By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R from Montrose) wrote an editorial in the “Hill” urging Congress to act to block potentially crippling new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulations that potentially could hurt businesses using the franchise model.
Congressman Byrne said in a statement on social media, “What we learned after the 2016 election is that the working people of our country feel at best ignored and at worst forgotten by their government. Sadly, working families are drowning in government regulations and mandates that make life harder for them. This is certainly the case with the new “joint employer” standard from the National Labor Relations Board. The new “joint employer” standard directly threatens the livelihoods of thousands of American workers – the very people who feel the government is leaving them behind. According to FRANdata, an independent franchise-information firm, an estimated 600,000 American jobs, from more than 40,000 different businesses, could either be lost or not created within the franchise industry because of the joint employer ruling. Congress must act to get rid of this flawed standard that will make things harder for American workers.”
In 2015 the NLRB (which the Obama Administration has packed with former union activists) overturned decades of settled law when it rewrote the definition of a “joint employee.” The purpose of the re-definition is to make it easier for the unions to organize. 9.1 million workers works for franchises. Franchise owners fear that the regulation will drive up costs and will severely limit their independence.
Rep. Byrne wrote in the ‘Hill,’ “For decades, joint employers were known as those that mutually had “direct” and “immediate” control over the essential conditions and terms of employment for certain workers. Under the new, unpredictable standard based on “indirect” or even “reserved” control, companies can be liable for employees they never hired or supervised at contract firms they do business with. If big firms are liable for the actions of small firms and franchises, they are unlikely to do business with them any longer.”
We were all taught in elementary school that Congress writes the laws. Long ago Congress abandoned most of it’s law making power to executive branch controlled agencies like the NLRB and the EPA. As President Barack H. Obama’s Democratic Party Administration has only weeks left in power, his appointees are rushing dozens of new rules and regulations through before President Donald J. Trump is inaugurated. Many pro-business groups are urging the Congress and the Trump Administration to reform the entire process.
US Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donahue wrote in his own op-ed, “As many of the Chamber’s member companies can attest, the biggest threat to free enterprise isn’t coming from Congress, the White House, or the courts. Rather, it’s coming from federal agencies, which wield their regulatory power to act as an unaccountable fourth branch of government. The power of these agencies has seen unbridled growth over the last eight years. With the new administration and Congress, we have an extraordinary opportunity to reverse that growth and modernize the entire regulatory system.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.