P&D Owner-Operators Ruled Employees At RPS

September 23, 1998

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Sept. 24 – The National Labor Relations Board ruled that 22 pickup and delivery drivers for RPS Inc. are employees, not owner-operators, and ordered union elections at the RPS terminals in Ontario and Pomona, CA.
In late August, the board found that the RPS drivers “do not operate independent businesses, but perform functions that are an essential part of one company’s normal operations.”
Among the factors cited in the RPS case were the training provided by the company, doing business in the company’s name “with assistance and guidance from it.” and no significant opportunity for gain or loss.
However, in a similar case the same day, the board ruled that owner-operators delivering for Dial-A-Mattress in Long Island, NY, are independent contractors. “Dial has structured its relationship with the owner-operators to allow them (with very little external controls) to make an entrepreneurial profit,” the board said. The Dial-A-Mattress owner-operators arrange their own training and hire their own employees. There is no minimum compensation, meaning the owner-operators are taking an entrepreneurial risk. The board also noted that the Dial-A-Mattress owner-operators have formed their own trucking companies, many having state business certificates, and several of them are incorporated.

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