|Today's post is shared from http://www.mercurynews.com|
Who's your boss?
For an increasing number of American workers, it's a hard question to answer. To cut costs and avoid liability, more companies are hiring workers on a temporary or contract basis. More than 17 million people, 12 percent of the U.S. workforce, are now employed as temps, contract or freelance workers.
If you're a temp, which company is responsible for your pay, your schedule — and your right to a safe workplace? The agency that hired you, or the company that hired the agency?
The right answer, according to a group of temporary workers at a recycling plant in Milpitas, is both. They get paid by one company — Leadpoint Business Services — but work under the direction of a different one — Browning Ferris Industries (BFI), which operates the facility.
When temps at Milpitas filed a union organizing petition last year, they asked the National Labor Relations Board to recognize both Leadpoint and BFI as joint employers. Seeking representation by the Teamsters, the workers argued that since two companies share control over the work environment, both should come to the bargaining table.
The regional office of the NLRB disagreed, finding Leadpoint alone was the employer. The temporary workers have appealed. My organization — the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health — recently joined an amicus brief in support of their claim that both companies are joint...