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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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April 28: Workers Memorial Day

(Dept of Labor, OSHA) Permanent link

4_22_15 
Observed annually on April 28, Workers' Memorial Day honors those workers who have died on the job. The day was first established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971.
 
The good news is that the number of workplace fatalities per year has been reduced from approximately 14,000 in 1970 to 4,405 in 2013. This is a substantial achievement in a workforce that has doubled in size. Unfortunately, every day, 12 workers are killed on the job in the United States.   

Check out these statistics for employees most at risk:

  • There were 797 fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers which is a 7 percent increase from 2012.
  • The largest share of worker fatalities among foreign born workers is those born in Mexico (42 percent).  
  • Temporary or contract workers are also at significant risk. The number of fatal occupational injuries incurred by contractors was 734, or 17 percent of all fatal injuries.
  • Fatal falls, slips or trips took the lives of 699 workers in 2013. Falls to a lower level accounted for 574 (82 percent) of those fatalities.  
  • Workplace violence continues to be in the news this year and these incidents are reflected in workplace statistics. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that violence in the workplace resulted in 397 homicides.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act enacted in 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA ensures these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. These statistics underscore the importance of providing safety and health training in the appropriate language and upon hiring since many temporary workers are killed or injured in their first week at work.  

Take this opportunity to refresh your employee safety training and practices. Check out these staff training resources available through CMAA’s OSHA website and CMAA University.

Industry Converges for Eighth Annual National Golf Day

(Congress, National Golf Day, WE ARE GOLF, Regulation) Permanent link

4_17_15_2On Wednesday, April 15, representatives of the We Are Golf coalition, including the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and the National Club Association (NCA) converged on Capitol Hill for the eighth annual National Golf Day to share the industry’s economic, environmental, health and charitable benefits as well as to lobby on issues of chief importance to our industry.

CMAA and NCA joined forces for meetings with House and Senate Leadership and shared our positions on technical corrections to the Affordable Care Act like including HR 30, the Save American Workers Act, and HR 863, STARS Act. Further, CMAA and NCA expressed support for HR 1732, Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to the Waters of the US regulation.

CMAA was represented by Vice President Jill Philmon, CCM, CCE, Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Morgan, FASAE, CAE,  and Senior Director, Communications and Government Relations, Melissa Low, and conferenced with NCA representatives and CMAA members Mark Bado, MCM, CCE, Kirk Reese, CCM, and Kevin Vitale, CCM, and NCA’s CEO Sue Wegrzyn and VP Government Relations & General Counsel, Brad Steele. (pictured)

More than 75 industry representatives participated in Washington, DC, in approximately 100 Congressional visits and meetings. As well, representatives met with The White House.

Beyond Washington, thousands of other individuals nationwide supported the event through contacting their Congressmen via e-mail and social media.

H-2B Visa Program Granted Extension to May 15

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

4_17_15On April 15, the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued an order extending the operation of the H-2B visa program. As a result, the US Department of Labor (DOL) will process temporary labor certification applications under its 2008 H-2B regulations through May 15, 2015.

In March, adjudications were briefly suspended following the same court’s March 4 ruling in Perez v. Perez where the court ruled that the DOL lacked the statutory authority to issue rules and regulations for the H-2B visa program and specifically named the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the governing body. The program resumed operation on March 17.

Further, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will resume premium processing for H-2B Petitions on Monday, April 20.

In the meantime, employers and employers are still awaiting the joint interim final rule which the DOL and DHS announced intentions to issue before April 30.

H-2B Cap Reached for FY2015

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link


On April 2, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it had met the Congressionally mandated H-2B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions was March 26, 2015. The current annual cap is 66,000 visas.

The only exemptions to this cap are:

  • H-2B workers in the United States or abroad who have previously been counted towards the cap in the previous three years;
  • Current H-2B workers seeking an extension of stay; or
  • Current H-2B workers seeking a change of employer or terms of employment.

