The Election Edition of the HR Circus

Mark Fogel Engagement and Satisfaction, Mark Fogel, Office Politics, politics, Race

Anyone following me knew I would be back with a pre-election special edition of the HR Circus. We are only a couple of days away from election day, and for some you have already cast your vote. Literally and figuratively.

So, what is at stake for the HR community?

Let us start with the National Labor Relations Board, that organization always pops up as a question on your certification test. The NLRB currently has only four members and only one democrat. The fifth seat is open and will certainly be filled by a party affiliate of whoever wins the presidential election, as the president nominates board members. If Biden wins, the NLRB will swing to a 3-2 democratic group after 2021. If Trump wins, we will see a 4-1 republican-oriented group for the foreseeable future.

Why is this important? With a democratic win, unions will eventually gain back some positioning in future rulings, and regulatory decisions will certainly swing back to the left. For those who work in union and potential union-organizing environments, you will be impacted and will have pro-union regulations reintroduced, like relaxed card check provisions and specific rights for non-union employees too. A republican win means we will continue to see pro-management and ownership rulings.

Let us look at the courts! Most of us have been focused on Ruth Ginsberg’s passing and replacement by a straightforward conservative nominee. The Supreme Court will be decidedly on the right as we enter 2021 regardless of who wins, but a democratic victory with a Senate take over by the left will bring into play the prospect of adding supreme court justices next year. Can you say “pack the court”? If you thought the Cavanaugh hearings were wild, wait till you see this court packing discussed on the senate floor. Don’t forget – Federal circuit courts still have openings. Many business-related lawsuits pop up regularly at the Federal level and set precedent in how we deal with workplace issues.

Healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, and Roe v. Wade are all going to be in flux as a game of chess between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches play out in 2021. I thought it was hard picking my fantasy football players each week. That’s nothing – wait till you see each move and countermove next year as the Supreme Court and Congress pivot on these important topics. The President will play an integral role with veto and approval power to new legislation. Will the ACA survive? How about Medicare ? Is your social security program in jeopardy?

Racial justice will still be a hot topic but may lose its luster as COVID ratchets up this winter. Both are important, but the response to COVID will certainly look quite different depending on who wins the presidential election. Mask or no mask, business shutdowns version 2.0 may be a reality that we will all have to work thru.

As you can see, I am trying to stay somewhat agnostic on these topics. Of course, I have a point of view on every item discussed, but I do not want to add to the polarization we have all experienced over our personal viewpoints the past year.

And that is my last point, polarization. Unfortunately, regardless of who wins at the federal, state, or local level this election day, we will all need to deal with polarization and hard feelings across our management and staff. Politics is the new hot topic for HR. It is hard to sidestep. Our employees are now fully engaged in politics….Would it not be great if they were as just engaged in your organization’s success?

You are all catalysts, problem solvers and peacekeepers in this Circus….wishing you all the best as the results come in. Stay cool, calm, and levelheaded!!!