STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 10)

n RETAIL POLITICS Unions Could Begin 'Ambushing' Retailers This Month New rules allowing unions to quickly hold "ambush" elections when trying to organize workers at retail stores and elsewhere are likely to take effect as scheduled this month despite efforts in Congress to stop them. The Senate and House both voted last month to block the National Labor Relations Board regulations, but President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation and neither margin was large enough to override a veto. "The rule grossly shortens the timeframe for union representation elections, trampling employer due process rights while also limiting employee access to essential information," NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in a letter to Congress. "The NLRB's rule is not about efficiency but rather a naked attempt by the board to tip the scales in favor of union organizing." While employers would be given little notice of an election, unions could "secretly campaign for months or years," French said. NRF and other business groups have filed a lawsuit against the rules in U.S. District Court in Washington but a ruling is not expected before they take effect on April 14. Under the regulations, a union election could be held in as little as two weeks after a petition is filed. That compares with a median of 38 days under previous rules. Pre-election hearings would be held in eight days, with employers required to file a position statement the day before, and employers would be given only two days to provide unions with workers' personal telephone numbers and email addresses. NRF is concerned about the change because organized labor has targeted traditionally non-union industries like retail for aggressive expansion efforts. Other recent NLRB actions would allow formation of micro-unions as small as a single department within a store, and let franchise companies be considered joint employers with local franchise owners. Senate to House: 'Do What's Right' on Internet Sales Tax Senators are trying again on Internet sales tax legislation, but it's not clear how soon a bill might move in the House. And at least one Supreme Court justice is having doubts about the landmark ruling that left most online sales untaxed. "It's time to give the states the right to enforce their own laws without having to get permission from Washington," says Senator Michael Enzi, RWyo., who reintroduced the Marketplace Fairness Act last month. "We came close in the last Congress but the bill was never acted on in the House," says Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "I hope that in the 114th Congress we can do what's right." The measure passed the Senate in 2013 but died in the House, where Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., held a hearing and outlined principles to be included in sales tax legislation but never scheduled a vote. Goodlatte is expected to introduce a bill of his own but says he wants retailers, governors, state legislators and others to be on board before he moves forward. "The timeframe is when we have an agreement," 10 STORES April 2015 Goodlatte said in an interview published after the Enzi bill was reintroduced. "We are working with a wide variety of parties to reach an agreement on how to proceed." Enzi and Durbin are longtime sponsors of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which has been introduced in various forms for more than a dozen years. The bill would allow states to require out-of-state online sellers to collect sales tax regardless of whether they have a physical presence in the state, effectively overturning a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said a presence like a store, office or warehouse was necessary. NRF called reintroduction "a welcome sign that lawmakers may finally act" and hoped it would "spur congressional action to remedy this problem this year." Introduction came a week after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said the court made the wrong decision in the 1992 ruling and invited opponents to file a new case that would let the court correct its mistake. NRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015