Industry Reps Speak Out on Obama’s Order to Review Federal Regulations
January 21, 2011

Federal regulations can pose both opportunities and challenges for many businesses, including glass industry companies. In an effort to support economic growth and job creation, earlier this week President Obama ordered a review of federal regulations. As part of the immediate implementation, the President issued a memorandum to the heads of Executive Agencies and Departments calling for more transparency and accountability in regulatory compliance, as well as a memorandum emphasizing the need to reduce burdens on small businesses whenever possible. The executive order requires Federal agencies to design cost-effective, evidence-based regulations that are compatible with economic growth, job creation and competitiveness.

Several in the glass industry say there are a number of areas surrounding energy and the environment they think should be reviewed.

"I applaud [the President’s] efforts to help create jobs and get this economy moving in the right direction. I would go a step further and give tax credits to help stimulate the public to buy these energy products,” says Tom Wright with Sound Glass Sales in Tacoma, Wash. “In 2009 and 2010 we had in place a $1,500.00 tax credit; it is now back at the 2008 level of $200. Overall the increased exposure that green products receive is great for the industry. It will create growth, which in turn will create jobs. We need to have a reason for the public to remodel their homes to drive this recovery and energy savings is one way to drive this growth.”

Wright adds that he would also figure out a way to get the cash moving.

"The money needs to be available to the consumer. Currently loans are difficult to come by. The public wants to be able to lower their energy consumption but the banks are not loaning the money,” says Wright.

Organizations such as the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are also in favor of these efforts

Aric Newhouse, NAM senior vice president for Government Relations and Policy issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s executive order:

“Manufacturers appreciate President Obama’s call for a government-wide review of regulations and rules. Manufacturers have been saying for some time that overregulation is harming job creation and stifling economic growth. This is an opportunity for the President to demonstrate results by eliminating unnecessary regulations already in the pipeline or delaying poorly thought-out proposals that are costing jobs. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposals [such as] regulating greenhouse gases … are a real threat to America’s job creators. We stand ready to assist in the President’s efforts to address an escalating problem and meaningfully reduce unnecessary burdens on manufacturers in America so they can get back to creating jobs.”

Bill Yanek, GANA executive vice president, adds, "GANA is working in concert with the NAM in providing the committee with information relating to EPA regulation of carbon emissions. Any spotlight Congress can shine on regulations enacted without regard to job destruction is welcome."

Another concern for some is the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “Card Check.” Bill Stone, president of Louisville Plate Glass in Louisville, Ky., says if card check became law it would almost be impossible for some glazing contractors and glass fabricators to avoid unionization.

“Current law provides that, in cases where a union receives more than 50 percent of an employee group's signatures on cards, it requires a government supervised secret ballot election. The record shows that in the vast majority of cases the union loses these secret ballot representation elections. Using traditional intimidation tactics, unions have little difficulty getting enough cards signed to force a National Labor Relations Board regulated election,” says Stone. “When employees are protected by their right to a secret ballot they, in most cases, reject the union. Card Check eliminates the secret ballot. The mere presentation to an employer of 51 percent of its employees’ signatures on cards causes automatic unionization of the company. There are other hideous aspects such as mandated government arbitration, which gives a bureaucrat the power to set wages, benefits, and work rules without recourse. This is an invitation to move millions of jobs out of our country.”

Which regulations do you think are important to the glass industry? E-mail Ellen Rogers to share your opinions.


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