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Home   Membership   Expos   Publications   Knowledge Center   Education   Coffee Service   Gov. Affairs May. 4, 2012
 
 
 


New NLRB Election Rule goes into effect
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After a failed Senate vote and a court order denying a motion to stay the NLRB's expedited election rule, the controversial rule took effect May 1. The ruling streamlines the unionization process, deferring most eligibility determinations until after votes have been cast by those employees the union seeks to represent. Additionally, NLRB Regions retain the discretion to schedule hearings within seven days of a petition, though even when granted, Hearing Officers can cut short the hearings and issue a decision that same day. Under such a circumstance, the NLRB could schedule an election within two weeks or less, with an election taking place within three weeks of the petition date — a 50 percent reduction in the overall employee education period.

As a result, employers will need to be more proactive in advance of any representation petition, especially as the new rule is already in effect and the window of opportunity to take action is closing. While a formal ruling on the rule's merits is expected by May 15, before elections under the rule would likely take place, employers should take the following steps:
  • Reevaluate your current employee relations programs, making third party representation unnecessary
  • Identify, confirm and properly train front line supervisors on how best to take advantage of the closing window of opportunity to fine-tune employee relations programs, resolving employee issues and reducing perceptions of unfairness that demonstrates empathy
  • Develop a strategic contingency plan for any petitions that are filed, maximizing prospects for lawfully and effectively educating employees under drastically reduced timetables.
For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.




California: Bill would bar employers from gaining access to private information on social media sites
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California is on the verge of becoming one of the first states to bar companies from asking job applicants and employees for their user names and passwords on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites. In the wake of national reports of employers doing just that, the Assembly Labor Committee unanimously approved a bill that would make the intimate details behind password-protected "walls" off-limits to employers. The measure is expected to sail through the Legislature with little opposition. Gov. Jerry Brown has not taken a position on the bill, which wouldn't prevent employers from surfing social media websites for information that's publicly available.

California's major business groups have thus far been neutral on the legislation. And it wasn't immediately clear whether employers will put up a fight nationally. National surveys have shown that up to 63 percent of employers have reviewed the social media content of employees or job applicants, though it's not clear how many have sought password-protected information. Eight other states have introduced similar legislation, and two members of Congress have asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to determine whether employers are violating federal privacy laws when they check out social media sites to retrieve information on workers and job applicants. For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.



California: Lawmakers pushing to tie California minimum wage to consumer price index
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Assembly Bill 1439 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo would prohibit the minimum wage from being lowered as consumer prices fall but would mandate increases as prices rise. The indexing would be expected to hike the minimum wage about 14 cents next January and would set the stage for what could be annual hikes in years to come. The state Chamber of Commerce has labeled AB 1439 a "job-killer" bill. A chamber lobbyist argues that it is not the time to increase the cost of doing business in California, when businesses are just now showing signs of recovery. AB 1439 could serve as a disincentive for businesses to relocate to California or for existing businesses to stay, the state chamber contends. California's current $8 minimum wage is 75 cents higher than that of the federal government and ranks seventh highest among the 50 states. For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.


Florida: Governor signs law allowing lottery ticket sales in vending machines
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On April 20, 2012, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law HB 843 to authorize lottery tickets to be dispensed via vending machines. More specifically, vending machines will be allowed to dispense both online and instant lottery tickets. In order to be authorized to use a vending machine to dispense lottery tickets, a retailer must: 1) locate the vending machine in the retailer's direct line of sight to ensure that purchases are only made by persons at least 18 years of age; 2) ensure that at least one employee is on duty when the vending machine is available for use; and the vending machine (or any machine or device linked to the vending machine), may not include or make use of video reels or mechanical reels or other video depictions of slot machine or casino game themes or titles for game play. For more information, please contact Sheree Edwards at sedwards@vending.org.


Georgia: Diabetes care in schools
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Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 879, which gives the parents, guardian or doctor of a child with diabetes the power to sign a medical management plan allowing the child to perform daily monitoring in school. Schools will also be required to have at least two personnel trained in diabetes care. For more information, please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Illinois: Governor includes cigarette tax increase in new Medicaid budget
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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed a plan to shave $2.7 billion from the state's Medicaid budget. The plan will save roughly $1.35 billion annually by reducing coverage and eligibility, plus eliminating programs and other efficiencies. Another $675 million will be saved by dropping rates paid to providers. In addition, Quinn proposes increasing the state's cigarette tax by $1 per pack to raise $335.7 million annually. Quinn said that the changes are necessary to keep the state's Medicaid program from collapsing. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Massachusetts: Proposed vending machine license fee increase is lowered
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The Massachusetts House has passed a state budget amendment that sets a $6 limit to increases in the annual license fee for vending machines this year. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) had proposed a 567 percent fee hike from $3 per machine to $20. The amendment to the House's proposed $32.4 billion fiscal 2013 budget would prevent DPH from raising the fee more than 100 percent in a calendar year.

