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Retail employees

Support Workforce Investment

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NRF promotes policies that encourage workforce investment and support retail careers – including workforce training, career development and programs that encourage the hiring of veterans and low-income Americans. Restoring 40 hours a week as the definition of “full-time” under the Affordable Care Act would benefit retail employees with more income, encourage more true full-time employment and overcome a principle concern with the ACA’s “employer mandate” that requires businesses to provide health insurance at coverage levels dictated by the government. NRF has fought efforts by the National Labor Relations Board to tilt the balance of union organizing efforts against retailers and retail employees. A number of NLRB decisions in the past several years on issues such as “ambush” union organizing elections and the creation of “micro-unions” took the side of unions, but are now being reversed or reconsidered. Meanwhile, NRF has shown that an increase in the federal minimum wage would slow the creation of starting jobs for younger workers and make it harder for small retailers to expand. In addition, NRF helped defeat a major expansion of overtime eligibility that would have limited retail workers’ career opportunities. And with competition for the best workers increasingly global, the nation’s broken immigration system needs reform so retailers can hire highly skilled workers.

  • Health Care – The Affordable Care Act requirement to provide health insurance to “full-time” workers should apply only to those working 40 hours a week or more rather than 30 hours.
  • Immigration Reform – The current immigration system is broken, unworkable and in desperate need of reform.
  • Labor Relations – The National Labor Relations Board should continue to be returned to its intended role as an objective arbiter of labor issues and should continue to rescind rulings and regulations on issues such as “ambush” elections and “micro-unions” that were intended to make it easier to organize traditionally non-union industries like retail.
  • Minimum Wage – The federal minimum wage should be recognized as a “starting wage” intended to help bring young and inexperienced individuals into the workforce. Raising it would hamper efforts at jobs creation.
  • Overtime – Any increase in overtime eligibility should be set at reasonable wage levels, should not include automatic increases, and should not limit retail workers’ career opportunities or interfere with retail managers’ discretion to put in the extra hours sometimes needed to make their stores successful.
  • Right to Work – Workers should be free to decide whether to join a union and should not be rushed with “ambush” elections that allow only the union to present its side or have their right to a secret ballot taken away through “card check” elections that require only that a union card be signed.
  • Scheduling – NRF believes one-size-fits-all government intervention in the scheduling of employees intrudes on the employer-employee relationship and creates unnecessary mandates on how a business should operate.
  • Skilled Worker Visas – Practical, comprehensive reform is needed to address the needs of both employers and today’s transient workforce, particularly when businesses seek to hire highly skilled workers whose talents are a commodity in the global economy.

The NRF Retail Opportunity Index encourages Congress to:

  • Invest in U.S. jobs by implementing tax policy that makes U.S. companies competitive in the global economy and provides a level playing field among all sectors of the economy and all sectors of retail whether the merchant delivers its products in a store, through the mail or over the Internet.
  • Open markets for consumer goods by tearing down trade barriers that drive up prices for American shoppers and limit export markets for American companies, ending regulations that artificially drive up prices, and making it easier for foreign visitors to come to the United States to shop.
  • Modernize U.S. infrastructure by improving and expanding the current transportation system in order to end bottlenecks and inefficiencies and to make it easier for American companies to grow and be competitive.
  • Support workforce investment by supporting jobs and economic growth rather than union organizers and expensive new regulations and mandates. 
  • Foster innovation in customer experience by working with retailers to improve credit and debit card security through agreed-upon standards rather than bank-issued mandates, and to protect privacy while still being able to give shoppers a customized and personalized experience online and in-store.
  • Promote technology development by passing reform legislation that would block frivolous lawsuits threatened by “patent trolls” over dubious infringement claims.