The New “Persuader Rule” and Its Impact on Manufacturers

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The federal Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) in the Department of Labor issued a Final Rule, on March 24, 2016, that significantly reinterprets the so-called Persuader Activities Rule. This rule represents the administrative implementation of provisions in the National Labor Relations Act that require (1) employers to annually report agreements that have the object of dissuading employees from supporting unions (“persuader activities agreements”), (2) consultants to report such persuader activities agreements within thirty days, and (3) consultants who enter any persuader activities agreements to annually report payments from employers for all “labor relations advice and services.” (the “LM-21 Report”) Continue reading this entry

OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule: Compliance Clock Ticks While Legal Challenges Mount

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule on “Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica” (the “Silica Rule”) on March 25, 2016, and as expected numerous manufacturing industry trade groups and others have filed legal challenges to the rule’s validity. With the outcome of these challenges uncertain, manufacturers and other affected industries are currently subject to the compliance deadlines established in the Silica Rule—June 23, 2017 for the construction industry and June 23, 2018 for general industry and maritime. Given the potential costs of compliance and penalties for noncompliance, manufacturers and other regulated industries should consider starting their compliance planning process now, while also following the progress of legal challenges to the Silica Rule to help avoid unnecessary cost in the event it is overturned. Continue reading this entry

Potential Antitrust Implications of Most Favored Nation Clauses

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In the manufacturing industry, parties have turned to most favored nation (MFN) clauses—or clauses having the same effect—as a means to assure the lowest possible input costs. MFN clauses offer pro-competitive, cost-saving benefits including efficiencies in negotiations; buyers need not haggle for the last nickel in cost reduction when an MFN clause guarantees the best available price. Despite these pro-competitive benefits, MFN clauses have drawn increased scrutiny for their possible misuse and potential for creating antitrust exposure. Continue reading this entry

Deadline Approaching for Prop 65 Compliance for Bisphenol A

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Effective May 11, 2016, manufacturers that make products containing Bisphenol A (“BPA”) will be required to comply with California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as “Prop 65.” More specifically, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of such products must ensure that by no later than May 11, 2016, consumers are provided a “clear and reasonable warning” regarding the hazards associated with BPA. Continue reading this entry

Weathering the (Winter) Storm

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Extreme winter weather can cause serious problems. For children, winter weather often means snow days and an escape from the confines of the classroom. For manufacturers, heavy snow and ice can mean absent workers, power outages, and supply shipments that do not arrive. In many lean manufacturing industries, there is little or no margin in the supply chain to accommodate such disruptions and extreme weather can mean missed deliveries to customers. Continue reading this entry