Trump NLRB Appointees Give Big Win to Employers

(Bloomberg) -- The National Labor Relations Board made it easier Friday for companies to treat their workers as independent contractors excluded from federal labor protections, overturning an Obama-era precedent.

By a 3-1 party-line vote, Republican board members sided against shuttle van drivers for SuperShuttle, who were seeking to unionize at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. The NLRB ruled that they were independent contractors, not employees, and therefore weren’t protected by a New Deal-era law enshrining workers’ right to organize.

The board overruled a 2014 case, FedEx Home Delivery, in which a Democratic majority on the NLRB had established a standard making it easier for workers to be considered employees rather than contractors. The majority in Friday’s case wrote that the Obama-era ruling had “impermissibly altered the board’s traditional common-law test” by “severely limiting” the significance of workers’ “entrepreneurial opportunity” when analyzing whether they were contractors or employees.

Wilma Liebman, who chaired the NLRB in Obama’s first term, said that the new ruling is the latest example of the current board "ignoring worker realities and constricting labor law rights. Fewer workers have fewer rights with the Trump Board."

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