Labor: 6th circuit upholds NLRB’s Specialty Healthcare “Micro-Union” Decision

Many employers feel the decision makes it easier for unions to dictate the group of employees they wish to organize.

The 6th Circuit recently upheld the National Labor Review Board’s (NLRB) controversial 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision which many employers feel will promote “micro-unions” in the workplace and make it easier for unions to dictate the group of employees they wish to organize.

Specialty Healthcare involved a union petitioned-for unit consisting of only certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and excluding other non-supervisory service and maintenance employees such as resident activity assistants and cooks. For many years, the Board had applied the standard set forth in Park Manor Care Center on this issue, which considered whether the community of interest of the employees the employer sought to include in the petitioned-for unit was “sufficiently distinct from those of other employees” to justify excluding them from the bargaining unit. In Specialty Healthcare, the Board increased the burden on employers in these situations and held:

Contributing Author

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John Kuenstler

John F. Kuenstler is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Labor and Employment Department. Mr....

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