Small business owners traveled to Capitol Hill this week to speak out against the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) latest assault on job creators
and to urge policymakers to rally behind a legislative solution. Introduced
by leaders in the House and Senate, the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act
(H.R. 3459) would roll back the board’s harmful joint employer decision, restore long-standing labor policy, and protect small businesses
across the country.
Several of these job creators appeared before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), who explained:
Last month, I traveled to communities in Alabama and Georgia to hear more about the NLRB’s latest Big Labor scheme, an effort to change what it means to be an employer by expanding the joint employer standard … We heard fears that the board would make a decision that would lead to higher costs, fewer jobs, and less opportunity for individuals – including veterans, women, and first generations – to pursue the American Dream. And then the board did exactly that.
For more than 30 years, federal labor policy held that two or more employees are “joint employers” if they share “actual,” “direct,” and “immediate,” control over terms and conditions of employment. In a decision that overturned this long-standing policy, the NLRB radically redefined what it means to be an employer by including those who have “indirect” or even “potential” control over virtually any employment decision.
That may not sound like a big deal to some, but former NLRB member Charles Cohen testified that he “cannot recall a single board decision so rife for potential abuse and mischief, nor one that would intrude the NLRB into the contractual relationships for so many industries and companies.” Small business owners agree and are speaking out about how this decision threatens their livelihoods and those of the hardworking men and women they employ:
- Edward Braddy, Burger King franchise owner: “In addition to overturning over 30 years of legal precedent, this decision will have disastrous consequences on not only the franchise model, but on all businesses across the country … I became a franchisee so that I could run my own business and help those in my community. The new joint employer standard will not only destroy that dream, but the dreams of other young men and women who hope to create a better future for themselves.”
- Kevin Cole, small business owner and electrical contractor: “It’s clear to see just how this broad and ambiguous new standard increases the cost of doing business. It makes it more difficult for companies like mine to continue to do all of the great work we do within the community and provide well-paying jobs … This new standard also prevents us from working with certain start-ups or new small businesses …”
- Mara Fortin, owner bakery franchise small businesses: “I cherish the opportunity to run my small business and help my community prosper, but the NLRB’s vastly expanded joint employer definition could force my franchisor to take control of my business away from me. I’ve worked far too hard and made too many sacrifices to have that happen to me, my family, and my employees.”
Representing communities and industries across the country, these men and women also shared their stories with Republican leaders during an event in support of the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act:
- Fortin: “The simple, one-sentence legislation … is the solution that can protect small businesses like mine and give us certainty that out-of-touch regulators are not going to threaten our business again in the future … The importance of H.R. 3459 cannot be overstated, not just as a means to help my small business, but also as a means to encourage others with an entrepreneurial spirit to take similar risks and ultimately contribute to their employees’ lives and communities.”
- Saunda Kitchen, small business franchisee: “Twenty years ago my family and I didn’t buy ourselves a job – we bought a business. We welcome the successes and the challenges that come with it, but we desperately need clarity so that we can continue to grow … That’s why we all need our elected officials to understand all that is at stake for us and our communities.”
- Lani Dolifka, franchisor of a pure drinking water company: The expanded joint employer standard “doesn’t take into consideration those of us who it affects the most: small businesses working hard every day to provide jobs and empower local communities … Let’s encourage our elected officials to come together and enact the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, protecting local business, keeping innovation alive, and fighting for the communities we love and live in.”
These job creators and countless others agree that the NLRB’s recent Big Labor scheme is a significant problem for their small businesses and the workers they employ. Fortunately, they also agree that there is a responsible solution that deserves bipartisan support. It’s time for policymakers to decide whether they’d rather be a part of the problem or the solution.
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