Aug 31, 2011 - 9:55am

“Micro union” concept alive and well in NLRB ruling


Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division
Yesterday’s much-watched National Labor Relations Board Specialty Healthcare case decision may impact employers farther and wider than many first realized. On first blush, the NLRB stated in its press release that:
“The Board did not create new criteria for determining appropriate bargaining units outside of health care facilities.”
However, according to Member Brian Hayes’s dissent, the ramifications run much deeper:
“Make no mistake. Today’s decision fundamentally changes the standard for determining whether a petitioned-for unit is appropriate in any industry under the Board’s jurisdiction.”
In other words, the decision makes it easier for unions to shrink the size of bargaining units in workplaces where they do not necessarily enjoy workers’ majority support. Much like the “micro union” concept, this will allow organizers to gerrymander smaller bargaining units to organize.
Specialty Healthcare makes it extremely difficult for employers to refute any union-proposed bargaining unit. Since organizers prefer smaller bargaining units that are easier to organize, employers will face an uphill climb to successfully contest them before the NLRB.
In short, America’s job creators will face more numerous and widespread union organizing efforts because the NLRB has re-written the rules of the game. This latest radical action signals the NLRB has turned a blind eye to the economic consequences of its actions and simply desires to expand union ranks at all costs.
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About the Author

Glenn Spencer Headshot
Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division

Glenn Spencer is senior vice president of the Employment Policy division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.