The Missouri Supreme Court upheld a local minimum wage increase enacted by the City of St. Louis by reversing a circuit court judge who struck it down in 2015. Associated Industries of Missouri joined other groups in opposing the ability of the City to impose a minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage Despite the liberal Supreme Court’s gross misinterpretation of state statute, money still doesn’t grow on trees,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Some minimum wage employees will find themselves without jobs thanks to this misguided decision.” Beyond the loss of jobs by minimum wage workers, the Court’s decision sets up a potential patchwork quilt of minimum wage requirements across the state. “The legislature addressed this issue head on with legislation last year clearly stating local governments cannot override state law with their local ordinances,” said McCarty. “The Court, as it has done so often lately, read what the General Assembly wrote
Our Congressmen and Congresswomen are working hard this legislative session. Here are a couple of updates: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer traveled throughout Missouri to listen to the concerns of his constituents. One visit was to East Central College’s Business and Industry Center to discuss education and Pell Grants. You can view his entire bulletin here. Rep. Vicky Hartzler signed a letter to President Trump urging his infrastructure proposal to Congress to include investments to increase high-speed internet access for our rural communities. Full bulletin here. Rep. Anne Wagner and Rep. Rodney Davis will host the family of fallen St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder for President Trump’s first address to a Joint Session of Congress in the House Chamber. Full bulletin here.
Last week, President Donald Trump met with manufacturing CEOs at the White House to discuss policies that will make the sector more competitive globally. A number of NAM members were present at this meeting, including our Board Chair David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson. The focus on pro-growth policies by the new administration—even with lingering uncertaintie—has helped to lift both consumer and business confidence to multiyear records. In addition, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 4.9 percent since Inauguration Day (or 13.5 percent since Election Day), up to yet another all-time high. (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asserted on Thursday that rising stock prices might be a good “report card” on the prospects for growth in the U.S. economy.) For now, manufacturers are cautiously optimistic in their economic outlook. Along those lines, the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity expanded in February at its fastest rate since June 2011. As such, manufacturing conditions have continued to
On Wednesday, Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt made a stop in Sedalia to meet with Sierra Bullets President Pat Daly, as the company has announced a new employee benefit related to MOST 529 college savings accounts. Schmitt oversees the MOST 529 program. “We’re being very deliberate about getting out and promoting the things that we do, especially the 529 and ABLE stuff, we want to make people aware of it,” Schmitt told the Sedalia Democrat. “We want to increase the number of accounts that are open on the 529 MOST side, but make people aware — it’s amazing the number of places I talk about ABLE accounts and no one’s heard of that.” A 529 college saving plan is a type of investment account citizens can use for higher-education savings, usually sponsored by a state, according to MissouriMOST.org.
By Joe Bullinger, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in 2011, with key compliance elements rolling into effect starting in late 2015 and continuing through 2018. The changes are big, moving the emphasis from response to food supply contamination to prevention. Any company involved in the manufacturing or distribution of food for human or animal consumption is impacted by these compliance changes. The large manufacturers of human and animal food (500+ employees) were the first who had to achieve FSMA compliance, with the cGMP’s (current Good Manufacturing Processes) and the Hazard Analysis benchmarks for compliance taking effect in 2015 and 2016. So, the large companies should already be in compliance as of now. Next up on the mandate for FSMA compliance in 2017 are the small manufacturers of human food, (<500 employees and >$1M in annual sales), and the small manufacturers of animal food, (<500 employees and >$2.5M in annual sales). Small
February 23, 2017 – The Missouri House has approved an unemployment reform bill that closely resembles a bill vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon, overridden by the General Assembly, and voided by the Missouri Supreme Court on procedural grounds. Associated Industries of Missouri continues to strongly support all provisions of the bill. “This bill makes sure the unemployed are not allowed to receive severance pay and unemployment payments at the same time,” said Ray McCarty, president/CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “The legislature passed the bill last year, former Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the commonsense legislation, and the legislature properly overrode the governor’s veto. But the Supreme Court voided that override because one of the override votes occurred during the annual veto session. Even New York has fixed this gaping hole in the unemployment system and it is about time we fixed it here in Missouri. We are optimistic the bill will be approved by Governor Eric Greitens,” said McCarty. The
February 23, 2017 – The Missouri Senate has approved SB 45 (Romine), a bill to allow enforcement of arbitration agreements between at-will employers and employees. Associated Industries of Missouri has long supported this measure. “Clever plaintiffs attorneys are using loopholes in the current law to take disputes between employees and employers to court,” said Ray McCarty president/CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “If an employer and employee have agreed to settle disputes through the arbitration process, neither party should be able to ignore that contractual obligation,” said McCarty. The bill provides the employer and employee must agree on the arbitrator and federal guidelines for the arbitration process must be followed. The bill now moves to the Missouri House for further consideration.
Vice President Mike Pence visited Missouri Wednesday to tour an equipment and engine dealer and talk about job growth. The visit was a chance for the Trump Administration to show its support for small businesses around the country. Pence and Governor Eric Greitens met at the 100-year-old, family-owned Fabick Cat headquarters in Fenton, Missouri. Fabick Cat rents, sells and services Caterpillar equipment. Pence’s itinerary included meeting workers, a tour of the facility, and a speech. In his speech, Vice President Mike Pence told the crowd that small business is the “beating heart that creates prosperity and growth.” You can view a video of Pence’s visit here.
February 23, 2017 – Following lengthy debate on the Senate floor, the Missouri Senate has approved SB 113 (Schatz) regarding workers’ compensation. The bill would reinstate the “motivating factor” standard for proving a work comp discrimination claim. The courts have recently lowered this standard to the same standard used for other discrimination claims: the contributing factor standard. This has shifted the burden of proof in work comp discrimination claims to the employer, creating an unfair advantage for plaintiffs trying to prove discrimination when none exists. “Restoring this standard to the ‘motivating factor’ standard – requiring the employer be motivated by discrimination in taking action against an employee that has previously filed a work comp claim in order to be liable for a discrimination claim – makes perfect sense,” said Ray McCarty, president/CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “We will continue to pursue changes to the other discrimination statutes to restore this same level of proof to other discrimination claims, aligning them with the standard
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off the 2017 State of Manufacturing Tour Wednesday at Emerson Innovation Center in Austin, Texas —a hotbed of modern manufacturing. The event is the first in a series of stops in six states throughout the next week, including a visit with President Donald Trump at the White House, that will tell the real story of modern manufacturing and call on the new administration and Congress to adopt solutions to create more jobs, seize global leadership, expand the circle of opportunity and foster innovative workforce-development efforts. “Manufacturing has been a policy lynchpin for the new administration, and now, more than ever, we have the chance to capitalize on this opportunity through policy and education to unleash a surge of manufacturing jobs in America that will last for generations,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers are adapting and improving every day. We are changing the conversation to emphasize what modern manufacturing means today: