Member Briefing February 13, 2023

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

Former Congressman Maloney on Short List to Replace Walsh as Labor Secretary

Battle lines have emerged in the fight over the next secretary of Labor, a crucial decision for President Biden as he steps up his efforts to appeal to blue-collar workers ahead of 2024. Asian Americans in Congress are hopeful that with the expected exit of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Biden will finally name an Asian American to his Cabinet by promoting deputy secretary Julie Su. But ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has thrown former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) name into the mix, complicating Biden’s decision.

Walsh’s shoes will be tough to fill. He has been a symbolic figured at the helm of the Labor Department, as the first former union official to be secretary in four decades, and he has valuable connections to labor bosses. “As the former California labor secretary, and the current deputy secretary appointed by Biden, Su obviously has experience and apparently the trust of the president. But does she have the support of labor?” asked former Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Carney (D), a Biden ally. “Maloney has the support of the former Speaker, and is a known quantity to organized labor. But is his loss in a typically blue N.Y. district an indication he no longer has the political influence he once enjoyed?” Carney added.

Read more at The Hill

War in Ukraine Headlines


U.S. Imports from China Rose 6.3% in 2022

America can’t shake its dependence on China even as relations between the two countries sour. U.S. imports from China rose 6.3% last year to $536.8 billion despite attempts by the federal government to wean companies off of China’s plentiful supply of raw materials and goods. The WSJ’s Yuka Hayashi and Anthony DeBarros write that U.S.-China trade ties are so vast and deeply entrenched they can’t be easily broken.

Presidents Trump and Biden have tried to reduce reliance on China with tariffs on Chinese imports ranging from semiconductors to steel. Tensions between the two countries are rising as the U.S. curbs exports of chip technology to China and protests suspected Chinese surveillance using balloons. There are signs the trade relationship is cooling. Higher growth in trade with other regions meant that China’s share of U.S. goods imports last year fell to 16.5% from 21.6% in 2017.

Read more at The WSJ

US Chamber/Met Life Small Business Survey – “Secondhand Pessimism”

Despite facing challenges like inflation, worker shortages, and supply chain disruptions, small business owners feel generally good about the health of their business right now, according to the latest MetLife and U.S. Chamber Small Business Index survey.  A full 89% of small businesses said their business is in average, good, or very good health in Q4 of 2022. Of those, 64% say their business is good or very good.  

However, in a stunning example of “second-hand pessimism” despite small business owners reporting their own business as healthy, they are seeing a weak economy.  When asked about their feelings on the overall economy, just 27% of small business owners feel the U.S. economy is in good health. Furthermore, a majority (54%) said the economy is somewhat or very poor. 

Read more at the US Chamber

US COVID – Cases, Hospitalizations and Deaths Continue to Decline

The US CDC is reporting: 

  • 4 million cumulative cases
  • 1 million deaths
  • 280,911 cases week of February 1 (down from previous week)
  • 3,452 deaths week of February 1 (down from previous week)
  • 2% weekly decrease in new hospital admissions 
  • 3% weekly decrease in current hospitalizations 


The Omicron sublineages XBB.1.5 (66%), BQ.1.1 (20%), and BQ.1 (7%) currently account for a majority of all new sequenced specimens, with various other Omicron subvariants accounting for the remainder of cases. 


Read more at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


The Governor updated COVID data through February 3.


  • Daily: 21
  • Total Reported to CDC: 78,230


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,176
  • Patients Currently in ICU Statewide: 257

7 Day Average Positivity Rate - Cases per 100K population

  • Statewide 5.04%    -   11.91 positive cases per 100,00 population
  • Mid-Hudson: 5.44%   -   12.68 positive cases per 100,00 population

Useful Websites:

White House Expected to Release Roadmap to Transition Out of Public Health Emergency. Response Investigations Begin

Speculation around why the winter surge was not as bad as expected has centered on people possibly avoiding crowds over the holidays, viral interference among various circulating diseases, and more immunity in the US population due to prior infection and/or vaccination. COVID-19 remains a significant public health threat and a leading cause of death in the US, but there appears to be hope on the horizon.

