For many years, organized labor has pushed the NLRB to make sweeping policy changes aimed at increasing union membership rolls. One of the Board’s most controversial actions under the Obama Administration was its decision in Specialty Healthcare, which allows for the formation of “micro-unions.” In this decision, the Board announced a new standard for determining composition of bargaining units, allowing organized labor to gerrymander units and disenfranchise employees that oppose unionization. This new standard makes it easier for unions to divide the workplace into multiple siloed bargaining units. These “micro-unions,” or fractured units, would greatly limit an employer’s ability to cross train and meet customer and client demands via lean, flexible staffing as employees could not perform work assigned to another unit. Employees will also suffer from reduced job opportunities, such as promotions and transfers.
The Specialty Healthcare decision is already negatively impacting employers and employees alike. In 2015, Congress introduced the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S. 801), intended to roll back the Specialty Healthcare decision. While the last Congress did not vote on S. 801, the new Congress, President and NLRB have the opportunity to undo this devastating micro-union policy by enacting something similar to S. 801.
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