The First 100 Days: The Trump Administration’s Impact on Labor and Employment Law Thus Far

By: James J. Plunkett

April 27, 2017

Twenty-four executive orders, 13 signed Congressional Review Act resolutions, and one failed healthcare bill … political pundits and policy experts are no doubt tallying up these and other actions as we quickly approach April 29, 2017, which will mark the first 100 days of the Trump administration. While there has been some important activity in the labor and employment policy areas during these 100 days, many in the business community are still wondering what the Trump administration’s positions will be with respect to current labor and employment policy matters.

Indeed, while Trump has acted quickly and decisively in rolling back burdensome employment regulations like the “ blacklisting” and “Volks” rules, the same cannot be said about the speed with which he has appointed personnel to run important agencies like the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). President Trump may even pass the 100-day marker without having a Secretary of Labor in place. Moreover, President Trump inherited two vacancies at the NLRB and had the ability to fill those seats immediately and begin the process of undoing eight years of mischief at the Board. Not only have these Board seats not been filled, but the president hasn’t even offered up nominees yet.  

The failure to appoint individuals to these important posts has undoubtedly been a missed opportunity for President Trump. It also leaves employers wondering about the president’s commitment to undoing the heap of burdensome labor and employment regulations that have accumulated over the past eight years. How will the DOL handle the previous administration’s appeals of federal court injunctions of the overtime and persuader rules? How will the DOL’s fiduciary and silica rules be enforced, if at all? Will the NLRB’s amorphous joint employer standard continue? What impact will President Trump’s recent “Buy American and Hire American” executive order have on employers that rely on highly-skilled H-1B visa holders to meet their staffing needs? These are all questions that employers are asking.

Congress is back in session after a two-week hiatus from April 10–21, 2017. Their next extended break is not until August of 2017. At the 100-day marker, the employer community is hopeful that this will give both the administration and Congress ample time to begin making positive progress on a new labor and employment policy agenda.