The National Labor Relations Act from 1935 expanded labor relations legislation and laid the ground floor for private sector unionization. The House of Representatives recently approved H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which may be the most expansive legislation since the NLRA.
Defenders of the act and opposition have been at odds over what ramifications it may have, but as the Society for Human Resource Management reports, it may have extensive changes for the classification of independent contractors.
What the bill does
As the Act stands, it includes a test to determine whether an individual works as an independent contractor or an employee in context to their work with a company. It also has language designed to prohibit class-action waivers in arbitration. This may weaken right-to-work laws in many states and possibly allow more collective bargaining for employees.
What others think about the act
Defenders point out the strengths of reclassifying workers as employees if they fall into the act’s broader categories. Opponents focus on the potential breaches of privacy that come with denying employees the ability to choose how unions contact them.
What it means for workers
Though it still needs to pass in the Senate, this represents a substantial change in employment law. Those who fall in the gray area between employee and independent contractors may see the most changes. Proponents of the act claim that it may only affect those contractors with an interest in joining a union, meaning independent contractors who do not wish to join may have nothing to worry about.
If the act passes, it means a lot of change in the coming years. Knowing how it might affect things is valuable to workers and employers of all stripes.