing that the Protecting the Right to Organize Act will result in “economic upheaval that would cost millions of American jobs, threaten vital supply chains, and greatly diminish opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses.” The House passed the PRO Act, which has strong union backing and which President Joe Biden said on the campaign trail he supports, on a nearly party-line vote last year, but the GOP-controlled Senate never took the bill up. Democrats reintroduced the bill with some tweaks last month, and the House is set to take it up next week. But CDW writes in its letter that it would strengthen unions “without regard for the negative impacts the legislation would have on workers, businesses, and the economy.” The letter is signed by a slew of influential business lobbies and trade groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Hotel & Lodging Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA).”

WECA is a member of CDW and encourages its members to contact their members of congress about the bill. You can take action here. More on the issue can be found here.

71 New Members of Congress Were Elected Last Year Voters nationwide elected 71 new members—nine senators and 62 representatives—to Congress on Nov. 3 or in subsequent runoff elections. This figure includes Luke Letlow (R-La.), who was elected Dec. 5 and died from complications related to COVID-19 on Dec. 29, before taking office.
 
The newly elected officials have been in office for a bit more than six weeks. Here’s a quick refresher about them. Those 71 new members included the following:

  • Candidates from the opposing party defeated five incumbent senators—one Democrat and four Republicans. 
  • Republican challengers defeated 13 Democratic representatives.
  • 53 new members—four senators and 49 representatives—were elected to open seats. Five House seats were vacant heading into the Nov. 3 elections. Four senators and 36 House members did not run for re-election, and eight House members were defeated in a primary or nominating convention.
The 116th Congress, which convened after the 2018 elections, had 102 new members—nine senators and 93 representatives. The 115th Congress in 2016 had 62 new members—seven senators and 55 U.S. House members.



How Would A $15 Minimum Wage Affect Construction? An increase in the federal minimum wage would mean that construction employers in some states would have to pay more for some types of labor. Story

California Supreme Court Demands Strict Meal Period Compliance and Prohibits Rounding for Meal Periods On Thursday, February 25, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling addressing legal standards for meal period violations in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC.1 In its opinion, the court required strict compliance for providing meal periods, and specifically condemned the practice of rounding to the nearest time increment for meal periods. The court also clarified that a rebuttable presumption of liability applies when time records show shortened, delayed, or missed meal periods. Story

Non-Union Construction Companies Face Significant Threats Under the PRO Act In February 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 (H.R. 2474), known as the PRO Act. The PRO Act contains a number of anti-management, pro-union changes to various labor laws, many of which have existed in the United States for decades. President Biden has already promised to sign the PRO Act if it comes across his desk, and with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate, it likely will. Several of the proposed changes will be critical to … the construction sector, but there is one in particular … especially concerning. Story

In the Capitol, A New Push to Unionize Staff Members From Capitol Weekly: "The first time, she had just one co-author; the second time, a dozen. Now, on her third attempt, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has convinced nearly half of the California Assembly to co-author her bill to grant collective bargaining rights to rank-and-file Capitol staffers. Assembly Bill 314 has 39 Assembly co-authors. With her, that’s 40, just one short of the number needed for full Assembly approval. If the bill makes it to the floor, it’ll pass, she says. ‘I have the votes for the floor.’ But first the bill must pass through the Public Employment and Retirement Committee, where her prior two bills died. And the chair of that committee (Assemblymember Jim Cooper) is not among the co-authors."



Want to make your voice heard on behalf of your company and the merit shop industry by joining Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs at the Capitol for the 2021 Joint Merit Shop Legislative Conference? There's still time to register for this online event, held on March 17 & 18, 2021!

Register today to attend this virtual event

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?Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group


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