Thursday’s U.S. National Labor Relations Board decision in Browning-Ferris may not significantly impact the use of staffing services or staffing firm-client relations, according to Stephen Dwyer, general counsel of the American Staffing Association. “Although we cannot definitively predict the long-term impact of the decision,” he said, “prior board decisions that effectively made it easier for temporary workers to unionize did not demonstrably result in increased unionization of such workers, and that largely remains the case today.”
Private sector union membership accounts for less than 7% of the workforce, and temporary help services workers make up 2% of the nonfarm workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Relatively few temporary workers are assigned to clients with union workforces,” Dwyer said.
The decision departed from more than 30 years of legal precedent to expand the legal standard for determining joint employer status. “While the American Staffing Association supports the rights of workers to unionize under the law,” Dwyer emphasized, “in an amicus brief filed in the case, ASA argued that only Congress, not the board, has the legal authority to change the standard.” ASA will hold a special webinar for its members, with attorneys from the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, to further discuss the board’s decision and its implications for the staffing industry.