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 KennedyOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief Joe Kennedy introduces resolution rejecting Trump’s transgender military ban Warren launches White House bid with call for 'structural change' 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.


“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 TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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.