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The U.S. Government Just Gave Contract Workers Way More Organizing Power

The U.S. Government Just Gave Contract Workers Way More Organizing Power
[Photo: Flickr user Håkan Dahlström]

In a decision that has huge ramifications for the fast food industry and service economy at large, federal regulators ruled on Thursday that organized workers can now negotiate with franchising corporations in addition to just individual franchises. The ruling, handed down by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), opens the door to vastly increased labor organizing at franchised businesses.

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“With more than 2.87 million of the nation’s workers employed through temporary agencies in August 2014, the Board held that its previous joint employer standard has failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances,” the NLRB said in a release.

In other words, if a company uses a temp agency to find workers, those people can now directly negotiate with the business in question.

The decision applies to a case in which a Bay Area recycling company used employees from a temporary agency, who then used the Teamsters union to organize–and wanted to engage with the company itself. Today’s ruling greatly empowers franchise employees, temp workers, and contractors who wish to do the same.

The NLRB is currently litigating a major case against McDonald’s and several other franchisees; this ruling is expected to have a significant impact on that case.

[via the New York Times]

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