Annual Review & Outlook 2013: Old Dominion Freight Line

David S. CongdonAddressing the anemic pace of economic recovery is of primary importance to our industry. The increasingly negative pressures on business and uncertainty over the economy only serve to challenge this recovery.

There are the efforts to enact the “card check” law, the bias in favor of unions exemplified by the “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, the push for “quickie” elections and “micro” bargaining units, and the proposed changes to the “persuader” rules.  Instead of free speech, free choice and impartial administration of the labor laws, the debate is stifled and the interests of employees are shunted aside by union allies in the White House, and at the NLRB and the Department of Labor.

Our expectation going forward is to have more of what we have had for the last four years. Instead of impartially administering the labor laws, the administration and its appointees are likely to continue altering the balance in those laws and blatantly supporting unions instead of ensuring the informed choice that employees are supposed to have under the law. 

Another particularly unsettling development is the health care law.  Many companies, including our own, have comprehensive benefit packages, including health care coverage, which is provided with the best interests of employees in mind. But what will this law force on employees and what will be the cost? 

Long-term tax policy also remains an uncertainty. Companies of all sizes need to plan for the future: equipment, facilities and, importantly, hiring of employees to create jobs. We need certainty in order to plan where and how to use our resources. But uncertainties remain about tax rates, the “fiscal cliff,” and whether there will be another recession. 

All of these challenges are accompanied by the demonizing of business, the penalizing of success and regulatory obstacles. Nevertheless, it’s important for companies to remain optimistic, to view the future realistically and to meet those challenges. We all must continue to pull for America.

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