What They’re Saying About The Joint Employer Rule
Democrats, Republicans, Business Groups & Editorial Boards Slam NLRB Policy

Congressional Democrats Have Spoken Out Against The Joint Employer Rule:

Representative Collin Peterson Said The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Joint Employer Decision Was “Threatening Local Ownership By Unwinding The Very Existence Of The Franchise Model.” “Sadly, a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is threatening local ownership by unwinding the very existence of the franchise model. Fortunately, there is a bipartisan solution to the new ‘joint employer’ standard that can protect small businesses before it’s too late.” (Representatives Rodney Davis & Collin Peterson, “Stopping The Corporate Takeover Of Main Street,” The Hill, 5/18/16)

  • Representative Peterson: “Make No Mistake, The Worst Victims Will Be Locally Owned Small Businesses.” “The impact of this decision could reach employers large and small in nearly every business in America but make no mistake, the worst victims will be locally owned small businesses.” (Representatives Rodney Davis & Collin Peterson, “Stopping The Corporate Takeover Of Main Street,” The Hill, 5/18/16)

Representative Jim Costa Signed A Letter That Called For A One-Year Hold On The NLRB’s Joint Employer Definition:

(MacArthur-Cuellar Letter, franchise.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

In 2016, Representative Henry Cuellar Pushed To Block The NLRB’s Joint Employer Ruling. “Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) June 21 said he has asked House appropriators to add language to an upcoming spending bill that would block the National Labor Relations Board’s recent joint employer ruling.” (Chris Opfer, “Democrat Pushes Rider To Block NLRB’s Joint Employer Ruling,” Bloomberg BNA, 6/22/16)

  • In A 2017 Op-Ed, Representatives Cuellar And MacArthur Called On Congressmen To Prevent The New Joint Employer Standard From Becoming Law. “We have heard from small business owners throughout our districts and the country who are concerned about the potential impact the joint employer rule will have on their business. Small business owners deserve better and we call on our colleagues from both parties to support them and prevent this harmful regulation from becoming law of the land.” (Representatives Tom MacArthur And Henry Cuellar, “Congress Must Stop Harmful NLRB Joint Employer Rule,” The Hill, 4/10/17)

Then-Representative Brad Ashford Supported “Blocking The Joint Employer Standard.” “Rep. Brad Ashford is a Nebraska Democrat who supports blocking the joint employer standard. Ian Lee, a spokesman for Ashford, said the congressman believes a significant number of Democrats would be open to blocking it, too. ‘Congressman Ashford has engaged in numerous informal conversations with colleagues on this issue and believes there is a universe of around 50 pro-small business Democrats that potentially would support this legislation,’ Lee said.” (Dave Jamieson, “Congress May Give A Big Christmas Gift To McDonald’s This Year,” The Huffington Post, 12/10/15)

Republican Members Of Congress Have Gone After The Joint Employer Rule As Well:

Senator Lamar Alexander And Representative John Kline: “The NLRB’s New Joint Employer Standard Would Make Big Businesses Bigger And The Middle Class Smaller.” ‘“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.’” (Tim Devaney, “Republicans Take Aim At NLRB’s ‘Joint Employer’ Ruling,” The Hill, 9/9/15)

  • The Two Said The Rule Would “Wreak Havoc On Families And Small Businesses Across The Country.” ‘“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.’” (Tim Devaney, “Republicans Take Aim At NLRB’s ‘Joint Employer’ Ruling,” The Hill, 9/9/15)

Senator Alexander Called The Decision “The Biggest Attack On The Opportunity For Small Businessmen And Women … To Make Their Way Into The Middle Class.” “‘The NLRB’s joint-employer decision was the biggest attack on the opportunity for small businessmen and women in this country to make their way into the middle class that anyone has seen in a long time – threatening to destroy the American Dream for owners of the nation’s 780,000 franchise location – and that threat increased when the agency in charge of worker protections attempted implementing its own joint employer enforcement,’ said Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).” (Press Release, “Alexander: Secretary Acosta Begins Rollback Of Obama-Era Assault On Franchise Model, Restores Focus To Worker Protections,” U.S. Senate Committee On Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, 6/7/17)

