NLRB Logo; National Labor Relations BoardUnions and other labor advocates are brainstorming strategies after a National Labor Relations Board ruling that could strengthen the hand of those at the lowest level of such industries as warehousing, construction, fast food and home health care.

The NLRB said Thursday that a Silicon Valley recycling center was a “joint employer,” as was the staffing agency that provided the center’s workers. The ruling determined that companies using workers hired by another business, such as temp agencies, contractors or fast-food franchisees, are still responsible for labor violations and could be required to bargain with unions representing those employees.

That finding, which is sure to be tested in the courts, gives a boost to labor groups, which have scored victories in recent years with highly choreographed nationwide protests for better pay in traditionally minimum-wage industries such as retail and fast food, analysts say. It could also help increase union membership, which has been on the decline.

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