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Volume 6, Issue 3
March 2017
Puzder Steps Down As Labor Secretary Nominee, Acosta Named as Replacement
On Wednesday, February 15, President Donald Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew himself from the nomination before his first confirmation hearing after reports that support for his position was faltering. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast food chains, and has faced criticism in the past for his  record on workers' rights and past charges of domestic abuse. Democrats and labor activists attacked him on his history of fighting against government regulation, raising the minimum wage and Obamacare. A week before withdrawing himself from the nomination, Puzder admitted to employing an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper, but said he let her go when he discovered her undocumented status. Puzder's contentious nomination was plagued with former and current workers at Hardee's and Carl's Jr.'s announcements of state and federal complaints against their employers ranging from wage theft and manipulated overtime to sexual harassment and unfair labor practices. The decision was made after Senate Republicans told the White House that Puzder's support was waning. 

Replacement nominee R. Alexander Acosta was named by President Donald Trump on Thursday, February 16. Acosta is the dean of the law school at Florida International University and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board. He was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush. If Acosta is confirmed, he will be the first Hispanic member of President Trump's Cabinet, which has been criticized by Democrats for its lack of diversity.
Workers at Boeing's South Carolina Plant Reject Efforts to Unionize
Production workers at the South Carolina Boeing plant overwhelmingly rejected unionization efforts days before President Donald Trump was set to visit the facilities. According to Boeing, of the 2,800 votes cast, 74 percent were against representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Lead Machinist organizer Mike Evans said the workers will dictate what happens next, but the National Labor Relations Board rules require a one year wait before another union vote. Boeing had vigorously campaigned against unionization across the Charleston area where the facility is located. The rejection came as no surprise in a state that is avidly anti-union. Only about 52,000 of South Carolina's workers have union representation according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2016 figures. Other big name manufacturers like BMW and Michelin are based in the state and neither are unionized. 
Trump's Hiring Freeze Raises Concerns About Wage Enforcement
President Donald Trump's federal hiring freeze is causing anxiety that the Labor Department may lack the resources to adequately investigate workplace wage violation allegations. President Donald Trump's January 23 executive order that halted federal hiring includes the Department of Labor, which has yet to disclose how it will implement the order. The DOL also neglected to discuss how the Wage and Hour Division will be prioritized in the next budget. Former WHD officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations warn that the freeze could create a problem if investigators and their supervisors flee their positions, leaving the agency unable to fill the vacancies. The current WHD field staff is comprised of more than 1,200 non-managerial workers including 1,000 investigators responsible for protecting workers' wage and leave rights. About a fourth of the field employees are eligible for retirement or early outs. While it is common for career civil servants to consider an exit during presidential transitions, the Trump administration's talk of shrinking the federal workforce and reducing pay and benefits is making the potential for those considering an exit a very real possibility. Ex-WHD directors worry if the WHD isn't prioritized, the enforcement activities and compliance assistant will deteriorate. 
Three Names on Short List for Trump's NLRB

Marvin Kaplan, William Emanuel and Doug Seaton are the three leading candidates on President Donald Trump's list for the two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. The five-seat board currently has three members, and the vacancies come as the board will be dealing with a multitude of legal issues. Kaplan, the current counsel to the commissioner of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, previously served as the Republican workforce policy counsel for the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Emanuel is a shareholder at Littler Mendelson PC, a management law firm in Los Angeles. He has represented business groups seeking to invalidate state laws that his clients say allow unions to trespass on their property. Seaton is an attorney at Seaton, Peters & Revnew, a law firm he founded in Minneapolis in 1995. He represents employers before the NLRB, and was previously counsel to the Minnesota House Labor Committee. 
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