By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of Congressman Bradley Byrne’s, R-Montrose, bill: the “Save Local Business Act.” The Save Local Business Act amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to restore the commonsense definition of what it means to be an employer. The legislation clarifies that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers. The Barack H. Obama (D) administration had attempted to define employees in such a way that employees of a franchisee or some contractors would have been under the same regulations as employees of the flag ship corporation that markets the franchises.
The Save Local Business Act clarifies what constitutes a “joint employer” under federal labor law. The bill rolls back the National Labor Relations Board’s vague and expansive joint employer standard and provides certainty for local businesses and their employees.
“For a few years now, I’ve visited local businesses and heard concerns about how the joint employer scheme creates confusion and uncertainty for workers and job creators. With this vote today, the House has shown we are listening to those concerns and doubling down on our commitment to protecting local businesses and their employees,” Congressman Byrne said.
“As someone who practiced law in this field for years, I have no doubt today’s vote will make things easier for small businesses throughout the country and help clear the air of uncertainty” Byrne said. “I want to thank all of my colleagues for their support in passing this critical legislation, and I am especially pleased the bill passed with votes from both sides of the aisle.”
“Today’s House vote is a victory for America’s workers and local businesses that need relief from the NLRB’s extreme and unworkable joint employer scheme. We want to make it easier, not harder, for hardworking men and women to own a business and achieve the American Dream, and that’s exactly what this commonsense bill is all about. I want to thank Representative Byrne for championing this proposal, as well as all the members of the committee for their hard work and passion that went into advancing this important legislation,” House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, said.
The bill earned support from multiple national organizations, including the Coalition to Save Local Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Retail Federation, the Workplace Fairness Institute, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association and more.
Byrne delivered a speech on the House floor in support of his legislation. A transcript of his speech can be found below.
“Today is about restoring decades’ old labor law. Ultimately today is about giving clarity to workers and job creators all across our country. This bill does not change the definition of employer. It simply takes the definition of joint employer back to the way it was a few years ago. It’s a shame we even have to have this bill. But the activist National Labor Relations Board in 2015 issued a decision that fundamentally up-ended labor law as we knew it. This change didn’t come through the democratically elected Congress but instead from a panel of unelected bureaucrats,” Byrne said on the floor of the House.
“Despite what some on the other side want to believe, this is not an abstract issue,” Byrne said. “I have visited numerous local businesses in my district, and I know they are very worried about this scheme. I’ve heard from workers who want to remain an employee of a locally owned business with an owner who knows them instead of becoming just another employee in some large corporation. Let me make something crystal clear: this bill does not remove a single protection for today’s workforce. Despite the scare tactics being used by Big Labor bosses and their trial lawyer friends, the same important protections exist under this legislation and any irresponsible employer can be held accountable.”
Byrne serves as chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee.
This bill passed by a vote of 242 to 181.
The bill now moves on to the U.S. Senate where a number of Republican measures passed by the House have failed to be acted on by the Senate.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.