Retiring Congressman Bradley Byrne Sees Increased Regulation, Little Legislation Ahead

December 11, 2020

Employers need to be prepared for an “onslaught from the NLRB, the Department of Labor, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and OSHA—you name it,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) in a conversation with HR Policy Senior Policy Advisor Dan Yager.  The discussion with Rep. Byrne, who has a background in employment law, took place during HR Policy's Future Workplace Policy Council Fall Labor and Employment Conference. 

“We need to have a strategy to push against that both in the notice and comment period and in cases with the NLRB," Rep. Byrne continued.  “We need to develop a litigation strategy that makes a substantive case that they’re exceeding their authority.” 

Congress will take a more moderate approach, Rep. Byrne predicted.  He noted that in the election battleground states, the difference between the Trump vote and the Biden vote was 0.1%.  Members from “purple” districts will be wary of hedging too far to one side or the other, negatively impacting the chances to pass progressive priorities. 

The conversation covered a wide array of topics, including what policies need amending to meet the challenges of the future.  Rep. Byrne said he would focus on reforming the National Labor Relations Act, noting that the law “wasn’t made for a gig economy, or an economy where workers work from home, or for an economy where workers are a part of the decision-making process about how work is done.”  He went on to mention that members of Congress with union backgrounds tend to agree that something should be done, and that there is room for a conversation.  In a later panel, leading thinkers, former union leadership, and senior policymakers from both sides conferred in a lively discussion on employee voice.