Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times

April 25, 2017

Roundtable Anticipates Changes to Labor and Employment Relations Under Trump Administration

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Prominent lawyers, professors, corporate managers and union leaders gathered for a roundtable talk on Monday to discuss the direction of hospitality, labor and employment relations under President Donald Trump’s administration.

Prof. David Sherwyn, hotel administration, highlighted the purpose of the discussion in the context of the hotel school’s background.

“As the leading hotel school program in the world and as a part of the SC Johnson School of Business, we, along with our partner in this endeavor, the ILR School, feel that it is imperative for us to bring people from labor, management and government together to provide a forum where we can discuss ideas and to create a better legislative agenda, a better work environment and a better industry,” he said.

The talk was divided into four topics covering employment, changes in leadership of the National Labor Relations Board, the issues of discrimination, arbitration, wage and hour laws, and a student question-and-answer section.

Several roundtable participants debated the impacts of a growing market for contract workers. Some suggested that such changes would decrease quality of service or decrease wages in the industry.

Participants also discussed the potential impacts of changes in the leadership of the National Labor Relations Board, concluding that the future of this board and of joint employer issues, depends on who President Trump appoints as its chair.

On April 21, 2017, Trump announced his intention to appoint Republican Philip Miscimarra as the NLRB’s new chair. Obama appointed Miscimarra to the board in 2013, according to Reuters.

Participants agreed that regardless of who takes the NLRB’s helm, there will likely be more litigation based on the distinction between employees and independent contractors.

Sherwyn discussed the potential impacts of the Trump administration afterward.

“It’s no secret that we’re still up in the air as to what this administration will do,” he said. “This is trending to be not very different than what we saw in the last couple of Republican administrations.”

His message for the Cornell community was that changes in administrations can change labor and employment relations law and that it is important to stay aware of these changes.

“The Cornell community should be cognizant of this fact and make it a priority to understand what changes are being made, and like the old standard says, accept what you can’t change and change what you can’t accept,” Sherwyn said.