The NLRB’s 2011 Specialty Healthcare “micro-union” decision eviscerated decades of precedent and now allows union organizers to gerrymander workplaces, selecting small segments of employees to form microunions instead of the standard “wall to wall” definition used for decades.
The NLRB decision harms employee advancement opportunities, destroys staffing flexibility and degrades the consumer experience. The misguided micro-union decision will inject harmful conflict and division into the retail workplace.
Joint Employer Standard:
The NLRB’s August 2015 decision in
Browning-Ferris vastly expanded the standard for when a business will be considered a “joint employer” with a contractor for purposes of union matters. It now includes situations when the business has “indirect” or “potential” control over conditions and terms of employment of the contractor’s employees, for example a third party that provides logistics support for a retailer. The new standard increases the likelihood that companies will be considered joint employers for labor law purposes, potentially subject to unfair labor practice allegations or collective bargaining efforts by a contractor’s employees.
U.S. Department of Labor
Retail employees report that they highly value scheduling flexibility and the ability to move up in their retail careers. In July 2015, the Department of Labor released a proposal that would dramatically change the rules governing overtime eligibility and negatively impact the flexibility and upward mobility that employees value. The proposal doubles the current salary level threshold to $50,440, while also automatically indexing the overtime threshold to incomes, rather than inflation, moving forward. While a change to the primary duties test was not included in the original proposal, the Department is likely to adjust it when the final rule is announced this summer.
RILA will work with its members and through the Partnership to Protect Workforce Opportunity to illuminate the substantial risks posed by these changes to the overtime regulations.
When threatened with union organizing, employers often need to seek outside counsel to assist them in communicating with employees. The persuader rule would require employers to report compensation paid to outside advisors for their involvement and participation in opposing union organizing activity. The rule would ultimately discourage employers from hiring outside counsel or other consultants on labor related issues. Expected to be finalized in early 2016, RILA will work with lawmakers to reverse the rule or reduce its harmful effects.