A Back Door Way to Hurt Workers
Rep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:
On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act of 2017. This legislation is not about “saving” local businesses. Its intent is to alter both the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in ways that will have a serious negative impact on workers. One of the ways H.R. 3441 does this is by changing the definition of a “joint employer”. Under current law, an employee may have multiple official employers if more than one business entity is responsible for managing that worker’s employment conditions. For example, a worker may be placed by an employment agency at a company or that worker might be employed by a contractor at a large construction project. H.R. 3441 narrows the definition of a “joint employer” by characterizing it as an entity that controls virtually all employment conditions, from hiring and firing to daily supervision and scheduling.
The practical effect of this definition change is that it limits the ability of employees to pursue relief from unfair workplace practices. This change also impacts unions. The NLRA gives employees the right to negotiate with all of the companies that oversee the conditions of their employment. Narrowing the definition of a “joint employer” makes it harder for unions to negotiate a fair agreement because they won’t have the ability to deal with all employers responsible for their workplace. It also allows employers to escape responsibility for unfair workplace practices by claiming they do not exercise “significant control” over the employees as defined by this legislation.
H.R. 3441 passed on a party line vote; every Republican voted AYE. Tom Reed talks about helping ordinary citizens, but consistently votes against our interests.