"While working people struggle to make ends meet, Trump's NLRB is making it harder for those who hold real power in workplaces to be held accountable."
In a "shocking and brazen" move to advance the Trump administration's "aggressive anti-worker agenda," Republicans on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted along party lines to overturn a rule that helped hotel and fast food workers bring labor rights lawsuits against major companies like McDonald's and other chains.
The decision restores a policy that legal experts warn lets "joint employers evade liability" and "makes it easier for a big-pocketed [corporations] to outsource parts of their operations without taking responsibility for the outsourced workers' working conditions."
In 2014, labor unions and workers had celebrated a decision by the NLRB's general council that chains such as McDonald's—which primarily relies on franchise owners to handle daily operations at the vast majority of restaurants—could be treated as joint employers for the sake of settling labor disputes. While another ruling a year later expanded the joint-employer classification, McDonald's and its contemporaries have continued to fight against it.
Following the vote on Thursday, "two or more entities will be deemed joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if there is proof that one entity has exercised control over essential employment terms of another entity's employees (rather than merely having reserved the right to exercise control) and has done so directly and immediately (rather than indirectly) in a manner that is not limited and routine," according to a statement by the NLRB, which settles labor disputes between workers and employers.
Because the reversion to the old rules applies to "all future and pending cases," Thursday's ruling is expected to have significant and rather immediate consequences for workers.