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Waste workers in joint-employer case vote for union representation

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California waste workers involved in the National Labor Relations Board’s recent joint-employer ruling have voted in favor of having Teamster representation, raising the potential of further legal action.

Workers at Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc. voted 73-17 in favor of representation, the Teamsters said in a statement.

The votes, originally cast in April 2014, had been impounded and were counted only after the NLRB’s 3-2 decision in August to change the 30-year-old standard that determined joint-employer status, holding that Browning Ferris was a joint employer with Leadpoint Business Services, which supplied employees to Browning Ferris. Both entities exercise control over the terms and conditions of employment of the workers, the board ruled.

The Teamsters’ lawyer, Susan Garea, an associate at law firm Beeson Tayer & Bodine A.P.C. in Oakland, California, said the union has demanded that Browning-Ferris start bargaining, but has not yet heard back from the company.

Should the company refuse, she declined comment on reports that the union would turn to the courts for failing to abide by the NLRB ruling.

The Washington-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce denounced the NLRB’s ruling, stating it would hinder employers.

“Because of the array of obligations and liabilities that attach with a finding of joint employer status, the Browning-Ferris case could lead many employers to significantly alter or limit the contractual agreements into which they enter,” said Randy Johnson, the chamber’s senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, in a statement. “This will reduce employer flexibility and competition at a time when the economy continues to experience anemic economic growth.”

Attorneys for Browning-Ferris did not respond to questions about whether the company would appeal the NLRB ruling.