Rep. Bradley Byrne Braces Association's Fall Labor Conference for Turbulent 116th Congress

November 16, 2018

House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chair Bradley Byrne (R-AL) told the Association’s Fall Labor and Employment Conference that while gridlock will continue to reign in Congress, issues such as joint employer will still move at the Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Board.

Rep. Byrne was hopeful, however, that legislators would find a way to work together on a few issues and encouraged engagement by the Association, saying “There’s no group in America that knows better what needs to be done.”

John Steele, Chair of HR Policy’s Labor Relations Advisory Board and Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at HCA Healthcare, said: “It’s become clear than the predicted election outcome last week will produce unpredictable results.  The only sure thing, it seems, is that, while Washington is heading toward greater gridlock, it doesn’t take the pressure off us.”

Future of labor:  David Rolf, Founder and President Emeritus of SEIU 775, gave his perspectives on the future of the labor movement in the U.S., advocating for a model that focuses on the middle class.

Johnna Torsone, Chair of the Association's Employment Rights Committee and Chief Human Resources Officer at Pitney Bowes Inc., led a lively panel on workplace and government harassment policy.  EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, Judith Conti, Government Affairs Director at the National Employment Law Project, and Tracy Jaensch, Partner at Ford-Harrison, discussed employer challenges and successes in moving toward more respectful workplace cultures.

View from the Executive Branch:  HR Policy Chief Economist Mark Wilson interviewed a panel of senior Trump administration policymakers on the outlook for a number of Association priorities.

An overview of important upcoming NLRB issues was conducted by HR Policy Senior Labor and Employment Counsel Roger King, Thomas Beck, Vice President, Labor and Employee Relations at HCA Healthcare, Patricia A. Dunn, Partner at Jones Day (which hosted the conference), and Jim Rowader, Vice President and General Counsel Employee and Labor Relations at Target. 

In sum:  In moderating an open forum, HR Policy Director of Global Affairs Alan Wild noted that the issues discussed "merit serious consideration as you look into your strategies—both domestically and globally—for the next few years."