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Warehousing and Logistics News – Obama Adds to Federal Contractors’ Burden

ACWI Advance | Volume 3, Issue 18 | September 30, 2015

On Sept. 7, Labor Day, President Obama signed the most recent in more than a dozen Executive Orders imposing federal contractor labor rules, this one requiring they offer employees health insurance.

The announcement is one of a long line of similar actions by the President choosing to snub the Republican-controlled Congress. It was aniticipated earlier when a draft version was circulating throughout the government (AA, 8-31-15, P. 3).

2015-10-02_11-13-39The President has been a long-time proponent of paid leave for workers in the private as well as the public sectors. In his State of the Union address last January he urged Congress to pass legislation that would give all of the country’s employees seven days of paid sick leave.

Democrats in Congress had introduced legislation to accomplish this, but with Congress controlled by Republicans, the proposal won’t go anywhere soon.

However, a number of state and municipal governments have enacted laws requiring sick leave over the past several years, particularly in jurisdictions considered Democrat strongholds.

“Since taking office, President Obama has issued 12 Executive Orders pertaining to government contracting, resulting in 16 new regulations,” said the letter sent Aug. 3 by the Aerospace Industries Association, National Defense Industrial Association, Professional Services Council and Information Technology Industry Council.

“While we have openly expressed our support for some, suggested changes to others with which we agree on the intent, and raised major concerns about yet others, the net effect has been to significantly increase the costs of doing business with the government, some estimate that nearly 30 cents of every contract dollar goes toward compliance with unique government regulations,” they said.

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Unions Can Gather Electronic Signatures

In a move creating new difficulties for employers, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board said it is okay for unions to gather signatures electronically in organizing campaigns.

General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. earlier this month told board employees that email exchanges and other “internet/intranet sign-up methods” are acceptable to support a union organizing petition in place of the authorization cards which have been used for the past 80 years.

Before the NLRB will permit an organizing election to be held, it must verify that at least 30% of the voting unit desires such representation, previously accomplished with the physical signature cards.

also laid out a list of requirements for accepting electronic signatures which he said will ensure they can be checked for validity.

Some legal observers say that when combined with the new “ambush” or “quickie” election rules, this adds to the disadvantages the NLRB is piling up for employers facing organizing campaigns.

“The ease and secrecy will greatly reduce the time employers have to respond to such efforts by educating their employees on the pros and cons of such a choice,”says attorney John Hasman of the law firm of Armstrong Teasdale LLP.

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Ecommerce Reshapes Holiday Shopping

A Pitney Bowes survey found that more than 90% of consumers plan to shop both in stores and online this holiday season, with 94% planning to shop from a computer and 49% from a mobile device.

Consumers also said they want to be offered different shopping, shipping and returns options.

“Retailers must focus on offering diverse options—whether for shopping channel, shipping and return methods or even promotional offers–in order to attract consumers throughout their shopping experiences,” says says says says Christoph Stehmann, PB’s Chief Operating Officer of Digital Commerce Solutions.

In fact, 93% of consumers find shipping options to be an important factor in their overall shopping experience – a 23% increase from 2014.  Also, 88% of those surveyed find free shipping with a 5-7 day delivery to be more attractive than paying for a 1-2 day delivery.

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