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‘Not dealing with rookies’: Companies brace for Biden's new labor cops

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06.09.2021

A new Democratic majority at the National Labor Relations Board is poised to carry out sweeping policy changes in the coming months that could dramatically shift the balance of power toward workers and away from employers.

Among the most significant moves are likely to be increasing the number of people who qualify as employees instead of independent contractors so they can receive benefits, expanding protections for employees who speak out on the job, and cracking down on businesses that try to thwart union elections, according to NLRB officials, labor experts and employment attorneys.

The actions would be a sharp turnabout from a trend of labor policy favoring employers and would fulfill a key campaign pledge by President Joe Biden to enhance worker protections and power. They're also bound to spark a backlash from businesses.

“From the employers’ standpoint, we're in for a very, very challenging time — frankly, even more challenging than under” the Obama administration, said attorney Michael Lotito, who represents businesses for law firm Littler Mendelson. “We're not dealing with rookies. We have individuals who know what they want to accomplish” and “have been given a directive as to what to accomplish.”

Some analysts say the agency’s expected rulings could even serve as a backdoor for enacting provisions included in Democrats’ Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the filibuster-stalled bill that would vastly expand workers’ ability to join unions in potentially the most important overhaul of U.S. labor law since the 1940s.

Lotito predicts that employers will go to court against the agency for acting outside its jurisdiction. “This board is going to test, significantly, the envelope,” he said. “The appellate practice emanating out of board decisions is going to explode.”

The NLRB, responsible for implementing the National Labor Relations Act, is an independent agency that operates outside of White House control. But Biden — a self-described union man who made organized labor a key focus of his........

© Politico


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