Health officials say the proposed $20 fee would fund inspections to ensure the vending industry's compliance with the federal calorie-disclosure requirements and new state rules banning snacks high in sugar and fats in schools. The state last raised its vending machine license fee in 2003, when the fee was raised from $1 to $3.The Massachusetts Vending Association was instrumental in reducing the increase from $20 to $6. MVA president Bob Frotten testified on the industry's behalf at a public hearing in March on the proposed fee hike. MVA posted an online petition and issued stickers to operators to put on their machines in opposition to the fee increase. The decals informed customers about the proposed fee hike, stressed that it would necessitate higher prices and encouraged them to sign the online petition. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.



Massachusetts: Town votes to ban sale of bottled water
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The town of Concord has voted 403 to 364 to ban the sale of bottled water sold in a one liter or less container. Stores that violate the ban could be fined up to $50. The ban is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013; pending approval from the state attorney general's office. The proposed bottled water ban was first introduced several years ago by an 84-year-old resident in hopes of reducing litter. Another resident said the ban would stop the "rumbling" of trucks coming into town making deliveries. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Michigan: Tobacco tax enforcement
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The Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association continues its aggressive lobbying effort in the House of Representatives to pass SB 930, Senator Kahn's tobacco tax enforcement bill. SB 930 includes a number of tobacco tax enforcement components that Senator Kahn had insisted be included in his comprehensive enforcement bill. He worked very closely with MDVA and included significant additional reimbursement funding for tobacco wholesalers for costs of the new enforcement effort.

MDVA reports that the Ohio company that sells RYO machines (and receives a royalty on every cigarette manufactured by each machine) hired attorneys and lobbyists in Michigan as well as public relations and grass-roots organizers from out-of-state. Although there are likely no more than 50 to 75 RYO machines in the state, their grassroots efforts have been extensive and many of the 110 members of the House have been aggressively lobbied to "not put these small businesses out of business" (although their "business" does not include regulatory or tax law compliance). MDVA has worked with retail organizations, the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, and the Michigan Petroleum Association/Michigan Association of Convenience Stores to access the 10,000 retailers whose businesses are being hurt by the RYO machine retailers. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.



Michigan: MDVA will showcase healthy vending to legislators
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In support of Governor Snyder's Health and Wellness Initiative released last fall, the Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association's message to the Administration and the Legislature has been that the vending industry is part of the solution, not part of the problem; the industry integrates health and wellness into its vending programs. In support of that message, MDVA will bring Legislators into vending businesses and accounts to show the commitment to providing customers with a wide array of consumer choices, a wellness program such as NAMA's Fit Pick, and a self-check-out convenience store model. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Oklahoma: Tax Commission's final rules approved to decrease the annual fees for coin operated vending machines
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On March 7, Gov. Mary Fallin approved the Oklahoma Tax Commission's final rule to decrease the annual fee for coin operated vending machines. The annual fee, which was raised to $150 by the Oklahoma State Legislature in 2010, is now $75 per machine. If the machine requires a coin of value less than 25 cents, then an annual decal of $10 will be required. The final rule was published in the Oklahoma Register on April 16. For more information, please contact Sheree Edwards at sedwards@vending.org.


Wisconsin: Madison School District lunch program featured in HBO documentary
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The Madison School District lunch program will serve as a window into the national debate over school nutrition and childhood obesity in the upcoming HBO documentary "The Weight of the Nation." The documentary will air on HBO May 14 and 15 and was produced in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to school lunches, the film explores several facets of the childhood obesity problem, including sugary drinks and cereals, advertising targeted at children, the increase in television and video games as entertainment and the decline of physical education in schools. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association www.vending.org

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WESTERN OFFICE: 80 South Lake Avenue, Suite 538, Pasadena, CA 91101, Voice: 626-229-0900, Fax: 626-229-0777



Keeping In Touch With NAMA - Legislative Edition
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