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A Radical Republican Proposal To Roll Back Worker Protections

Lynn Rhinehart
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Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on H.R. 3441, the so-called Save Local Business Act -- a bill that has almost nothing to do with saving small and local businesses. According to its sponsors, the legislation was introduced to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) 2015 decision in Browning Ferris Industries.

In that decision the NLRB ruled that Browning Ferris, a waste management company, was a joint employer along with a staffing agency called Leadpoint. At the time, Leadpoint provided 80 percent of the workforce for Browning Ferris’ recycling facility.

The NLRB’s decision was hardly remarkable: Browning Ferris had significant control over key features of the employee’s work. The company controlled workers’ hours, their pay, and even dictated the speed of the recycling line. If the sorters and screeners who had petitioned for a union were to have any power to negotiate over their wages and working conditions, they needed Browning Ferris at the bargaining table.

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