National Labor Relations Board Gives More Power to Employees in Labor Negotiations

National_Labor_Relations_Board_logo_-_colorIn a landmark ruling, the National Labor Relations Board voted on August 27, 2015 to give subcontractors and independent contractors more negotiating power with employers and large corporations.

The case concerned a recycling company called Browning-Ferris Industries in Milpitas, California, which used a temporary staffing agency called Leadpoint to source workers. A Teamsters local representative tried to organize the employees, but did not just want to negotiate with Leadpoint — they wanted Browning-Ferris to qualify as a “joint employer,” reasoning that bargaining would not be effective unless it also included the larger company that determined the conditions of the working environment.

A regional labor board disagreed, and the Teamsters appealed the decision to the National Labor Relations Board. The NRLB chose to apply a much broader definition of “employer” in ruling that both Browning-Ferris and Leadpoint were “joint employers,” reversing a labor standard in place since the 1980’s.

While the decision has been hailed by independent contractors and subcontractors, corporations and pro-employer groups have vowed to fight the ruling.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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