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TN CHAMBER UPDATE                         December 2016
Tennessee Chamber & Other Business Groups Cheer Blockage of “Overtime Rule"
Earlier this week, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Labor Department's controversial overtime rule.  The rule, which had been scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, would "require employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers who earn less than $47,476 annually," compared to the current threshold of $23,660.  The rule also includes a provision to automatically update this salary threshold every three years beginning in 2020.  The U.S. Chamber, NAM and other business groups, along with 21 state attorneys general, challenged the rule in a Texas federal court.  This week's injunction "will delay the overtime rule while the case is litigated."

For immediate release: November 23, 2016 
Corker Statement on Court Blocking Obama Administration Overtime Rule 
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after a U.S. district court judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Obama administration’s overtime rule. 
“This decision is a huge victory for small businesses and the many Tennesseans who would have experienced reduced hours or layoffs under this rule,” said Corker. “The Obama administration’s unilateral actions made sweeping labor regulation changes without congressional input, and I am pleased a federal judge agreed that the Department of Labor overreached its authority.” 
In May 2016, Corker co-sponsored the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, which would nullify the Department of Labor’s changes to federal overtime rules and require a full and complete economic analysis before promulgating a substantially similar rule. In June 2016, Corker co-sponsored a joint resolution disapproving of the Obama administration’s overtime rule. 

What the Overtime Ruling Means for Employers
(Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity) -- According to a business coalition that has been monitoring developments surrounding the new federal overtime rule, this week's injunction by a federal judge in Texas will have three key effects:
1. Employers do not need to implement changes by the Dec. 1, 2016 deadline -- although the court, after hearing the full case, could allow the rule to go forward;
2. The incoming Trump administration now has more time to make changes and end the rulemaking permanently, or issue a new rule; and
3. Congress could address the final overtime regulations during the lame duck or in the beginning of the 115th Congress.
Experts note that "employers shouldn't assume that the overtime rule will be permanently barred" and should "still have a plan to move forward if necessary in the future."  For PPWO's full statement, click here. 
Report: Women will help fill the manufacturing skills gap
(Area Development Magazine) -- AreaDevelopment.com reports on the manufacturing skills gap in the U.S., saying that manufacturers "are now making it a priority to recruit and develop women," according to Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Jennifer McNelly.  She says women represent nearly 47% of the total labor force, but make up only 27% of the current manufacturing workforce.  The article highlights several company initiatives, including mentoring and flexible work programs at Eaton Corp. and Caterpillar's "Women in Leadership" program.
Obama Administration “Particularly Aggressive” With Late-Term Regulatory Agenda
The Washington Post (12/1, Eilperin) reports on the Obama administration’s “frenzied, final effort to put in place as many new rules and regulations as time allows.” The Post quotes NAM Vice President of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Rosario Palmieri saying, “This administration has been particularly aggressive in the last year to 18 months in finalizing its particular regulatory priorities.” Palmieri said that in the past several months, most people in Washington were “focused on the election. We spend a lot of time focused on regulation.” As an example of the new rules, the Post says the Energy Department “is working to finalize 12 separate efficiency rules that will affect equipment including furnaces, commercial boilers and portable air conditioners.” Palmieri is quoted saying “that in regard to new rules such as tighter energy efficiency standards, many manufacturers ‘are extraordinarily concerned about what it means, and what they have to do.’” 
Manufacturers Are Pushing For Less Regulation, Lower Taxes
The Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN) Business Journal (11/23, Subscription Publication) reported Minnesota’s manufacturing community is pushing for less government regulation and lower taxes, and they hope the President-elect will help make that happen. According to the article, the rising cost of healthcare for manufacturing companies is chief among their concerns. The article featured a NAM study that says the average annual cost of a family health insurance plan in the manufacturing sector “increased from $6,549 in 2000 to $16,538 in 2014.” Company executives “don’t want to remove health care coverage for their employees, but they’re asking for more affordable options and less red tape.” The NAM study also concluded “that new rules recently implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor will result in $81.6 billion in compliance costs over the next 10 years, including roughly $4.2 billion this year, four times the amount in 2015.” 
Help Make The Tennessee Chamber Even More Influential
Earlier this autumn, at the annual meeting of the Council of State Chambers (COSC) in Austin, Texas, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry was presented with an honorable mention for growth in non-dues revenue among all state chambers.  Over the years, the Tennessee Chamber has become a powerful, respected voice on business issues.  With a membership that includes businesses and manufacturers of all sizes and types in all 95 Tennessee counties, the Chamber is entering its 105th year of providing leadership for the business community at the Tennessee Legislature.  The Chamber's work ensures that the business perspective is always considered by state policymakers.  A long list of pro-business accomplishments and an improving business climate reflect the hard work of your Tennessee Chamber.  But despite that success, the Chamber is a member-driven organization; it needs the continued support and involvement of Tennessee's business community to make our "good life" even better.  If you are not a member of the Tennessee Chamber, or you know a business that should be, or you'd like to learn how to sponsor an upcoming Chamber event, call Berton Pinkham or Suzie Lusk at (615) 256.5141 or e-mail berton.pinkham@tnchamber.org or suzie.lusk@tnchamber.org.
Memphis Receives $10M In Grants For Manufacturing Workforce Development
The Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal (11/22) reports the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce “has won a $6 million grant” from the US Department of Labor “to bolster the medical device manufacturing workforce in the Memphis metro area.” The grant will provide “education, training, support services and job-placement help for more than 1,000 adults for careers in the medical device manufacturing sector” in Memphis. The article says the federal grant announcement “marks the second financial boost in a week for medical device manufacturing training in the area,” pointing to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s $4 million grant “for a Tennessee College of Applied Technology satellite campus in Bartlett for a training center focused on producing skilled machinists and other skilled workers needed by more than 47 medical device companies in the area.” 
ACC center to help manufacturers be proactive on TSCA reform
The American Chemistry Council's Center for Chemical Safety Act Implementation is designed to help manufacturers learn about and respond to the updated Toxic Substances Control Act, even before all rules are finalized. "Based on what we know, manufacturers do not need to wait for specific [risk management] rules to be made before thinking about what changes will potentially come," said David Fischer of ACC. To view information about the Center click here.
Affinity Parnter Spotlight: 
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  • Reference National Account ID # 93085 and mention the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Note: If you have an existing agreement with a competing rental supplier, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry recommends comparing your current vendor with the Aramark program before renewing your agreement. (You should contact Aramark prior to the 90 day expiration of any existing agreements, in order to avoid any disruption of service.)


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