U.S. Department Of Commerce Announces Steel And Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Process

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its procedures for excluding products from the recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum product imports. The Department will start accepting exclusion requests from U.S. industry today.

Read the Dept. of Commerce news release here.  See the Federal Register notice on the process for filing exclusion requests.

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MWFPA Strongly Opposes Tinplate Tariff

MWFPA and the canned food industry continue to strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s plans to announce tariffs or import restrictions on tinplate steel – a unique type of steel that is specifically made for food cans.

The President announced that next week he will sign off on a 25 percent tariff for imported steel and 10 percent tariff for foreign aluminum.Such tariffs would make canned foods vulnerable to competition from packaging made with alternative materials and therefore jeopardize jobs in an industry that employs tens of thousands of U.S. workers and pays approximately $3 billion in federal and state taxes.

Even a small increase in the price of raw materials would create further price pressures on both can makers and food manufacturers in an already challenging economic environment.

Furthermore, tariffs on tinplate would drive up prices for canned food, something that would hit families on food stamps hard because they eat more canned fruits and vegetables than wealthier households.

Read the position of the Canned Manufacturers Institute.

WI Gov. Signs Worker’s Comp “Exclusive Remedy” Bill

WI Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 781, important legislation that was introduced just 3 weeks ago in response to a Court of Appeals decision from January that upended the “exclusive remedy” of worker’s compensation for some workers.

The decision, which Act 139 overturns going forward, allowed injured workers who had been placed by a staffing service to choose between filing a worker’s compensation claim or filing a lawsuit. Now that Act 139 is law, all workers, regardless if they are permanent or temporary, must file claims for workplace injuries through worker’s compensation, as has been the case since 1911.

The bill was approved unanimously in both the Assembly and Senate last week. Representative Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield), Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) championed the bill and helped move it quickly through the legislative process.

Changes Made To Guestworker Bill For Ag

It remains to be seen if House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte‘s immigration bill will get a floor vote. But the Virginia Republican is staying responsive to ag concerns and made several amendments last week that are aimed at the H-2A guestworker program overhaul portion of the immigration bill. Many Republicans – namely Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows – are pushing for Goodlatte’s bill, and it has garnered the support of Perdue.  Read more from POLITICO

MWFPA Partners In PACKEXPO East

MWFPA is again pleased to be partnering in PACK EXPO East as part of the PACK EXPO East Partner Program. MWFPA joins several top associations who are leading forces in the exchange of ideas and collaboration with an invested interest in the future of packaging and processing.  Read the news release here.  For more information on PACKEXPO East and to register, click here.

Achieve Results Through Leadership Thursday

It is important that you have effective leaders in your workplace to empower and influence your people to achieve business and team goals.  Developing leadership skills can not only provide important business proficiencies and aid professional development, but also help develop interpersonal skills.

On Thursday, February 22, 2018 the Midwest Food Products Association is once again hosting the training seminar, Achieve Results Through Leadership. The program will be held in the lower conference room of the MWFPA offices, 4600 American Parkway, Madison, WI

The workshop is intended for managers and supervisors who are responsible for the performance and productivity of employees and coworkers.  It is recommended by the MWFPA Human Resources Committee which encourages you to consider attending or sending your managers and future managers!

Rauner Urges IL Pension Changes, Other Reforms In Budget Address

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner  unveiled his fiscal 2019 budget yesterday, a $37.96 billion blueprint calling for reforms to help get IL back on track. Rauner stressed having school districts share teacher pension costs, getting a handle on state employee health insurance, and various other reforms.

Besides again advocating for an overhaul of employee pensions, Rauner told lawmakers during his address to the Legislature that he wants to shift retirement costs to local school districts and dictate health insurance benefits for state workers.

The first-term governor, who is facing a tough re-election bid, said pension and health expenses consume 25 cents of every dollar the state doles out.

According to Rauner, the pension revamp would save $1 billion a year.  He added that although he wouldn’t count on that money in the 2019 budget that begins July 1, it ultimately would allow him to drop the income tax rate from 4.95 percent to 4.7 percent.  It’s likely to face a court challenge as have past proposals because the Constitution prohibits promised pensions from being “diminished or impaired.”

In addition to pension reforms, Rauner requested reforms to the criminal-justice system and completion of a 200-bed veterans’ home in Chicago.  Read the text of the Governor’s speech here.