NLRB Pushes to Rescind Obama-Era Union Ruling

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NLRB Chairman John Ring was confirmed in April, giving Republicans the majority on the body that oversees union-employer disputes. PHOTO: RON SACHS/ZUMA PRESS

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal by Eric Morath on September 14, 2018.

The National Labor Relations Board has proposed rolling back an Obama-era job ruling that made it easier for contractors and workers at franchised businesses to form unions and collectively bargain with big corporations.

On Thursday, the body overseeing union-employer disputes released a proposal to abandon a 2015 decision by the prior, Democratic-controlled board that ruled a company could be held liable if it illegally interfered with workers’ rights to organize a union, even if those employees didn’t directly work for the firm.

The board’s 2015 decision, in a case known as Browning-Ferris Industries, held that firms such as fast-food or hotel chains would be required to bargain along with the franchisee with such a union.

The board’s proposed rule aims to limit lead firms’ liabilities by saying they aren’t joint employers of a worker, even if the companies’ exercise indirect control of the worker, such as weighing in on hiring practices, disciplinary procedures or other employment conditions. …

WSJ 9/14

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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