Lawmakers seek to put controversial labor ruling on hold
House lawmakers are calling for a delay of the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) new joint-employer standard that business groups have vehemently opposed.
In a letter Tuesday, 55 Republicans and three Democrats asked the chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations subcommittee on labor to include language in its 2018 budget that would put the new definition on hold for one year.
In August 2015, the NLRB ruled that “indirect” and “potential” control over workers’ terms and conditions makes a company a joint employer. The definition is important because it means that corporate chains could be held responsible for labor violations committed by their franchises.
In the letter led by Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), the lawmakers said the board’s decision to overturn a more than 30-year precedent has confused and frustrated their constituents.
“This new joint-employer standard would hold businesses liable for management and actions of workers they do business with, but don’t actually employ or control,” they wrote.
“The new standard could extend liability from individual franchisees to brand companies, from subcontractors to larger employers and even from a vendor or supplier to the company purchasing their products or services.”
They urged subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to use the budget process to put the new definition on hold.
Opponents of NLRB’s decision welcomed the letter Tuesday.
“It is encouraging to see members of Congress have recognized the uncertainty and unreasonable costs that the NLRB’s decision has placed on franchise owners across the country,” Robert Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, said in a statement.
“While there are important steps the Trump administration can take to mitigate the impact of the new standard, franchise small business owners have nowhere to turn but Congress to solve this web of confusion.”
He urged the appropriations subcommittee to add the language to its spending bill.