House Votes to Protect Franchise Employees

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Mark Mix: Union bosses “know from experience” that small companies “are far
more likely to stand up to Big Labor pressure and refuse to sell out employees who wish to remain union-free than are large firms.” Credit for Mark Mix Photo: Wikimedia Commons

But Union-Label Senate Politicians Could Stall Bipartisan Bill

On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives took a step towards overturning one of the most egregious and destructive rulings issued by President Barack Obama’s handpicked, pro-forced unionism appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.

In a 242-181 vote that evening, the House approved H.R.3441, the Save Local Business Act, a measure to amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

H.R.3441 makes it absolutely clear that franchisors and companies that employ subcontractors and temporary staffing agencies may only be treated as joint employers if their actions have a “direct and immediate impact” on workers’ terms and conditions of employment.

To Avoid Negative Big Labor Publicity, Big Firms Have Agreed to ‘Card Checks’

Therefore, if it is adopted by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump, H.R.3441 will nullify the Obama NLRB’s August 2015 decision in Browning Ferris Industries.

BFI redefined a joint employer as any company that makes a business agreement with another if the agreement could even “potentially” have an “indirect” influence on employees’ working conditions.

This dramatic policy shift was implemented by a 3-2 majority of a bitterly divided board in resolving a case brought by Teamster union bosses against BFI.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix explained:

“Under decades of precedents, franchisors have never been regarded as employers of workers at independently owned stores, and employees of subcontractors have only rarely been regarded as also being employed by the company that hires the contractor.

“Union bosses have long desired to overturn these precedents.

“They know from experience that small companies are far more likely to stand up to Big Labor pressure and refuse to sell out employees who wish to remain union-free than are large firms.

“In order to avoid negative publicity generated by union officials and their allies, large corporations have time and again agreed to ‘card checks’ and ‘neutrality’ deals that actually help Big Labor gain monopoly-bargaining power over employees.”

Analysis Shows BFI Could Lower Total U.S. Employment By 1.7 Million Over a Decade

According to research conducted by the International Franchise Association, franchises are currently responsible for 7.6 million jobs across the U.S.

And until recently, employment at franchise businesses was growing far more rapidly than at other private-sector enterprises, by 3.4% annually vs. 2.0%, according to the American Action Forum (AAF).

But it now appears remote companies that fear they may face legal repercussions if the franchises they license refuse to corral their employees into unions are refusing to sell franchise licenses.

The AAF analysis shows that, as a consequence of the Obama NLRB’s radical new joint employer standard, within a decade there will be 1.7 million fewer private-sector jobs than there would have been had the previous standard been retained.

“One would hope,” said Mr. Mix, “that, in view of the radicalism of the BFI decision and its evidently detrimental impact on job creation, a significant share of Democrat politicians in Washington, D.C., would be willing to break with their usual pattern and vote against Big Labor on H.R.3441.

“But in the House, just 4% of the Democrat elected officials present and voting on this measure stood up to the union bosses.”

How Many Senate Democrats Will Be Willing to Stand Up to Big Labor Bosses?

In the Senate, where Republicans held a 52-48 majority as this Newsletter edition went to press at the beginning of December, it is extremely likely union boss-backed politicians will launch an extended debate, or filibuster, to block any such legislation.

Consequently, it will take at least 60 Senate votes, rather than just 51, to pass companion legislation to H.R.3441 in Congress’s upper chamber.

“You can’t get 60 Senate votes unless at least eight Senate Democrats break with Big Labor,” noted Mr. Mix.

“That’s a tall order.

“But this uphill battle is worth fighting. If legislation like H.R.3441 becomes law, it will effectively be impossible for a future pro-forced unionism NLRB to reinstate BFI’s skewed ‘joint employer standard’ bureaucratically.”

Mr. Mix vowed that the Committee and its members would do everything reasonably possible to mobilize grass-roots Right to Work supporters and prevail in the Senate showdown.

(Source: January 2018 National Right To Work Newsletter)