House passes Bradley Byrne’s Save Local Business Act

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The U.S. House of Representation on Tuesday passed the Save Local Business Act, a bill that rolls back a vague and expansive Obama-era National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ruling that made businesses potentially liable for labor law violations committed by their subcontractors providing certainty for local businesses and their employees.

Introduced in July by Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who serves as the chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, the bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 242 to 181.

For a few years now, I’ve visited local businesses and heard concerns about how the joint employer scheme creates confusion and uncertainty for workers and job creators. With this vote today, the House has shown we are listening to those concerns and doubling down on our commitment to protecting local businesses and their employees,” said Byrne.

“As someone who practiced law in this field for years, I have no doubt today’s vote will make things easier for small businesses throughout the country and help clear the air of uncertainty. I want to thank all of my colleagues for their support in passing this critical legislation, and I am especially pleased the bill passed with votes from both sides of the aisle.”

Byrne’s bill amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to clarify that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers.

“Today’s House vote is a victory for America’s workers and local businesses that need relief from the NLRB’s extreme and unworkable joint employer scheme. We want to make it easier, not harder, for hardworking men and women to own a business and achieve the American Dream, and that’s exactly what this commonsense bill is all about.,” North Carolina-Republican and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx said of the bill’s passage.

“I want to thank Representative Byrne for championing this proposal, as well as all the members of the committee for their hard work and passion that went into advancing this important legislation.”

The bill earned support from multiple national organizations, including the Coalition to Save Local Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Retail Federation, the Workplace Fairness Institute, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association, and more. 

Byrne delivered a speech on the House floor in support of his legislation. Watch:

A transcript of his speech can be found below.

Mr. Speaker, today is a big day. Today is an opportunity for the House to stand up for our nation’s workers and to protect the small, local businesses which form the backbone of the American economy.

Today is about restoring decades’ old labor law. Ultimately today is about giving clarity to workers and job creators all across our country.

I heard from my friends across the aisle that someone can be an employee without there being an employer. I call that the immaculately conceived employee. There is no such thing under the law nor has there ever been.

This bill does not change the definition of employer. It simply takes the definition of joint employer back to the way it was a few years ago.

It’s a shame we even have to have this bill. But the activist National Labor Relations Board in 2015 issued a decision that fundamentally up-ended labor law as we knew it. This change didn’t come through the democratically elected Congress but instead from a panel of unelected bureaucrats.

The NLRB’s decision has caused deep uncertainty among job creators.

For workers, they are left to wonder who their boss really is. That is an incredibly confusing situation to be in.

Under the new joint employer standard, what does it mean to have ‘indirect’ or ‘potential’ control over an employee? I practiced labor and employment law for decades, and I do not know what that means so I can only imagine the confusion Main Street businesses have faced due to this standard.

Currently there are at least nine different legal tests nationwide to determine joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act and more to come. This patchwork of standards creates regulatory uncertainty, especially for job creators doing business in multiple states.

So despite what some on the other side want to believe, this is not an abstract issue. I have visited numerous local businesses in my district, and I know they are very worried about this scheme. I’ve heard from workers who want to remain an employee of a locally owned business with an owner who knows them instead of becoming just another employee in some large corporation.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who heard these concerns. This legislation is co-sponsored by 123 of my colleagues, including members from both sides of the aisle.

This is a bipartisan issue because it isn’t about politics. Instead, it’s about saving jobs and supporting locally owned businesses.

And let me make something crystal clear: this bill does not remove a single protection for today’s workforce. Despite the scare tactics being used by Big Labor bosses and their trial lawyer friends, the same important protections exist under this legislation and any irresponsible employer can be held accountable.

So, Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to take the side of our locally owned businesses, to take the side of our small business job creators, and to take the side of America’s workers.

Let’s stand end the confusion, and let’s pass the Save Local Business Act.

I yield back my time.

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