Representative Tim Walberg: “Once Again The Administration Is Pushing Regulatory Policies That Will Harm The Workers And Job Creators They Claim They Want To Help.” ‘“Once again, the administration is pushing regulatory policies that will harm the workers and job creators they claim they want to help. This is part of a larger effort that will threaten the livelihoods of small business owners and destroy opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s economy.’” (Press Release, “Walberg Statement On Labor Department’s Joint Employer ‘Guidance,’” Representative Tim Walberg, 1/20/16)

  • Representative Walberg On Joint Employer Standard: “Will Destroy Jobs And Make It Harder For Entrepreneurs And Small Businesses To Pursue The American Dream.” “It’s why the board endorsed a new joint employer standard that will destroy jobs and make it harder for entrepreneurs and small businesses to pursue the American dream.” (Hearing, U.S. House Of Representatives Education And The Workforce Committee, Representative Tim Walberg, 2/14/17)

Representative Virginia Foxx Called The Joint Employer Rule A “Flawed” Policy. “‘The committee has long led the fight against flawed policies that hurt working families and small businesses – including the fiduciary rule and joint-employer decision – and we remain committed to getting the job done.’” (Tyrone Richardson, “Congress Faces Uncertain Future Looking To Erase Some Of The Past,” Bloomberg BNA, 4/24/17)

Representative Bradley Byrne: “The New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard Directly Threatens The Livelihoods Of Thousands Of American Workers.” “The new ‘joint employer’ standard directly threatens the livelihoods of thousands of American workers – the very people who feel the government is leaving them behind. According to FRANdata, an independent franchise-information firm, an estimated 600,000 American jobs, from more than 40,000 different businesses, could either be lost or not created within the franchise industry because of the joint employer ruling. We should expect additional job losses in other parts of the American economy.” (Representative Bradley Byrne, “Congress Must Act Against New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard,” The Hill, 12/14/16)

  • Representative Byrne: “There May Be No Regulation That Threatens To Crush Small Businesses And Working People More.” “There may be no regulation that threatens to crush small businesses and working people more than a recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board relating to the definition of a ‘joint employer.’” (Representative Bradley Byrne, “Congress Must Act Against New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard,” The Hill, 12/14/16)

Representative Tom Cole: “I’m Deeply Disturbed By The NLRB’s Review Of Its Current Joint Employer Standard.” “Finally, I’m deeply disturbed by the NLRB’s review of its current joint employer standard. Recent complaints issued against McDonald’s for employment decisions, which are the sole responsibility of independent franchise owners, suggest that will come out of this review. The trial bar must be thrilled because I can understand who else would benefit from this.” (Hearing, “Rep. Tom Cole Holds A Hearing On The National Labor Relations Board Budget For F.Y. 2016,” House Committee On Appropriations, Subcommittee On Labor, Health And Human Services, Education, And Related Agencies, 3/24/15)

Senator Johnny Isakson: “The Obama Administration’s Standard For Who Qualifies As A Joint Employer Essentially Made The Big Guys Bigger While Putting The Small Guys Out Of Business.” “The Obama administration’s standard for who qualifies as a joint employer essentially made the big guys bigger while putting the small guys out of business. I applaud President Trump and his administration for returning the focus on how to create more opportunities for small businesses to grow. I look forward to confirming the president’s full list of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board so that we can completely undo this misguided labor precedent.” (Press Release, “Isakson Hails Progress Toward Rollback Of Harmful Joint-Employer Ruling,” Senator Johnny Isakson, 6/7/17)

  • Senator Isakson: “Changing The Joint-Employer Standard Will Impede Franchising By Taking Away The Benefits Of A Small Entrepreneur.” “Changing the joint-employer standard will impede franchising by taking away the benefits of a small entrepreneur being able to start a small business and grow it using a brand name that was established by a major corporation. If you take away incentives for corporations to franchise, the results will be similar to what we have already seen in so many oversteps by the Obama administration and the NLRB: making the big guys bigger and putting the small guys out of business. Instead, this administration should be focusing on how to create more opportunities for small businesses to grow.” (Press Release, “Legislation Will Roll Back Labor Decision That ‘Threatens To Steal The American Dream From Owners Of The Nation’s 780,000 Franchise Businesses And Millions Of Contractors,’” S. Senate HELP Committee, 9/9/15)

