In 2003, CNN terminated its relationship with its unionized subcontractor Team Video Services, LLC (TVS). TVS provided CNN with camera crews and other technicians. CNN then created new, non-union positions to replace the TVS workers and hired about 2/3 of TVS’s employees for those positions. The NLRB did not believe CNN’s argument that it terminated TVS’s contract to create a nimble staff suited to new digital technology, mostly because TVS had worked through technological changes before and CNN praised TVS’s workers when it announced the reorganization.
Of great importance is that the NLRB also ruled CNN and TVS were joint employers because CNN had the right to require changes in TVS staffing levels and imposed limits on whom TVS could hire. It also found that CNN producers had often directed cameramen without checking with TVS. According to the Board, “logic would dictate finding of joint-employer status in circumstances where a contactor deems its operations so essential that they cannot be entrusted to the supervisory oversight of its subcontractor’s officials.”