Republicans take aim at NLRB's 'joint employer' ruling

Republicans take aim at NLRB's 'joint employer' ruling

The GOP is girding for another fight with the Obama administration over a controversial labor policy.

The Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, introduced Wednesday by Republicans, would roll back a policy that holds companies liable for labor violations committed by their business partners.

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued the controversial "joint employer" decision last month while Congress was on recess. The board argues that businesses hide behind staffing agencies and contractors so they can avoid dealing with unions.

In many cases, these companies define the working conditions faced by their contractors’ employees and therefore should also negotiate with unions, the board argued.

But Republicans blasted the decision as yet another way to expand labor’s grip on the workforce. The legislation introduced by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWeek ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare Time to end fiscal year foolishness MORE (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John KlineJohn Paul KlineNCLB agreement would overhaul Uncle Sam's role in schooling Republican to Pentagon: Release disputed study on women in combat Republicans take aim at NLRB's 'joint employer' ruling MORE (R-Minn.) would draw a distinction between an employee's direct employer and any other companies they work alongside.

They fear the joint employer ruling could force many franchisees out of business.

“The NLRB’s new joint employer standard would make big businesses bigger and the middle class smaller by discouraging companies from franchising and contracting work to small businesses,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

“The board’s effort to redefine the idea of what it means to be an employer will wreak havoc on families and small businesses across the country,” they added. 

Republicans challenged another controversial NLRB rule that speeds up union elections earlier this year, but lost when President Obama vetoed their plan.