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The Chamber at Work for You
October 2011

Hello. And welcome to “At the Center.”

Last month, the Board of Directors of your Lancaster Chamber of Commerce took action on two important legislative initiatives as part of our ongoing attempt to build a better business environment.

While the two topics –one at the federal level and the other at the state—are not directly related on the surface, the fact of the matter is both of them have an impact on jobs, on our overall business climate and, ultimately, on our future.

At the federal level, our position focused on the recent over-reaches of the National Labor Relations Board. Overreaches that stand to have a chilling impact on business at a time when they can least afford it.

It has been well documented that Card Check – the legislative initiative aimed at changing the rules regarding labor organizing—failed. In the last session, Congress made it clear that they do not support the proposed changes.

Yet, despite that clarity, the National Labor Relations Board now appears to be determined to implement aspects of the legislation through regulatory rule-making –bypassing legislative protocol.

It began with a new mandate to post signage explaining the union organizing process. Trivial enough, but indicative of the bias the NLRB demonstrates.

And it has been followed with proposed rules that would significantly alter the 60-year old process by which unions organize –changes that would not just shorten the election period but that would also mandate employers to provide the names, addresses, home phone numbers and emails of all their employees to the union organizers.

The last thing business needs right now is any additional distractions and these proposed rules are just that. The Chamber Board took official action in opposition to these new regulations. And I am pleased to note that we have already hand-delivered our statement to Senator Toomey and the staffs of Senator Casey and Congressman Pitts during a recent visit to Washington DC.

The Board also took a position on a pending policy at the state level –this time, however, we are in favor of it.

The 40-member Governor’s Transportation Funding Commission recently issued its report on how to address the state’s ailing transportation infrastructure. From mass transit to highways, the Commission reviewed all aspects of our transportation system and issued recommendations for change and investment.

The end result is a report that seeks to find efficiencies in our current system, while acknowledging that additional dollars will be needed to ensure the future of this long-term investment in infrastructure. To its credit, the Commission listed specific recommendations on where to get those additional dollars.

While we live in an age where, politically, any additional revenue proposal for government operations raises eyebrows, we also shouldn’t assume that an investment like transportation can be viewed through the same lens.

In this regard, The Lancaster Chamber Board embraced the recommendations of the Commission and offers its support to this report, which, I might add, is directly on target with the 25-year vision for transportation we affirmed earlier this year.

To learn more about these two position statements and to see how you can help spread the word, please visit our website at lancasterchamber.com.

Until next time, stay informed, stay engaged and stay with us, At the Center.

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