Labor & Employment

NLRB ruling affecting franchise and contract workers follows other pro-worker actions

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A ruling last week by the National Labor Relations Board got press attention for making it easier for contract workers and franchise employees to unionize.

But the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris ruling is also notable because it is part of a broader expansion of worker rights under the Obama administration, the New York Times reports. “With little fanfare,” the story says, “the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades.”

The NLRB ruling changes the definition of “joint employer” in a way that will more often hold companies accountable for employment violations, along with contractors or franchisees, according to reports last week by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and Corporate Counsel.

As a result, a union representing workers with joint employers, such as contract and franchise workers, would be entitled to negotiate with the parent company as well as the franchisee or contractor.

The Times says the Obama administration has recently introduced several pro-worker regulatory changes, including a rule that would make more Americans eligible for overtime pay and guidelines that suggest many companies are misclassifying workers as contractors.

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