For petitions for workers starting in FY2016 or after October 1, 2015, employers may file petitions up to 120 days prior to the employment start date.

April Is National Workplace Violence Prevention Month

(Dept of Labor) Permanent link

According to Department of Labor (DOL), nearly two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Employees who work alone or in isolated areas; provide services and care; or work where alcohol are more likely to be subject to violence. Additionally, time of day and location of work is important to those who work alone or in small groups.

Unfortunately, the club industry is not immune to this. Think of your golf course maintenance employees, closing bartenders and wait staff or early morning kitchen staff who enter or exit the club in darkness.

Does your club have a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence? What about training for employees?

Here is a sample club policy from CMAA’s Club Employee Handbook:

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE OR HARASSMENT

The Club will not tolerate any threats of violence or harm by one employee toward a member, guest, invitee or co-worker. Any such threats will be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly. Any employee who harasses another employee or engages in harassing or threatening behavior is subject to immediate dismissal. Any acts of threatening behavior, fighting, pushing, shoving, attacking or bullying will be considered violations of this policy. If necessary and appropriate, the Club may contact local authorities and file a criminal report.

If you have been threatened or believe that someone may engage in a violent act here at the Club, please notify management at once. If you notice or see any behavior that concerns you, or if you feel like an act of violence may be committed, you should report it immediately. No weapons of any description are allowed on Club property. Do not bring any type of weapon onto Club property, on your person or in your vehicle or belongings. This policy applies whether you have a permit or license to possess and carry a weapon or not.

Any violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to, and including, termination from employment.

Take this opportunity to make sure your policies are up to date, and your employees are comfortable with your policies and how to respond if violence occurs at your club. Check out these training resources available through OSHA and CMAA University.

NLRB Ambush Election Rule Slated to Become Effective April 14

(Dept of Labor, Regulation) Permanent link


3_25_15_2Despite Congressional disapproval by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, it is likely that the National Labor Relation Board’s ambush election rule will go into effect on April 14.
 
The final rule was published on December 12, 2014, and will significantly change NLRB election procedures by decreasing the time between the filing of a petition and the occurrence of an election. It could be disadvantageous for both employers and employees by hampering an employees’ ability to obtain complete information about the costs of unionization and limiting the employer’s ability to effectively prepare for the process. An election could be scheduled in as few as 10 days. The current average is 30 days.
 
The Senate passed the resolution of disapproval of the NLRB’s rule on March 4, S.J. Resolution 8, in a 53-46 vote, and the House approved the same measure on March 19. However, the White House has already indicated its inclination to veto the measure.  
 
Further, two lawsuits have been filed against the rule. The US Chamber of Commerce filed a challenge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and a second challenge was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas by the Associated Builders & Contractors of Texas, Inc. Unfortunately, neither district court has scheduled a hearing in this matter to date.

EPA Says Waters of the US Rule Will Be Finalized in 2015

(Regulation) Permanent link


3_15_15_1In a recent House Committee Hearing, Ken Kopocis, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deputy assistant administrator for water, testified that the final Waters of the US Rule is slated to be released this spring and will become effective by October 1, 2015. Further, he shared that the rule – which the EPA is now calling the “Clean Water Rule” will include changes to the proposed definition of tributaries, floodplains and riparian areas.

It is estimated that more than 800,000 comments were submitted to the EPA on the proposed rule in November. To date, only 20,000 have been posted. Twenty-states submitted comments asking the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule entirely and 10 additional states submitted comments that opposed the rule in its current form and sought revisions. On Friday, November 14, CMAA and its allies in the Waters Advocacy Coalition submitted their official comments to the EPA in regards to the proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act and Waters of the US Rule.

Both houses of Congress have been engaged on this matter. Most recently, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) has proposed an amendment to S. Con. Resolution 11 which would specifically limit the reach of the rule.

CMAA and its allies continue to work to limit the effect of this proposed rule. Stay tuned!