EPI: Chamber of Commerce Would Roll NLRB Rights Back to ‘the Stone Age’

Labor News

Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Celine McNicholas and Marni von Wilpert on March 1, 2017.

“[Last week], the Chamber of Commerce released ten recommendations to ‘fix’ the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),” write Celine McNichols and Marni von Wilpert for the Economic Policy Institute. “The Chamber’s policy suggestions are recycled positions that have been the subject of the nearly two dozen hearings on the agency since Republicans assumed control of the House in 2011. Arguing that President Obama’s board ‘overturned over 4,500 years of precedent,’ the Chamber advances a platform that would roll back workers’ rights to the Stone Age. …

“The NLRB issued its Browning-Ferris decision in 2015, reinstating its joint employer standard and affirming the longstanding common-law definition of a joint-employment relationship. The NLRB held that where two or more employers control—whether directly or indirectly— the terms and conditions of employment they are joint employers. In its decision, the NLRB noted that the modern workplace has a wide variety of employment relationships, such as temp and staffing agencies and subcontracted workers, leading to confusion and difficulty when workers try to form unions and bargain collectively. The NLRB’s joint-employer standard, grounded in well-established common law, simply requires every entity that employs a worker to come to the bargaining table. While the Chamber and other corporate interests try to make the Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard seem controversial, in reality there should be nothing controversial about bringing all parties in the employment relationship to the bargaining table. Why then, are the Chamber and other corporate interests committed to rolling back the standard and having Congress enact legislation that would codify an outdated joint-employer standard? An outdated joint-employer standard that fails to keep pace with modern workplace arrangements allows employers to avoid liability for violating the NLRA (and other worker protection statutes) and frustrates collective bargaining. …

EPI 3/1

About Jeffrey Burman 1393 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.burman@nbcuni.com.

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