NLRB ruling limits gig workers' right to unionize.

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In a big win for employers, the National Labor Relations Board has adopted a broad definition to distinguish independent contractors from employees, making it difficult for contractors to form or join a union. It means employers that use temps, freelancers and other kinds of contractors are less likely to face a union organizing effort.

The NLRB's decision in SuperShuttle DFW, Inc. emphasized that contractors retain great flexibility to control their work, set their own schedules and use their own equipment. That means, the NLRB ruled, they are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The decision makes it much harder for gig economy workers to unionize.

SuperShuttle DFW, Inc. involved driver franchisees of SuperShuttle at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The case arose after a union tried to organize the drivers and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement on their behalf. The drivers' freedom to take an entrepreneurial approach to their work shaped the NLRB ruling.

The board found that the franchisees' leasing or ownership of their work vans, their...

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