Labor Board overrules temp-worker ruling

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A temporary employee has no right to join a union with permanent employees unless the temporary employee's agency and the agency's client consent to the bargaining arrangement, the National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-2 last week.

In a majority statement, members of the NLRB agreed that when temporary employees are combined with permanent employees in a work environment, the situation creates a multi-employer unit. The National Labor Relations Act stipulates that consent is required for the establishment of a bargaining arrangement within multi-employer units.

The decision overrules a 2000 decision by the NLRB that allowed for bargaining units that combine employees who are solely employed, or permanent, and employees who are jointly employed, or temporary or agency workers.

In dissent, NLRB members said that workers in the increasingly more common alternative work arrangements would now effectively be barred from organizing labor unions without the consent of their employers.