While hiring temporary workers can lead to advantages with worker's comp, insurance and ACA compliance, companies are beginning to question whether or not the risks of unionization outweigh the benefits. This comes after a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), allowing unions to organize and represent permanent and temporary employees working at the same worksite. [more]
The decision, based on the case of Miller & Anderson, overturns an eight-year-old rule that required all employers with employees at a particular worksite to come to an agreement before a union could represent their workers as one bargaining unit. Under the new decision, unions may include workers employed by different employers, all treated as one bargaining unit without prior approval from the employers. Many companies are concerned this could lead to temporary workers being used against them, should they choose to join a union.
The changing political landscape
The political makeup of the NLRB is mainly appointed by the sitting president, and with the approaching changing of the guard, this decision could very likely be reversed. The recent Miller & Anderson decision made under the Obama administration overruled the Bush-era standard requiring joint employer consent before temporary and permanent employees were able to organize jointly. With the election of President-elect Donald Trump, it is very likely that this decision could revert back to the 2004 standard.
What does that mean for staffing firms?
Although it is very likely that the rule will be reversed, no official changes have been made and it could be years before the decision is contested. In the meantime, temporary employees do still have the ability to unionize and it’s important to have processes in place in case you find yourself facing a union grievance. Below, we’ve outlined a few steps you can take to help prevent against complaints from your temporary employees and deal with issues should they arise:
- Discuss ways your customers could engage with temporary employees to help them feel as much a part of the team as full-time, permanent employees.
- In industries such as health care, janitorial and manufacturing, which are more susceptible to union claims, it is especially important to make temp employees feel valuable.
- Maintain consistent, thorough communication with your customers, so you are able to remain a united front in the face of employee complaints.
Wondering when and how the Trump presidency might impact temporary employees' right to unionize? Please reach out to talk to a member of our team. For the latest updates and developments, check back often to the Advance Voice blog.