NAW Government Relations Update

Posted by NAW on 6/26/19 4:00 PM

Our industry partners at the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors continues to work on our behalf on a variety of issues impacting the greater wholesale industry. Below are a few updates on current issues they are involved with.

naw_logoNLRB “Joint Employer” standard:

As we’ve reported before, the Obama National Relations Board radically changed the standard on what constituted a joint employer for purposes of labor union organizing, reversing the long-held standard that an employer had to have direct control over the terms and conditions of employees to be considered a joint employer.  The Obama Board changed that standard to one in which “indirect control” is sufficient for joint employer status (in which employees can be included in a collective bargaining unit without the consent of both employers). 

In May 2018, Board Chairman John Ring announced that the Board would propose a formal regulation to create a new Joint Employer standard.  NAW has participated and will continue to participate in this rule-making through the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which we help manage. 

In addition, on April 19th the Department of Labor (DoL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to “update and clarify” the joint employer standard.  Today NAW joined the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and more than 40 other organizations in submitting comments to DoL on the issue.

These rule-makings are significant because a future NLRB will be unable to arbitrarily set a new standard by a simple case decision without stakeholder input and public comment.  Click here to read our comments.


Labor legislation in the House of Representatives:

Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), has once again introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.  This radical legislation is a smorgasbord of pro-union legislation written to increase union membership at any cost, including attempting to implement policies that have been rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them.  (Click here to read more about the PRO Act.) 

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which NAW helps manage, has been actively meeting with moderate Democrats, with an intense focus on members who sit on the Education and Labor Committee, in an effort to educate them on how radical this legislation truly is.

The Republican controlled Senate is unlikely to take this legislation up (should the House pass it).  Nevertheless, should Democrats regain control of the Senate and keep the House in the 2020 election cycle, this type of pro-union legislation that can be expected.

For more information on this issue contact Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, at


Health Care update:

Through the multiple health care coalitions NAW helps manage, we have arranged and participated in well over 60 meetings on the Hill with key Committee and Member staff since the beginning of the 116th Congress.  NAW is strongly advocating for employer-sponsored coverage and demanding that Congress repeal and/or delay several health care taxes created by the Affordable Care Act, including the Cadillac tax, the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and the medical device tax.

NAW is actively supporting bi-partisan legislation in both the House and the Senate that provides employers with relief from burdensome health care regulations, repeals the health care taxes and protects employer-sponsored coverage for the over 181 million American workers and their families who depend on that coverage every day.  

For more information on these efforts, please contact Blake Adami, Vice President of Government Relations, at


Federal procurement of commercial products update:

The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restructured the process by which Federal agencies purchase more than $50 billion in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products annually.  The law directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to establish a program to allow government agencies to purchase COTS items through commercial online e-commerce portals.  To ensure broad choice and competitive pricing, the law also mandates the GSA to pursue “multiple contracts with multiple e-commerce providers.”

With no explanation, GSA chose to confine its pilot test to only the e-marketplace model, the Amazon marketplace.  In a legislative request to Congress this year, GSA also asked for an increase in the Micro-Purchase Threshold (MPT) from $10,000 to $25,000, solely for purchases made through the e-marketplace “Amazon” portal, for five years.  This MPT increase request combined with the selection of only the e-marketplace portal delivers an unfair advantage that benefits only Amazon.

NAW continues to arrange and participate in meetings with House and Senate Committee staff.  On June 13, 2019, we were successful in preventing the GSA’s legislative request to increase the MPT from $10,000 to $25,000 from being included in the House Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA. 

NAW was also successful in advocating to have language included that directs the GSA to conduct their upcoming pilot with multiple e-commerce models, not just the Amazon model. While our efforts have been successful in the House, the battle continues in the Senate as they consider S. 1790, their FY’20 NDAA legislation. 

For more information on these efforts, please contact Blake Adami, Vice President of Government Relations, at


LIFO update:

Recently, Senator (and Democratic Presidential Candidate) Bernie Sanders released his preferred options to finance “Medicare for All,” which included eliminating LIFO.  In response to this proposal, the NAW-led LIFO Coalition immediately sprang into action by scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill with all the members of the tax writing committees to ensure that no one is considering using Senator Sanders proposal to eliminate LIFO. 

To date, the coalition has met with over half of the committee members where we have received overwhelming support for preserving LIFO.  Additionally, any NAW member who uses LIFO should take advantage of any opportunity you have to talk to or meet with your elected officials to reinforce the importance of LIFO.

For more information on this issue contact Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, at

We will continue to update you on issues of importance to the wholesale distribution industry.

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