Labor regulators widen definition of 'employee' in reversal of Trump-era ruling

The ruling means employees such as construction workers and janitors will have a federally protected right to join a union.

Published: June 14, 2023 3:18pm

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a ruling that increases the number of workers who can be considered employees instead of contractors under federal law. 

The decision Tuesday reverses a ruling made when Republicans controlled the board in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump. 

The board's latest ruling was issued in a case filed by Atlanta Opera makeup artists, wig artists and hairstylists who were seeking union representation. The board decided that the employees who filed the petition "are not independent contractors, excluded from the Act, but rather are covered employees."

This ruling means employees such as construction workers, drivers and janitors will also have a federally protected right to join a union or collectivize.

Upon issuing the decision, NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran said: "Applying this clear standard will ensure that workers who seek to organize or exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act are not improperly excluded from its protections."

The Trump-era ruling appeared to be a victory for Uber, Lyft and other gig companies, as supporters of that have argued that ride-share drivers are contractors because they can determine their own opportunities for profit. 

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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