The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to a decision today from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the Browning-Ferris case. In its "joint employer" decision today, the NLRB ruled that a company that contracts out its staffing can be considered a joint employer with the contractor and therefore is subject to numerous labor-related obligations and liabilities, including unfair labor practice charges and the duty to bargain.
"Today's decision is the latest in a long series of rulings aimed at overturning decades of precedent and upending the relationship between employees and their employers for the purposes of easing the task of union organizers," said Kelly Kolb, vice president for government affairs. "The historic direct-control standard is consistent, predictable, and provides all stakeholders with clear expectations and RILA will continue to work with allies across the business community to preserve that important standard."
The Retail Litigation Center, a partner organization to RILA, filed an amicus brief in the Browning-Ferris case. The brief can be found here.
In addition to the joint employer issue, RILA has worked to reverse harmful NLRB decisions that have established micro-unions and ambush elections.
Micro-unions are a result of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, in which the NLRB redefined what could be considered a proper bargaining unit. The rule allows union organizers to gerrymander a workplace, cherry-picking groups of employees within a larger workforce to form micro-unions. The resulting balkanization of the workplace would be particularly harmful to retail, where many of today's executives got their start working as associates in retail stores. The work rules that will come from micro-unions will undermine the flexibility that employees enjoy and the cross-training necessary for advancement.
Ambush elections limit the issues and evidence that can be presented at a pre-election hearing, restrict employer arguments to only those identified prior to a pre-election hearing, and shorten the election time frames. Changes to the timing of elections limits employee access to essential information necessary to cast an informed vote, while at the same time limiting the ability of employers to exercise their right to free speech and address employee concerns. In addition, the decision forces employers to provide private information about their employees, a move that unnecessarily increases tensions between employers and employees.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.