President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 earlier this month. The proposal, which is entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” purports to “put the needs of its own people first” by prioritizing national security and public safety. To account for increases in these areas, the budget acknowledges that many “Government agencies and departments will …. experience cuts …. to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending[.]”
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) is no exception to President Trump’s proposed cuts. The America First Budget requests a total of $9.6 billion for the DOL, which equates to a 21 percent decrease from fiscal year 2017. In particular, the budget seeks to Continue reading →
On November 1, 2011, Politico.com in an article by Seung Min Kim reported that a draft budget prepared by House Republicans “zeroes in on the National Labor Relations Board, which would see its funding cut by 17 percent, as well as several restrictions related to union elections and organizing activities.” The article noted that the “NLRB has been a prominent Republican foe, particularly due to its decision to block Boeing from moving a plant from Washington state to South Carolina.” Democrats are criticizing the tactic and vowing to block such actions, according to Politico.com. To read more, go to www.politico.com.
On March 1, 2011, National Public Radio reported on its website that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to cut about $99 million in federal spending in the current fiscal year from the budget for the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). According to OSHA Administrator David Michaels, the proposed a 20% cut as applied to the remaining months of the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, actually amounts to a 40% reduction in OSHA’s budget for the period covered. Michael’s says this would have a devastating effect on his agency’s activities during the next 6-7 months.
House Republicans have claimed that OSHA’s recent stepped enforcement activities threaten jobs and focuses too much on “punishment [rather] than prevention.” At a recent hearing on the issue, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Michigan Republican Tim Walberg, questioned the agency’s priorities.
NPR quotes OSHA Administrator Michaels as countering with: “[w]e know that OSHA doesn’t kill jobs. It stops jobs from killing workers. When employers embrace safety, they actually save money.”
Peg Seminario, the safety and health director of the AFL-CIO, is also quoted by NPR: “[w]e now have a much bigger workforce than we had 40 years ago when OSHA was started. But they would propose to slash the agency, slash enforcement, slash standards-setting, leaving the agency essentially crippled and unable to do its job to protect workers.”
The U.S. Senate now has to take up the House-passed cuts and, along with the President, has to come to some agreement with the House to avoid a government shutdown.
According to a press release issued February 18, 2011, by National Labor Relations Board Chairman Liebman and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on a “Continuing Resolution” to fund the federal government through September 30, 2011, that includes a provision that would eliminate $50 million or 18% of the NLRB’s budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The Board in its statement points out that since most of its budget is spent on personnel and rent, such a reduction, concentrated in the last 7 months of the fiscal year, would mean that all of its 1,665 employees would face a furlough of some 55 work days or 3 months in total between now and September 30, 2011. It estimated that such a result could create a backlog of some 18,000 cases.
The House did finally pass its budget reduction bill (H.R. 1) early on February 19, 2011, and then adjourned for the President’s Day Holiday week. The Senate will now take up the measure starting February 28, 2011, with a possible government shutdown looming on March 4, 2011.