Unions, federal labor board winners in court ruling on 'micro' bargaining units

A court ruling this week allowing unions to continue to form “micro” unions within a company is considered a win for organized labor and the Obama administration.

The ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upholds a 2011 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that states unions can choose to organize workers into smaller bargaining units, according The Wall Street Journal.

In that particular case -- known as Specialty Healthcare – the labor board sided with a union that wanted to organize a group of nursing assistants, despite the employer arguing that other nonprofessional employees should be included.

The board stated the onus is on employers who think workers have been improperly excluded from the micro bargaining unit to prove those workers share an “overwhelming community of interest” with the included workers.

Several labor experts called the ruling a big win for the NLRB and for unions and suggested the trend could continue.

The board now has three Democratic members and two Republicans, after a long battle in Washington that ended last month over Senate Republicans holding up administration appointees to the board.

The labor experts argue the board will be making similar rulings, which could give unions an unfair advantage by allowing them to create “micro units” of workers that would be easier to organize.

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