As such, the Biden administration is expected to soon release a roadmap to transition out of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is set to end on May 11. Additionally, the Republican-led US House of Representatives is stepping up efforts to investigate the pandemic response. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on “The Federal Response to COVID-19” this week. Republicans on the committee used the opportunity to ask leading health officials and scientists about vaccine mandates, mask requirements for children, origin theories of SARS-CoV-2, and the public’s broken trust in health agencies.

Read more at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

onsemi Commemorates Transfer of Ownership of East Fishkill Facility from GlobalFoundries with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Council of Industry member onsemi,  a leader in intelligent power and sensing technologies, announced the successful completion of its acquisition of GlobalFoundries’ (GF’s) 300 mm East Fishkill (EFK), New York site and fabrication facility, effective December 31, 2022. The transaction added more than 1,000 world-class technologists and engineers to the onsemi team. Highlighting the importance of manufacturing semiconductors in the U.S., the company celebrated this milestone event with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), joined by Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce on CHIPS Implementation J.D. Grom.

The EFK facility contributes to the community by retaining more than 1,000 jobs. onsemi will continue to evaluate opportunities for expansion and growth in East Fishkill and its contribution to the surrounding community. Earlier, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) announced that onsemi has pledged to donate $500,000 over 10 years to support projects and education aimed at increasing the pipeline of engineers in the semiconductor industry.

Read more at Businesswire

New York Lawmakers, Labor Unions Negotiating Single-Payer Health Care Bill

Lawmakers and labor unions are working together to amend the perennial New York Health Act, which would establish a single-payer health care system in the state. The proposal new system would cover all primary, preventive and specialized medical care for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, funded through an income-based graduated tax based on a person's ability to pay.

Many of the state's public employment unions have long opposed a universal health system in New York, wanting to ensure their workers will retain the same level and quality of coverage they secured in contract negotiations. Republicans blast the idea of New York creating and implementing a universal health system in the state. Sen. Patrick Gallivan, a Republican from Elma, stresses the No. 1 obstacle is the exorbitant, unknown cost of the change — estimated to be billions of dollars — and impact on higher tax rates for New Yorkers and businesses.

Read more at NY State of Politics

'Good Policy' for EU to Match US Green Plan with Own Subsidies: Yellen

 U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday encouraged the idea of green subsidies by the European Union to offset feared harm from a vast U.S. climate plan -- arguing there is enough business for all to benefit from the clean energy transition. Her comments came a day after talks with French economy minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Robert Habeck, who visited Washington to discuss the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on European industry.

The EU is concerned about collateral damage if companies are enticed by U.S. subsidies to relocate outside the bloc. The IRA includes $370 billion that goes towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with some investments in the form of tax cuts for companies that invest in clean energy, along with subsidies for electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy projects -- if they are U.S.-made. To head off the threat, the EU last week unveiled proposals such as a relaxation of state aid rules to level the playing field.

Read more at IndustryWeek

German Inflation Drops to 9.2 Percent in January

Inflation in Germany eased to 9.2 percent in January from 9.6 percent in December, much-awaited preliminary data released by the German statistics office showed Thursday. Compared to December, prices increased by 0.5 percent, the data showed. Analysts polled by Reuters had generally expected inflation to rise by 10.0 percent compared to January 2022 and by 1.2 percent compared to December.

As part of a regular process, Germany’s consumer price index has been revised. With effect from January 2023, the consumer price index is rebased from 2015 to base year 2020. In this context, results from January 2020 onwards are recalculated, the statistics office said.  ZEW economist Friedrich Heinemann said the data suggests inflation in Germany has peaked. “However, anyone who takes this as an opportunity to warn the European Central Bank against further interest rate hikes suffers from a distorted perception.”

Read more at Politico

Toyota Keeps Profit Forecasts Despite Supply Chain Headwinds

Japan's Toyota left its annual forecasts unchanged on Thursday despite ongoing disruption from the global chip shortage, as the cheaper yen offsets the impact of soaring materials prices. The world's top-selling automaker, which reshuffled its executive line-up last month, is still suffering production setbacks caused by the semiconductor shortage along with other industry players. The company logged a third-quarter net profit of 727.9 billion yen, down 8% on-year, and for April-December, net profit dropped 18% to 1.90 trillion yen.

