Ed & Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx Addresses Fall Labor Conference: Workplace Flexibility, Joint Employer Clarification Key Priorities

November 17, 2017

In our sweeping two-day Fall Labor Conference covering labor and employment issues on six continents, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) highlighted congressional efforts to create a national standard for workplace flexibility providing relief from myriad state and local requirements.  She pointed to Rep. Mimi Walters’ (R-CA) Workflex in the 21st Century Act, which would create a voluntary, preemptive national framework for employers to provide uniform paid leave benefits and flexible work arrangements to their employees.  HR Policy contributed to the drafting of the legislation, whose provisions are similar to our Workplace 2020 proposal.  Dr. Foxx also spoke on the current success of the House-passed Save Local Business Act, which would clarify the situations in which two companies can be deemed a "joint employer" under the NLRA and FLSA, saying, "We are really excited about that bill. It's now in the Senate and we are going to defy the saying that that’s where all bills go to die."  Other highlights included:

  • Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg discussed the White House's regulatory agenda and apprenticeship initiative, saying, "The real purpose of this initiative is to engage the employer community and put the employer in the driving seat of shaping apprenticeships."  He continued, "You all know what makes an employee work at your company.  How do we better align the types of skills you are looking for with federal programs and subsidies?"

  • Johnna Torsone, Chair of the Association's Employment Rights Committee and Chief Human Resources Officers at Pitney Bowes Inc., led a subsequent panel on the future of labor and employment policy in the U.S. and said, "Regardless of which party controls the government, it is important that we communicate with the policymakers so that they understand large employers are seeking to do right by their employees because it is the right thing to do and because we are fighting to hire, train, and retain the best talent."

  • Alan Wild, Vice President Human Resources, Employee Relations and Engagement at IBM, led a panel exploring the state of global unions, labor NGOs and related organizations featuring Rick Warters, UTC Corporate Vice President, Employee and Labor Relations, former NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman, and Carolyn Fisher, Vice President, Global Labor Relationships, PepsiCo, Inc.

  • HR Policy Association Senior Advisor Bill Allen led the Conference in an insomnia-inducing discussion of "What Labor and Employment Issues Keep You Up at Night" with insightful expertise by Jean Frazier, Vice President, Labor Relations at McKesson Corporation, Scott Randolph, Senior Vice President, Employee Relations at Bank of America, and Francis Sullivan, Director, Labor Relations at Eaton Corporation.

  • An exploration of "reverse preemption" by a panel moderated by HR Policy Association Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs E.R. Anderson and featuring Nicole Clifton, Vice President, Global Public Affairs at UPS, Michael Lotito, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson, P.C., and Jim Rowader, Vice President and General Counsel, Employee and Labor Relations at Target.

  • HR Policy's global allies Steve Gilbert, Executive Director of the Latin America Employee Relations Group (LAMERG), Tom Hayes, Executive Director of the Brussels European Employee Relations Group (BEERG), and Amy Lau, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Employee Relations Group (APERG) each gave their perspectives on the current trends in their respective global areas.