GOP Platform Urges National Right-to-Work Law

Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...

By Chris Opfer

July 18 — The Republican National Committee July 18 adopted a “pro-growth” platform that calls for national right-to-work legislation and the easing of regulatory and tax burdens on employers.

The 58-page platform takes aim in particular at “the anachronistic labor laws that limit workers’ freedom and lock them into the workplace rules of their great-grandfathers.” It also urges the passage of a national right-to-work law, which would ban “union security” clauses in collective bargaining agreements, and argues that minimum wage laws should be left to the states.

The platform lays out the Republican Party's official position on a wide range of issues in advance of the November elections. It largely mirrors labor policy positions already staked out by Republicans in Congress in recent years.

The GOP platform chides the National Labor Relations Board's recent decision to expand joint employer liability, a move it calls an “attack” on the franchise business model ( Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc.2015 BL 278454, 362 N.L.R.B. No. 186 (8/27/15)). That ruling is currently on appeal.

Republicans also used the platform to rail against what they call heavy-handed Labor Department enforcement of federal wage and hour law in a way that denies flexibility and opportunity to workers.

Although it doesn't go as far in criticizing trade policy as presumptive nominee Donald Trump might have liked, the platform calls for trade deals to be reconsidered and cautions against a “lame duck” vote on the pending Trans Pacific Partnership.

Echoing calls from a wide variety of lawmakers and stakeholders, the platform also calls for portable benefits and health-care programs. The rise of “gig” and other nontraditional work arrangements has been cited as a driving force behind calls for a new type of benefits and health-care program in which employers pay into a pool for contractors on a flexible, pro rata basis that reflects hours on the job.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in Washington at copfer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.