Union organizing of small groups of workers could be free of the shackles put on it by the Trump-era NLRB.
“Major labor unions and a group of Democrats in Congress are pushing the National Labor Relations Board to restore Obama-era precedent that made it easier for unions to organize small groups of a company’s employees, over the objections of business groups.
More than a dozen briefs were filed with the NLRB on Friday by the lawmakers and unions including the AFL-CIO, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups who called for a business-friendly standard adopted during the Trump administration to remain in place.
The NLRB had called for amicus briefs on the standard last month, in a pending case involving a union’s bid to carve out a bargaining unit of ironworkers at a Michigan steel plant that excludes painters, drivers and other employees.
In a 2011 ruling, the board had said that bargaining units are appropriate as long as the workers included in them share key working conditions. But, in 2017 the NLRB reversed that decision and said that workers in a proposed unit must also not share a “community of interest” with those who are excluded.
That ruling shifted the burden to unions to prove that proposed units are appropriate, and made it more difficult to form smaller units. Targeting smaller groups of workers can be a key organizing strategy when unions do not have the support of a company’s entire workforce.
The AFL-CIO in its brief on Friday said that under the more recent ruling, many workplaces will only have a single unit that is appropriate under federal labor law. That goes against decades of board and U.S. Supreme Court precedent holding that any appropriate bargaining unit should be approved, the union said.”
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