NELP Applauds NLRB Joint-Employer Decision

The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the National Labor Relations Board’s decision in
Browning-Ferris Industries of California & Leadpoint Business Services, Case 32-RC-109684, issued on August 27, 2015:

“The NLRB has appropriately found that Browning-Ferris Industries is a ‘joint employer’— together with its staffing company Leadpoint—in a case brought by recycling workers at a BFI worksite who are trying to exercise their right to join a union and bargain with their employer over the terms and conditions of their jobs.

“After a deliberative and careful process, the NLRB has also revised its standard for finding employers jointly responsible under the National Labor Relations Act, aligning the standard with the purposes and intended reach of the Act.  This updated standard that returns to the Board’s previous standard articulated in a 1982 Circuit court decision also called Browning-Ferris, is urgently needed, as employer subcontracting and use of labor intermediaries such as staffing firms is on the rise, sometimes resulting in degraded working conditions and diminished worker access to collective bargaining.

“Because the Board found that both BFI and its staffing agency shared control over the jobs that were the subject of collective bargaining, the two companies can now share responsibility and accountability for the working conditions at the site.  This shared responsibility under the joint-employer standard should result in better oversight and compliance with important labor laws across industries.

“When companies like BFI decide to outsource portions of their workforce to staffing companies or other labor subcontractors, they should be held accountable, along with their contractors, for labor practices and working conditions.

“Corporate lobbyists will no doubt raise the alarm that this decision dooms subcontracting.  That’s far from the truth.  This ruling simply means that corporations that share control over operations cannot feign ignorance or disclaim responsibility for illegal acts, especially when those acts flow from the business model the lead company imposes.”

Read more:  Amicus brief filed by NELP and legal partners in the BFI case         


The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit

For Immediate Release:  August 27, 2015
Contact:  Anna Susman,, 646-200-5285

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