Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a ruling that overturned Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile (“Specialty Healthcare”), an Obama-era Board decision that allowed unions to organize “micro-units” of employees.
In Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB found that unions could target a fraction of a workforce for unionization, allowing them to include those who have already showed support for the union. Prior to that 2008 decision, the NLRB would make the determination of whether the employees listed on a petition for a union election is appropriate or if a community of interest exists with other employees who should have the opportunity to vote on union representation as well.
Specialty Healthcare was a policy that was included in the failed “Card Check” legislation that was rejected by Congress. Like several other provisions of that bill, it was instituted through administrative action after the legislation failed. Several micro-units were organized in the wake of Specialty Healthcare.
In its decision last week, the NLRB reinstated that community of interest standard noting that “there are sound policy reasons for returning to the traditional” standard.
As noted in the December 15, 2017 Week in Review, the NLRB is reviewing decisions and rules issued in the past eight years for potential changes.