Senator Mike Lee On The Joint Employer Decision: “A Slew Of Partisan, Controversial And Disruptive Opinions.” “Announcing his measure Monday, Lee also cited the NLRB’s joint-employer decision, calling it one of ‘a slew of partisan, controversial and disruptive opinions.’” (Matthew Bultman, “GOP Senator Introduces Bill To Strip NLRB Powers,” Law 360, 9/29/15)

Coalitions And Organizations Have Also Been Vocal In Opposing The Standard:

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA): “Expanding The Joint Employer Status Would Collapse The Franchising Model And Extinguish Aspirations Of Business Ownership.” (AH&LA, www.ahla.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

The Coalition For A Democratic Workplace (CDW): “The Changes … Disrupted Decades Of Established Labor Law And Undermined The Relationships Between A Brand Company And Local Franchise Business Owners.” “The changes by the Obama Board disrupted decades of established labor law and undermined the relationships between a brand company and local franchise business owners, contractors and subcontractors, and businesses and suppliers and vendors – all of which have created millions of jobs and allowed hundreds of thousands of individuals to achieve the American Dream of owning their own small business.” (CDW, myprivateballot.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • CDW: “Reestablish The Previous Joint Employer Standard.” “A new Congress, President and NLRB must move immediately to reestablish the previous joint employer standard in order to protect vitally important business relationships that create jobs, strengthen the American economy, and provide avenues for the American Dream.” (CDW, com, Accessed 6/12/17)

NATSO: “Broadening The Standard Will Expose More Companies To Legal Liability For How Their Subcontractors, Staffing Agencies And Franchisees Treat Their Employees.” “Broadening the standard will expose more companies to legal liability for how their subcontractors, staffing agencies and franchisees treat their employees. The ruling also makes businesses more susceptible to workforce unionization by imposing new collective bargaining obligations and allowing unions the ability to strike or picket a large corporate entity rather than the individual location where there is a dispute.” (NATSO, www.natso.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

In 2016, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Released A Report That Called For Congress To Defund The National Labor Relations Board’s Joint Employer Framework. “Competitive Enterprise Institute’s report called on Congress to defund the NLRB’s implementation of the new joint employer framework, which was established last year by a divided five-member NLRB panel in a case involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc.” (Vin Gurrieri, “Think Tank Says NLRB Joint Employer Rule Harmful To Biz,” Law 360, 8/3/16)

  • CEI’s Trey Kovacs Said The New Standard “Will Mean Greater Uncertainty And Exposure To Liability For Businesses Already Trying To Weather Tough Economic Times.” “Report author Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst at nonprofit CEI, said in a statement that the new joint employer rules ‘will mean greater uncertainty and exposure to liability for businesses already trying to weather tough economic times.’” (Vin Gurrieri, “Think Tank Says NLRB Joint Employer Rule Harmful To Biz,” Law 360, 8/3/16)

International Franchise Association (IFA) President Robert Cresanti Urged Lawmakers To Include Language In A Federal Spending Bill That Would End The New Standard. “‘We urge appropriators to include this language in the funding bills and end this government overreach and reject once and for all massive state of confusion and the politically-motivated re-alignment of traditional and well-established employment structure,’ stated Cresanti.” (Press Release, “Congressional Leaders Call For Delay Of Harmful New Joint Employer Standard,” IFA, 4/6/17)

  • IFA Also Said The Joint Employer Standard “Has Curtailed Job Creation By Franchise Business Owners And Other Small Businesses.” “The impact of the expansion of the joint employer standard has been the subject of extensive debate in the House and Senate, as it has curtailed job creation by franchise business owners and other small businesses due to the uncertainty created by the potentially limitless liability standard.” (Press Release, “IFA Applauds First Steps Taken To Roll Back Unlimited Joint Employer Standard,” IFA, 6/7/17)

National Federation Of Independent Businesses (NFIB): “Small Businesses Won’t Be Out Of The Woods” Until NLRB Ends Joint Employer Standard. “While the Secretary of Labor’s action today is progress, according to Duggan, small businesses won’t be out of the woods until the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reverses its controversial Browning-Ferris decision on joint employer or Congress acts to overturn it.” (Press Release, “Small Business Welcomes Decision To Withdraw Joint Employer,” NFIB, 6/7/17)

