Labor Board Tips Scale Toward Unions Again with ‘Mini Union’ Decision

By Senator Johnny Isakson

Despite three years of failed economic and employment policies, the Obama Administration and its appointees have chosen to continue their relentless assault on private-sector employers. Rather than empowering businesses to help bring us out of this economic downturn, the White House remains committed to tilting the scales in favor of its allies, the labor unions. Nowhere is this more evident than the recent actions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Earlier this year, with the support of organized labor, we saw the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel attack the Boeing Corporation’s plan to create over 1,000 new jobs in a right-to-work state. Now, the labor movement is using its partners at the NLRB to once again make it easier increase union membership through the creation of “mini unions.”

For the past 77 years, the NLRB has recognized a bargaining unit as all the employees of the employer in a facility, a department, or a craft. A bargaining unit had to be of a sufficient size to warrant separate group identification for the purposes of collective bargaining. This standard was developed through years of careful consideration and Congressional guidance.

On August 26, 2011, the NLRB decided to recklessly abandon this longstanding precedent. In its Specialty Healthcare decision, the NLRB decided that unions can now target a small group of employees doing the same job in the same location for organization purposes. For example, in one grocery store, the cashiers could form one “mini union,” the baggers could form another, the produce stockers could form yet another, and so on. This could potentially create several different unions within the same store location, making it easier for unions to gain access to employees and nearly impossible for employers to manage such fragmentation of the workforce.

In an effort to restore the principles of a democratic workplace, I am proud to join 28 of my Republican colleagues in introducing S. 1843, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act. This bill will reinstate the traditional standard for determining which employees will constitute appropriate bargaining units. The NLRB’s Specialty Healthcare decision is just another example of how President Obama’s appointees at this “independent” agency are clearly playing favorites at the expense of the American worker and our economy. We need to send a message to the Administration that the NLRB’s decisions are only adding to the pressure and uncertainty facing businesses today. Employers all over Georgia of every size and industry have told me that enough is enough. This runaway agency must be reined in, and I will do all I can to help restore fairness to the workplace.

Sen. Johnny Isakson is a Republican from Georgia

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