Labor board ruling hurts small businesses


By Bob Funk

When you work on Main Street USA, the most important job you have is to take care of your customers and employees. Worrying about federal labor policy from Washington, D.C., should be far down on the list.

For decades, businesses have operated by innovating, expanding and providing local opportunities for growth. But, the National Labor Relations Board recently issued a ruling that the relationships between employees and their bosses could drastically change for the worse.

In its August decision regarding Browning-Ferris Industries, the NLRB has signaled businesses that if you contract with other businesses, you could be considered a “joint employer.” If you are a franchiser, then you will be considered a “joint employer” of all the workers hired by your independent franchisees.

The rules are vague, but one thing is clear — companies of all sectors and sizes will need to spend money and time on compliance.

Government burdens add up quickly. Policymakers push forward ideas without thinking about the consequences on everyday people. Thankfully, cooler heads are acting to reverse the NLRB’s decision before it’s too late. The bipartisan Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act (HR 3459) would reset the joint employer standard back to what has worked for businesses for 30 years.

As friends of small business, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, get it. Fortunately, they sit on the House and Senate spending panels that will help negotiate the year-end spending bill this month.

I urge Oklahomans to support Cole and Lankford in their efforts to ensure corrective legislation is included in the appropriate year-end spending bills. It is just too important to ignore.

Funk is CEO and chairman of the board at Oklahoma City-based Express Employment Professionals.

< PREVIOUS If contractors are employees, small businesses will suffer