"Dealers, suppliers and production sites worked hard under circumstances where production plans fluctuated greatly due to factors such as semiconductor shortages and natural disasters," Toyota said in a statement. But it said it still expected net profit of 2.36 trillion yen (US$18 billion) in the 12 months to March 2023, down 17% on-year. Toyota said it was "striving to quickly evaluate alternative semiconductors and respond to design changes for securing stable procurement of semiconductors."

Read more at IndustryWeek

UK Economy Barely Dodges Recession

The U.K. economy showed no growth in the final quarter of 2022, but shrunk by 0.5% in December, more than expected by analysts, according to the country’s Office for National Statistics Friday. The figures mean the country narrowly avoided a recession — commonly defined as two quarters of negative growth — following a 0.2% contraction in the third quarter.

Overall, GDP increased by an estimated 4% over the course of 2022, following a 7.6% expansion in 2021 as the economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic. The level of GDP in the final quarter of the year was 0.8% below its pre-Covid level at the end of 2019, meaning that the U.K. is now the only G-7 (Group of Seven) country yet to fully recover its lost output during the pandemic.

Read more at CNBC

Thousands of Kids are Missing From School. Where Did They Go?

An analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee found an estimated 230,000 students in 21 states whose absences could not be accounted for. These students didn’t move out of state, and they didn’t sign up for private school or home-school, according to publicly available data.

Over months of reporting, the AP learned of students and families avoiding school for a range of reasons. Some are still afraid of COVID-19, are homeless, or have left the country. Some students couldn’t study online and found jobs instead. Some slid into depression. During the prolonged online learning, some students fell so far behind developmentally and academically that they no longer knew how to behave or learn at school. Many of these students, while largely absent from class, are still officially on school rosters. That makes it harder to truly count the number of missing students. The real tally of young people not receiving an education is likely far greater than the 230,000 figure calculated by the AP and Stanford.

Read more at the AP

Gigapresses - The Giant Die Casts Reshaping Car Manufacturing

By replacing around 60 welded components with a single module, gigantic aluminium die casting machines made by the likes of Tesla supplier IDRA Group are helping carmakers to simplify manufacturing and cut costs by up to 40% in some areas. Tesla  has pioneered the use of massive casting machines, also known as gigapresses, to make large single pieces of vehicle underbodies, streamline production and reduce the work of even robots.

Automakers using aluminium casting machines claim they can reduce investments needed to build chassis - a vehicle's second most expensive component after the engine - by 40%, and the average cost of their parts by 30%. Critics say the process poses quality and flexibility risks, as a single flaw can compromise a whole module, and make fixing more difficult if something goes wrong.

Read more at Reuters

DiNapoli Using Shareholder Proposals to Aimed to Support Labor

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli last week announced a series of shareholder proposals filed at several major companies on workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. The proposals were filed with Walmart Inc., CVS Pharmacy Inc., Netflix Inc., DoorDash Inc. and Gannett Co. The Comptroller is the sole trusee of the the New York State Common Retirement Fund, one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries.

For Walmart and CVS, the proposals urge each company’s board of directors to commission and oversee an independent, third-party assessment of the company’s adherence to its stated commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. The proposals for the other companies ask their boards to adopt and publicly disclose a policy on their commitment to respect their employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in their operations.

Read more at IndustryWeek

What ‘Super Bowl Monday’ Callouts Could Say About Trust in the Workplace

According to new research from the Workforce Institute at UKG, not everyone is showing up to work today. The firm has been tracking Super Bowl Monday workplace trends since 2005 and, this year, based on the survey of nearly 1,300 U.S. workers, it projects a record 18.8 million Americans plan to miss work the day after the big game. Combined with the 7.8 million who plan to report late, that amounts to about one in every five Americans missing at least part of their workday on Monday.

The Workforce Institute estimates that about 10 million Americans will take a pre-approved day off, but about 4.7 million plan to “ghost” work and 3.1 million will call in sick—even though they’re not. What’s more, the organization predicts nearly 9.5 million people will decide whether they’re showing up on Monday morning. And for those scheduled to work during the game, the organization says more than 17 million plan to fake sick, already took off or won’t show up for work.

Read more HR Executive