National Restaurant Association (NRA): “A Long-Held Standard For Determining The ‘Joint-Employer’ Status Of Franchisors And Franchisees Is Under Attack.” (NRA, www.restaurant.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • NRA Added The Board Was Moving To Undercut The Traditional Standard To Boost Labor Unions And Their Allies. “The National Labor Relations Board is moving to undercut the standard that has been the bedrock of the franchisor/franchisee model for the last three decades, in support of labor unions and their worker-center allies who are using this issue as part of a large effort to bolster union membership.” (NRA, restaurant.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

National Retail Federation (NRF) Called The Ruling An Example Of “Unelected Government Bureaucrats Creating Roadblocks In The Path Of Job Creation.” “The National Retail Federation (NRF) denounced the ruling as an instance of ‘unelected government bureaucrats creating roadblocks in the path of job creation.’” (Tim Devaney, “NLRB Rules Against Business In Pivotal Joint-Employer Decision,” The Hill, 8/27/15)

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Said Business Models Are Under Threat Because Of The NLRB’s Decision. “Despite their overwhelming successes, these business models are under threat. On August 27, 2015, the Obama NLRB issued a decision in a case called Browning-Ferris that essentially rewrote the so-called ‘joint-employer’ standard.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Protect Small Business Owners by Restoring Proper Definition of Joint Employer,” www.uschamber.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • S. Chamber: “Overturn Browning-Ferris And Return To The Prior Joint Employer Standard.” “Once the Trump administration has appointed new members, the NLRB should: Overturn Browning-Ferris and return to the prior joint employer standard.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Protect Small Business Owners by Restoring Proper Definition of Joint Employer,” www.uschamber.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

Editorials Across The Country Slammed The NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision:

The Wall Street Journal: Joint Employer Decision “Sure To Harm Diverse Industries In Every State.” “[The NLRB] handed down a new joint-employer standard that radically rewrites U.S. labor law and upends thousands of business relationships … Labor unions are celebrating a decision sure to harm diverse industries in every state.” (Editorial, “NLRB’s Joint Employer Attack,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/15)

The Detroit News: “Joint Employer Rule Could Fundamentally Harm A Wide Range Of U.S. Businesses.” “Last week, the National Labor Relations Board gave unions a big win – even by the Obama administration’s labor-friendly standards. While that’s good news for labor supporters, the so-called new joint employer rule could fundamentally harm a wide range of U.S. businesses.” (Editorial, “Our Editorial: NLRB Ruling Hits Entrepreneurs,” The Detroit News, 9/3/15)

The Orange County Register: Rulings Implications Are “Ominous.” “If this ruling stands, the implications for the fast-food business and other industries that rely on the franchise model will be ominous … There’s no compelling reason to upset the legal arrangements that have served franchised businesses well for decades. What makes this decision even worse is that it emanated from an unelected agency accountable to no one. This decision ought to be overturned on appeal – and Congress ought to severely constrain the powers of the NLRB, which increasingly operates as a rogue agency.” (Editorial, “Editorial: NLRB Out Of Control,” The Orange County Register, 8/17/14)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: NLRB “Has Declared War On Small Businesses.” “State and federal regulators have long recognized this separation between corporation and franchisee, but if a recent, baseless order from the National Labor Relations Board’s top prosecutor stands, that separation could disappear – and unions will get a huge boost in their long-running efforts to organize the fast-food industry and win a job-killing minimum wage increase … The NLRB, with President Barack Obama’s full support, has declared war on small businesses, including thousands of Nevada operations. Is there no limit to the economic harm this administration has caused?” (Editorial, “Editorial: NLRB’s Franchise Ruling Threatens Owners, Workers,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/5/14)

Charleston [WV] Gazette-Mail: “American Businesses Don’t Have Infinite Amounts Of Money To Pay Heavy Fines And Comply With Unnecessary Regulation.” “The National Labor Relations Board’s Democratic majority voted last week to radically rewrite labor law and expand joint employer liability – a move that affects thousands of small businesses, franchisees, temp agencies and subcontractors across the country … Thursday’s ruling throws previous policies out the window … Contrary to what Obama seems to think, the majority of American businesses don’t have infinite amounts of money to pay heavy fines and comply with unnecessary regulation. Nor do they have the time, resources and manpower to spend when employees they only tangentially manage file grievances against their employer.” (Editorial, “Daily Mail Editorial: Labor Ruling Another Example Of Overreach,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 9/1/15)





Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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