NLRB Clears Path for Unionizing Temporary Workers and Permanent Employees as One Group

July 12, 2016 Advisory

The National Labor Relations Board has launched yet another attack on employers who use staffing agencies and external labor sources. The NLRB’s long-awaited decision yesterday in Miller & Anderson makes it much easier for unions to simultaneously represent both the permanent employees of a company and workers from staffing agencies. It does so by eliminating the requirement that both employers -- companies and staffing agencies -- consent to the combined bargaining unit. 

Now the unions will decide whether the groups are represented jointly or separately unless there is an overwhelming showing the groups do not share a sufficient community of interest. Previously, unions seeking to represent both traditional employees and temporary workers in a single unit were required to obtain the consent of both the employer and staffing agency. 

Employers must now confront complex issues of collective bargaining and contract administration that arise from bargaining units covering diverse employment arrangements. For example, an employer that subcontracts with a staffing agency might be forced to simultaneously bargain over both those external employees and its own permanent employees, despite the two groups’ divergent interests on many issues. Staffing agencies and other labor supply companies, on the other hand, could find themselves drawn into labor disputes, whether or not their own employees are involved. 

For companies that use staffing agencies or external labor suppliers, proper planning might prevent a future determination of joint-employer status or of a “community of interest” between internal and external employees. Likewise, staffing agencies themselves will need to be prepared for opportunistic organizing activities by unions and their allies. The Board’s decision to return to a standard not requiring employers’ consent has tremendous reach and opens up greater possibilities for unionization and bargaining efforts.

Contact Us
  • Worldwide
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Edwardsville, IL
  • Jefferson City, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • London, England
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Wilmington, DE
abstract image of world map
Boston, MA
800 Boylston St.
30th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
Google Maps
Boston, Massachusetts
Denver, CO
4643 S. Ulster St.
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237
Google Maps
Denver, Colorado
Edwardsville, IL
115 N. Second St.
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Google Maps
Edwardsville, Illinois
Jefferson City, MO
101 E. High St.
First Floor
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Google Maps
Jefferson City, Missouri
Kansas City, MO
2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 1500
Kansas City, MO 64108
Google Maps
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, NV
3770 Howard Hughes Parkway
Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Google Maps
Las Vegas, Nevada
London, England
200 Strand
London, WC2R 1DJ
Google Maps
New York, NY
919 Third Ave., 37th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Google Maps
New York City
Philadelphia, PA
2005 Market Street
29th Floor, One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Google Maps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Princeton, NJ
100 Overlook Center
Second Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Google Maps
Princeton, New Jersey
Salt Lake City, UT
201 South Main Street
Suite 750
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Google Maps
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Louis, MO
7700 Forsyth Blvd.
Suite 1800
St. Louis, MO 63105
Google Maps
St. Louis, Missouri
Wilmington, DE
300 Delaware Avenue
Suite 210
Wilmington, DE 19801
Google Maps
Wilmington, Delaware