The NLRB Joint Employer Rule Creates New Challenges in the Complex Relationship between Employers and Unions

Chairman Vitter and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the NLRB joint employer rule and the implications on employers and unions.  I am Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.  We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.

Two significant rulings by the National Labor Relations Board in 2015 expanded the interpretation of the “joint employer” rule.  Joint employer is a designation given when two firms are involved in the employment practices of an employee.

In a case involving Browning Ferris Industries, the NRLB ruled that Browning Ferris was not only responsible for those it employed directly, but also contractors and those “indirectly” employed by the firm.  Thus, they would be liable for labor violations committed by contractors even when they have only indirect or unexercised control over employment conditions.

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