September 15, 2017
Less than a week removed from his appearance before the Washington Policy Conference, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) chaired a hearing of two House Education and Workforce subcommittees on his proposed joint employer legislation, which would clarify how affiliated businesses are considered joint employers. "As a former labor attorney, I can tell you it used to be very clear in legal terms how you become someone's employer," Chairman Byrne said in his opening statement. "But that's no longer the case since the National Labor Relations Board stepped in. Many people would be shocked to find out that some company they've had zero contact with is also considered their employer, in addition to the employer that actually hired them." The Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441) would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to simplify and clarify joint employer relationships. Rep. Byrne's bill is an important piece in the workforce committee's agenda this year. A Committee mark up and floor consideration could occur soon. Passage by the Senate would need Democratic support, which is not clear at this point. However, House Democrats Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Rep. Lou Correa of California are co-sponsors of the bill. Meanwhile, support for the bill is growing in moderate, business-friendly Democratic circles. At a briefing for lawmakers and staff on the Hill Tuesday, representatives of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) said they support the Save Local Business Act. Dane Stangler, director of Policy Innovation at PPI, said, "The world of work is changing rapidly, and policymakers across the country need to help workers and companies adapt. The Progressive Policy Institute is committed to helping find solutions that balance worker protection with business productivity and investment and the expansion of the joint employer doctrine fails to strike that balance."