Temps and Permanent Employees Win Greater Freedom to Unionize at Work
The Teamsters, the broader labor movement and, most importantly, American workers received good news from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on July 11 when it ruled that company employees and long-term temps working for the same employer can organize and seek fairer wages and labor conditions together as one unit without seeking permission of the employer.
As part of its decision, the NLRB “held that petitioned-for units combining solely and jointly employed workers of a single user employer must share a community of interest in order for a single unit combining the two to be appropriate. The Board will apply the traditional community of interest factors for determining unit appropriateness.”
So what does that really mean? As the American Prospect sees it, it’s a big victory for hard-working Americans:
“In an increasingly fractured world of labor relations, it’s hard to understate how big of a deal this is for easing union organizing efforts. And coming less than a year after its Browning Ferris ruling that established a bold new standard for defining when parent companies are joint employers of subcontracted workers, the Miller & Anderson decision is yet another important step that increases employer accountability to their workers by expanding the responsibilities of joint employers.”
For too long, companies have been tamping down on worker salaries and benefits by subcontracting some of their work out to outside firms. But in many cases, these workers are doing the same duties as those directly employed by the company.
Yet for all practical purposes, these workers couldn’t unite together and organize. Since the temp workers weren’t technically employees of the company where they worked, they could only join in a combined unit if the company gave approval. And that wasn’t happening.
Now workers can join together and stick up for themselves with the backing of a union. And that union membership will lead to better wages, benefits and workplace protections. Workers and their families will have more security.
That’s a real win for America!
Teamsters Joint Council 25, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.