Forward by Allan Jamail ~ 52 year AFL-CIO member CLICK THIS LINK FOR THE COURTS OFFICIAL RULING ( HERE ) The Washington Wire / Saturday, August 24, 2013 As of 1:24 PM CDT

Unions Can Organize ‘Micro Units,’ Court Affirms...
By Kris Maher and Melanie Trottman Organized labor scored a win this week, as an appeals court reaffirmed that unions can choose to organize smaller units of workers at an employer. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a 2011 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. In that case, known as Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB sided with a union that wanted to try to organize a group of nursing assistants, despite the employer’s argument that other nonprofessional employees should be included. The board said that if an employer thinks workers have been improperly excluded from a union-proposed bargaining unit, the onus is on the employer to show that those workers share an “overwhelming community of interest” with the included workers. The Sixth Circuit concluded the NLRB has “wide discretion” in determining which workers should be included in a bargaining unit. The court said it must uphold the board’s decision “unless the employer establishes that it is arbitrary, unreasonable or an abuse of discretion.”

Several labor experts called the ruling a big win for the NLRB and for unions. Now that the board has three Democratic members and two Republicans, many employers expect it to issue similar rulings, which they argue could give unions an unfair advantage by allowing them to create “micro units” of workers it would be easier to organize. “The board is very well-positioned to give unions an enormous organizing advantage by determining these small units,” said Michael Lotito, a management-side attorney in San Francisco. In the Specialty Healthcare case, the Court found that the NLRB acted properly. By organizing a small group of workers, a union can gain a foothold among a company’s workforce, as well as access to company information during contract negotiations that can give it leverage and make subsequent organizing campaigns easier, Mr. Lotito said. “It lets the union get their nose under the tent.” As a Senate bipartisan deal on filibusters cleared the way for the labor board’s slate of nominees to be confirmed in recent weeks, business groups voiced their concerns about the potential impact a new board could have on the 2011 Specialty Healthcare ruling. “The new board will take Specialty Healthcare and build on that and make further bad decisions,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor and immigration for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The AFL-CIO said employers have exaggerated the impact of the NLRB’s ruling and that it doesn’t represent an expansion of the NLRB’s authority. “Opponents of the NLRB tried to score cheap political points by misrepresenting to the public what this case is about,” said Jeff Hauser, a spokesman for the labor federation. “As the court unanimously found, the decision falls easily within the NLRB’s traditional authority.” The retail industry is particularly concerned. Kelly Kolb, vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association trade group, worries that the new board will continue to issue rulings similar to Specialty Healthcare –allowing unions to separately organize multiple small groups of employees within the same workplace. Doing so can create “a lot of division and fragment a lot of our workers,” she said.

That could hurt customer service – which she called the “cornerstone” of the retail industry — by restricting workers in one micro-union from working in the department of another, said Ms. Kolb. “Our business is very strong on crosstraining employees” to work in different areas of a store, she said, so micro-unions could lead to “a lot of conflict and complex situations that we haven’t had to deal with in our current structure.”

FORWARDED BY: Allan R. Jamail Senatorial District 6 (SDEC) Texas State Democratic Executive Committeeman 2013 - RULES, COMMUNICATIONS & RESOLUTIONS 52 year proud member of the AFL-CIO. To unsubscribe to receiving email please click on the following link (here) and type the word unsubscribe in the subject title.

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