by Jason Todd, Vice President/Government Affairs, IEC National
The beginning of the year began with IEC National’s traditional focus on the usual labor policy priorities. Between fighting against the passage of radical labor policy in the form of the Protecting Right to Organize (PRO) Act, addressing proposals addressing apprenticeship, to supporting efforts to bring clarity to the rule that governs joint employment, 2020 was shaping up to be a relatively normal year in the world of IEC government affairs.
These normal policy priorities took a back seat with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated shutdowns of various aspects of the American economy. IEC’s advocacy efforts quickly shifted to efforts involving workplace requirements related to time off for employees and other requirements proposed by Congress related to the Coronavirus. It also worked to ensure that electrical contractors were considered essential businesses by the Department of Homeland Security and shifted to addressing economic proposals to help prop up small businesses that would be severely impacted by the government-mandated shutdowns in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) developed guidance to employers in the construction industry on how to keep employees safe during this pandemic, which was met with hostility by the building trades who wanted an immediate and emergency standard with specific enforcement mechanisms. Unions filed suit asking that a court force DOL to draft this standard which was rejected.
In opposition to this appeal, IEC joined an amicus brief, funded by its Political Education Fund (PEF), arguing against this demand. The ability to help fund amicus briefs, and call on other experts and consultants, helps bolster IEC’s advocacy efforts. This benefits all merit shop electrical contractors across the country. The challenge by the unions in the court is a prime example of why IEC chapters and member companies must continue to help fund the PEF to be prepared and to have the ability to act as congressional and regulatory actions arise.
To learn more about IEC’s Political Education Fund (PEF), visit //www.ieci.org/legislative-affairs/pride-pac-pef
Jason Todd will be presenting a Legislative Update during the Member Forum on Wednesday, November 18th. Register today for the free member forum.