GOP Considering New Legislation to Ease Obama's Labor Policy

By Higgins, Sean | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 5, 2017 | Go to article overview

GOP Considering New Legislation to Ease Obama's Labor Policy


Higgins, Sean, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Republican lawmakers are considering a pro-business bill to nullify the Obama administration's efforts to expand the legal definition of "joint employer," which is when one business is legally responsible for workplace violations at another company's worksite.

Lawmakers on the House Education and Workforce Committee and business lobbyists met privately Wednesday to strategize on what to do about the joint employer policy. Sources present at the meeting and who spoke on condition of anonymity said many believed that merely rewriting one law would not be sufficient bring back the previous legal standard, and that a broader effort encompassing all workplace-related laws was necessary.

As a result, lawmakers are considering a sweeping bill that would go beyond re-writing the National Labor Relations Act, their focus in the previous Congress.

The sources cautioned that the discussion was broad and no official consensus emerged, and that it was more of an effort to discuss options on what to do next. No legislation has yet been introduced in this Congress to address the joint employer policy. The meeting was first reported Thursday by Politico.

Joint employer refers to when two businesses are so intertwined that one can be said to have effective control the others' decisions on workplace policy. Historically, the legal standard was "direct control" over the other company's workers. The National Labor Relations Board, the main federal enforcement agency for union-related issues, changed that in 2015 to "indirect control."

The board is also pursuing a case against McDonald's Corp., saying that it is a joint employer with its franchisees, even though they are privately owned businesses that rent out the corporate brand. The labor board's standard would make labor organizing easier by allowing the unions to target the corporate parent rather than going after individual franchisees. …

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