Today, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in the long-awaited Browning-Ferris Industries of California case that companies can be held responsible for labor violations committed by their contractors.  The decision can be found here.

According to The New York Times, the ruling means that “a company that hires a contractor to staff its facilities may be considered a so-called joint employer of the workers at that facility, even if it does not actively supervise them.”  As a result, “a union representing those workers would now be legally entitled to bargain with the upstream company, not just the contractor, under federal labor law.”  The decision opens the door to collective bargaining between workers and franchisors, such as McDonald’s, and may radically change how companies use contracted labor.