Dem lawmaker urges NLRB to withdraw new labor rule

Dem lawmaker urges NLRB to withdraw new labor rule
© Greg Nash

Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez endorses Markey in Senate race amid speculation over Kennedy candidacy The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown MORE III (D-Mass.) on Thursday urged the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to withdraw a proposed rule that would change the standard for determining when companies can be held liable for labor law violations committed by subcontractors.

Under the proposal from the Republican-led board, a company would have to possess and exercise “substantial, direct and immediate control” over the hiring, firing, discipline, supervision and direction of another firm’s employees to be considered a joint-employer, and the control can't be limited or routine.

Kennedy raised concerns about the rule, which overturns the standard the standard set by the board in 2015, in a letter to NLRB Chairman John Ring.

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“By limiting joint employers to include only companies that both possess and exercise ‘substantial, direct and immediate control’ over the essential terms and conditions of employment, this rule would allow large franchisors to evade legal responsibility for labor and employment violations,” Kennedy wrote.

Under the previous standard, an employer could be held liable if it had “indirect” control over the terms and conditions of another employer’s employees or had the “reserved authority to do so.”

Kennedy, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also questioned the board's intentions.

Last year NLRB overturned the 2015 ruling, but it was ultimately forced to vacate the decision after the board’s ethics official determined board member William Emanuel had a conflict of interest that should have disqualified him from participating in the case.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE appointed Emanuel. Republicans hold a 3-1 advantage on the five-member board, where there is currently one vacancy.

Given these events, Kennedy said it's apparent the board has initiated the rulemaking in an attempt to achieve a predetermined outcome it previously attempted, but failed to achieve.

"I have grave concerns it will fail to provide public comments with the full and fair consideration such a process demands,” he said.

NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.