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John Ring testifies during his confirmation hearing to be a member of the NLRB. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi / ALM)

The Republican majority on the National Labor Relations Board on Friday adopted a new standard for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, embracing a business-friendly approach that could make it easier for companies to avoid some union disputes.

The ruling in the case SuperShuttle DFW Inc. could present broader implications for the gig economy and other industries that rely on contractors and delivery drivers. Much of the gig economy is built on the backs of contractors, who can enjoy greater flexibility than traditional employees. But independent contractors, unlike employees, cannot join a union, and they don’t share many of the workplace benefits that employees do.

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