(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union today applauded the National Labor Relations Board on its “joint employer” ruling in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc., as an additional step to protect and provide a voice to millions of American workers by holding employers that rely on temporary or contracted workers accountable.
“This decision will make a tremendous difference for workers’ rights on the job. Employers will no longer be able to shift responsibility for their workers and hide behind loopholes to prevent workers from organizing or engaging in collective bargaining,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “This is a victory for workers across America.”
Today’s ruling resulted from a 2013 case brought by Teamsters Local 350 in Daly City, Calif., against Browning-Ferris, a waste management company that is owned by Republic Services—the second-largest waste services company in the U.S. The union maintained that Republic had control over wage and working conditions for its workers employed through Leadpoint Services, a staffing agency, and counted as a joint employer with that agency.
“We are pleased with this decision, which will provide justice to workers who have been fighting for fairness in the workplace for a long time,” said Larry Daugherty, principal officer of Teamsters Local 350. “We are honored to support these courageous workers who took a stand to form a union—they’ve hung in there the entire time that this process has played out. We are confident that with this decision the workers will able to engage in real collective bargaining.”
The Teamsters Union has aggressively fought against employers shifting responsibility of their workforce, whether through misclassification at companies like FedEx, in our nation’s ports or through the use of staffing agencies in the food processing industry at companies like Taylor Farms. A concerted push by port truck drivers to file claims at both federal and state agencies is resulting in those agencies consistently finding that employers have been falsely classifying workers as independent contractors.
In 2014, Teamsters worked with Taylor Farms workers and the California Federation of Labor in urging for the passage AB 1897, a first-of-its-kind bill that establishes joint employer liability for employers when their temp agencies break California law.
“Today’s decision is another step to show that companies can no longer claim they are not employers when problems arise. This is important in industries like the solid waste and recycling industries, where workers can face dangerous working conditions and need proper training and standards to have safe working environments,” said Ron Herrera, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “Instead of pointing fingers if a worker gets hurt, companies will now be accountable. It’s the decent and reasonable expectation that workers should have at work.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.