Should a company be liable for negotiating a collective bargaining agreement alongside one of its contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set any workplace rules? U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York thinks it should. On September 8, Judge Woods struck down a key portion of a rule change finalized in January by the Department of Labor that narrowed the circumstances for assigning an employer ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ status and thus forcing it to collectively bargain. The DOL rule, he concluded, contravened the Fair Labor Standards Act, and was “arbitrary and capricious.” Attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia had filed suit in late February to enjoin enforcement. As a result of the decision, unions have a far wider basis for suing an employer for unfair labor practices.
If there is a worse piece of legislation in the history of American labor relations than the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, one would be hard-pressed to find it. This gift to organized labor, introduced in May by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would dismantle virtually every existing safeguard against union monopoly in the private-sector workplace. Among its features, the measure would override state Right to Work laws protecting employees from being fired for withholding union dues; create an expansive “joint employer” standard to force employers to bargain alongside their contractors; and ban employment arbitration agreements. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the measure on September 25 in a party-line 26-21 vote, setting up a brutal battle in 2020 in the full House and likely the Senate.
Labor unions in this country regularly proclaim their solidarity with “working families,” also known as “working … Read More ➡
Should a corporation be forced to negotiate alongside contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set their workplace standards? Once again, the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to clarify this contentious issue. On September 14, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would assign a company ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ employer status along with its affiliate “only if the two employers share or codetermine the employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction.” In effect, the board wants to restore a longstanding, and more realistic, definition that predated its Obama-era ruling in Browning-Ferris. Unions, by contrast, want to retain the widened definition to expand the possibilities for corporate liability for unfair labor practices.