HR: Our Voice is Needed


The front cover of an old issue of Personnel Administrator (the precursor to HR Magazine) reads: “If we must single out one priority, it would be legislation affecting productivity. We must also work toward breaking down the adversary relationship between labor and management.”

That was in January 1984, and although I would not define today’s relationship between labor and enlightened management as adversarial, HR still must guide that relationship.

Consider a few noteworthy items which came out of Washington recently that required our input and attention:

  •  In December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a rule, the so-called “Ambush Election Rule,” which makes several changes to simplify and speed up the union election process, potentially tilting the election outcome to a union win.
  • America’s new health care law, The Affordable Care Act, defines “full-time” as an employee working 30 hours per week, which has significantly impacted hiring practices in specific industries.
  •  And President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address included a laundry list of workplace issues—from mandatory paid sick leave to wage inequality to overtime eligibility.

This is why, as a profession, we need to be informed about what’s happening in the halls of power—in the Capitol, government agencies, state houses and courtrooms across the country. But we need to go one step farther…

We need to make sure HR’s voice is heard through the voices of advocates on the issues that affect our workplaces and our employees.

As your professional society, SHRM works year-round on your behalf in Washington. We joined a lawsuit challenging the legality of the “Ambush Election” rule, serve as a leader of the More Time for Full Time Coalition in support of a 40 hour work week and shared our perspective on several items in the 2015 State of the Union address, for example.  

There is also an important role for you to play as an HR professional in this process by becoming a member of the SHRM Advocacy Team (“A-Team”). This local member-driven effort gives you the unique opportunity to raise your voice to shape effective workplace public policy.

We may have different perspectives and opinions on these and other workplace issues, but one thing is clear: HR’s voice is relevant, wanted and greatly needed.

Want to better understand the legislative and regulatory landscape that your business faces in the year ahead? Register for the 2015 SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference, March 23-25, 2015, in Washington, D.C.



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