Guest Column by Azim Saju
I recently traveled to Washington to discuss a development that would result in a dramatically negative impact to the small-businesses community throughout Florida. The National Labor Relations Board just ruled in a landmark case that a company is now considered a “joint employer” when it uses specialized services and administers any level of indirect control over contracted employees.
In other words, if my company — HDG Hotels in North Central Florida — hires a custodial service to clean our facility, or security guards to safeguard our business after-hours, HDG could now be held liable for the vendor’s labor practices. A new piece of legislation, the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, would reverse this harmful decision and help small business owners like me keep growing and creating jobs.
HDG Hotels is a family owned and locally run business with 12 hotels in North Central Florida and about 300 of its own employees. We work hard to maintain personal relationships with our employees. We value the ability to make localized and individualized decisions. We provide development and educational opportunities for our employees. In fact, 60 percent of our company’s leadership started as housekeepers and have worked their way up within our company.
The NLRB’s decision would move our modern, 21st-century workplace backward.
As a small-business owner, I appreciate the flexibility to focus on what I do best and broker relationships with vendors and contractors that can provide my business with clear expertise to accomplish our goals. In light of the NLRB’s decision, the livelihood of my employees is now exposed to a host of restrictions that threaten the balance of my business goals and work force.
Small businesses are true job creators in this country. With 28 million small businesses across America, our policymakers should work to create an environment that helps us expand. We need to ensure that any policy coming out of Washington will bolster the opportunities in front of us to create jobs and build economic prosperity.
The NLRB’s misguided joint employer ruling does the opposite.
I urge Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, as well as our delegation in the House, to step forward and pass legislation to undo the NLRB’s ruling, or pursue other options through the year-end spending package to prevent the federal government from enforcing this NLRB decision.
We must restore the critical flexibility and freedom businesses have come to appreciate in today’s modern workplace.