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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on December 15 overturned its controversial 2011 decision in Specialty Healthcare, in which the Board threw out decades of precedent regarding what is an “appropriate” collective bargaining unit. The recent decision in PCC Structurals, Inc. reversed the “overwhelming” community-of-interest standard that made it extremely difficult for employers to challenge a proposed bargaining unit and reinstated the traditional standard that had governed previously.
Under Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB allowed almost any bargaining unit suggested by a union, even “micro unions” made up of just a few workers. As detailed in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Workforce Freedom Initiative’s report Trouble with the Truth: ‘Specialty Healthcare’ and the Spread of Micro-Unions, the NLRB used the ruling to authorize micro-unions in a wide variety of industries including retail, manufacturing, rental cars, delivery services, and telecommunications.
The reversal of Specialty Healthcare came on the last day of NLRB Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra’s term. It was one of several cases handed down before his departure that addressed the overreach of the Obama-era NLRB. Suffice it to say, it is a positive development.
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