The AFL-CIO group of unions allege that the United States Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association (IFA), and more than a dozen other business groups secretly had “extensive input” on the NLRB’s proposal to change its legal standard for joint employer liability for labor law violations. The Labor Federation said in a December 7 filing to the National Labor Relations Board that the business groups submitted rule making petitions to the agency that appear to have substantially affected how the Board wrote its proposed Joint Employer Rule. The groups in those petitions offered their own proposals for the rule and legal arguments to justify a possible change in the Board’s approach.

The ALF-CIO’s allegations that the NLRB allowed business groups to covertly influence the crafting of its Joint Employer proposal follows criticism that the Board turned to the rulemaking process to evade ethics questions. IFA spokesman said it is no secret that business groups have asked the NLRB to reverse the Obama-era joint employer rule. Just like it was no secret that unions were behind the Obama-era NLRB’s change to the decades old joint employment legal standard in the first place.

Under the NLRB’s September 2017 proposal, one company would have to exert “substantial direct and immediate control” over another-s workers to be considered a joint employer.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at