July 16, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The National Labor Relations Board ruled July 11 that temporary workers have the right to form unions with permanent employees in the same bargaining unit.
The 3–1 decision held that workers who are “jointly employed,” such as those hired through a staffing agency, could organize with “solely employed” staffers if they were both part of the same “community of interest.” It overturned a 2004 board ruling that temps could organize only if they have the consent of management at both their workplace and their agency. Anyone familiar with the National Labor Relations Act’s history, the majority wrote, “might well wonder why employees must obtain the consent of their employers in order to bargain collectively. After all, Congress passed the Act to compel employers to recognize and bargain with the designated representatives of appropriate units of employees, even if the employers would prefer not to do so.” It said the 2004 decision had overextended the definition of “multiemployer,” and remanded the case, which involves sheet-metal workers in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to its Baltimore regional office. Read more