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Columbus State Offers Info Briefing & Tour for New Maintenance Training Program

April 8, 2016

Columbus State Community College (CSCC) presents its new non-credit Maintenance Training Program, developed by Columbus State’s Engineering Department and housed within its Integrated Systems Technology (IST) lab.

There is an info briefing and lab tour on Friday, May 20 from 7:30 – 10:00 a.m.

This program offers multiple levels of study, starting with the basics and rapidly building into more sophisticated technology applications. It blends individual, self-paced, computer-assisted training with traditional lecture and discussion, hands-on activities, and simulation exercises.

Courses include: AC&DC Electrical Systems, Motor Controls, Electronic Drives, Electrical Wiring Systems, PLC, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Mechanical Systems, Vibration Analysis, Electronic Sensors, Pump Systems, and Thermal Process Control.

Analysis of the New “Persuader Rule”

April 1, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward, provides this analysis of the Department of Labor’s recently released revisions to the rules for reporting employer engagements with third parties to provide services designed to influence employees’ choices of collective bargaining representation, known as “persuader activity.”

Franz Ward writes: “The logical and logistical problems with the new rule are substantial. As drafted, it raises freedom of speech issues that the prior interpretation (in effect since 1962) avoided. The forms have been revised to require electronic filing under a “check the box” format that may not reflect reality or the nuances of what actually occurred. The distinction between advising an employer to make a particular argument and engaging in persuader activity by describing the argument to the employer is impossible to draw. Since the forms must be filed correctly under penalty of a felony violation, the consequences of such new vagueness are frightening, especially for the CEO’s and Treasurers who must sign the reports.

“Meanwhile, starting July 1 (unless the rule is enjoined), employers and their labor relations advisors will need to review their arrangements carefully to ensure that there is no persuader activity or, if there is, that reports are timely made.”

Obama Administration Releases Labor Organizing “Persuader Rule”

March 25, 2016

This week the Department of Labor (DOL) released the anticipated Persuader Rule, which reinterprets longstanding requirements on how employers can seek advice regarding labor organizing activities and when an entity has to disclose its activity to the DOL.

Under the former rules, only those entities who have direct contact with employees regarding labor organizing campaigns had to disclose their activity to DOL.

According to the administration’s fact sheet:  “The Persuader Rule requires employers and their hired consultants to report when the consultants directly persuade workers or when the consultants in one of the following four categories: 1) Plan, direct, or coordinate managers to persuade workers; 2) Provide persuader materials to employers to disseminate to workers; 3) Conduct union avoidance seminars; and 4) Develop or implement personnel policies or actions to persuade workers.

And “The Persuader Rule still exempts agreements by which the consultant agrees to merely provide “advice” to the employer, defined as “recommendations regarding a decision or course of conduct.” The Rule also exempts any agreement that involves only the provision of legal services.”

The rule will go into effect 30 days post publishing in the Federal Register, in late April, and will be applicable to arrangements and agreements on persuader type activity made on or after July 1, 2016.  National Association of Manufacturers is exploring all options on Capitol Hill and through the courts to push back on this latest regulation.

Outside Salespeople are Still Exempt from Minimum Wage Under Ohio Law

March 25, 2016

On March 17, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court held that Ohio’s minimum wage law, which exempts outside salespeople from the definition of “employee,” does not conflict with a 2006 voter-approved amendment to the Ohio Constitution and, therefore, remains good law.

This decision is favorable to Ohio employers who can continue to exempt their outside salespeople from minimum wage under both Ohio and federal law.

Read more about the case from OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler.

Supreme Court Holds Employees May Use Representative Evidence to Establish Employer Liability

March 25, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, reports that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the use of representative statistical evidence as proof of liability in a labor and employment law class action.

Tyson Foods, Inc. v Bouaphakeo et al grew out of a wage and hour class action suit initiated by Tyson’s employees, who alleged the company failed to adequately pay them overtime pay for donning and doffing protective gear at a pork processing plant.  The case went to trial, and based largely upon a statistical sample offered by an expert witness for the plaintiff, the jury awarded the class of 3,344 participants $2.9 million in damages.

As a result, Barnes & Thornburg cautions that employers should prepare for the possibility of a further increase in wage and hour class actions, particularly in connection with issues involving recordkeeping violations.

OMA Testifies on Medical Marijuana

March 11, 2016

Joëlle Khouzam of OMA counsel Bricker & Eckler testified on behalf of the OMA before the House Task Force on Medical Marijuana.  The task force, on which OMA chairman Bill Sopko sits, is studying the issue of medical marijuana with the intent of making recommendations to the full House on possible legislation.

Khouzam said: “The OMA respectfully asks this Task Force to consider the employment-related implications that have surfaced in medical-marijuana states, and that create potential concerns for the well-being and safety of Ohio workers.”

She discussed safety issues, confidentiality issues, potential concerns about increased lawsuits, and the concerns about additional costs that may be shifted to manufacturers if medical marijuana is legalized in Ohio.

“In sum, employers need to understand a lot more about what such legislation might entail so that they can continue to make safety-oriented business decisions without fear of lawsuits.
The lack of understanding about what the term “medical marijuana” even means — even the lack of knowledge about what form it would be in, extracted oils, food products (“edibles”), or in smoked form, impacts many other workplace policies,” Khouzam concluded.

Another Mandate on Federal Contractors

March 4, 2016

As directed by last year’s Executive Order, the Obama Administration released a proposed rule for federal contractors and subcontractors requiring them to provide seven days of paid sick leave annually, which can be used for personal illness as well as leave allowing for family care.

This new mandate will apply to those employees working “on” or “in connection with” any new contracts awarded by the federal government starting January 1, 2017. The Administration believes this proposal will afford over 800,000 workers paid leave that they currently do not receive.

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) staff are reviewing the details of the proposal and plan to comment by the March 28 due date.  NAM also intends to request a deadline extension.

NAM welcomes input and questions.  Contact Amanda Wood, Director, Labor and Employment Policy, at (202) 637-3128.

Ohio Employment Discrimination Reform Bill Introduced

February 26, 2016

Senate Bill 268, sponsored by Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), proposes to comprehensively overhaul Ohio’s employment discrimination statutes in a manner that would benefit employers and bring Ohio’s laws more in line with federal discrimination laws, but would continue to provide individuals avenues to assert state law discrimination violations.

This bill would bring Ohio’s statute in line with its federal counterpart by eliminating personal liability for managers and supervisors.

The bill also seeks to reduce the timeframe to file an employment discrimination lawsuit in court to one year and apply it to all discrimination claims.  Today, depending on the type of claim, individuals have between 180 days and six years to file.

OMA counsel Betsy Swift and Jill Bigler of Bricker & Eckler have highlighted the key provisions in this summary.

Interns for Central Ohio Manufacturers

February 26, 2016

The Ohio Department of Higher Education “Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops” program (OMIC) funds co-located and regular student internships in advanced manufacturing.

The Columbus Region LIFT OMIC program offers 30 co-located and 50 regular internships for manufacturers to access Columbus region community college, Ohio Technical Center, and university students and faculty to work closely with them on manufacturing projects.

The co-located internships are affiliated with the federal Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) program.  More information is available here.

Court Holds Company Can Reject Terms, Conditions of Expired Collective Bargaining Agreement

February 19, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, reported that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently provided a win to employers.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requires employers to adhere to the terms and conditions of an expired collective bargaining agreement either until a new agreement has been reached or the parties achieve impasse.

However, the court’s recent decision in In re Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., held that companies can reject a collective bargaining agreement under certain conditions.  Read more here.