Burr Alert: NLRB Redefines and Broadens the Joint Employment Standard
Just in time for Labor Day, the National Labor Relations Board's (the Board) Democratic majority handed the organized labor movement one of its biggest legal victories in recent years. The decision radically redefines the concept of "joint employment" and potentially impacts, as noted by the Board members, the jobs of 5.7 million contingent workers, 8.1 million franchisee workers, and thousands of business relationships.
The Board's new "joint employment" standard was announced in the representation case styled Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. v. Sanitary Truck Drivers & Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, No. 32-RC-109684 (NLRB August, 27, 2015). There, the Board held that Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was the "joint employer" of third-party Leadpoint Business Services, LLC's (Leadpoint) contingent, or "temp," workers for purposes of determining what employer or employers bore a bargaining obligation to a union in the event impounded ballots gave a Teamsters Local the authority to represent the temp employees. The decision is earthshattering for customers of temp services and temp agencies themselves. This represents a step toward the unions' dream of inclusion of temps and customer employees in the same unit, and offers a pretty clear indicator of how the Board will treat franchise agreements in the pending McDonald's case.
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