With a few key strokes, the NLRB yesterday, in a 3-2 decision down party lines, wiped away years of precedent and re-wrote, or, in its words “refined,” the definition of a joint employer. In a ruling that will, if upheld through inevitable appeals, significantly impact the franchise, outsourcing and many other industries, the NLRB decided a California company, Browning-Ferris Industries, was a joint employer of workers hired by a staffing firm.
In the words of House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), “Today, Congress voted to stop an unelected board of bureaucrats from trampling on the rights of America’s workers and job creators.” The House voted today to join the Senate and send a resolution to President Obama blocking the National Labor Relations Board’s Ambush Election Rule, implemented on December 12, 2014 and scheduled to take effect next month, on April 14, 2015.
The National Labor Relations Board and various union-backed organizations are ratcheting up efforts aimed at changing the landscape of who qualifies as a joint employer. Right now, these aggressive efforts are most pronounced in the franchise industry where the NLRB and other organizations continue to push an agenda of making franchisors, McDonald’s for example, joint employers with franchisees. As part of this ongoing campaign, the NLRB’s general counsel issued a ruling finding that McDonald’s should be treated as a joint employer with franchisees.