The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement on the decision of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify, for the first time, micro unions within the retail industry.
"Micro unions are incompatible with the operational structure of the retail industry and the needs of American consumers," said Kelly Kolb, vice president of government affairs. "The conflict and complexity brought to workplaces by micro unions jeopardizes the flexibility and opportunity that make retail jobs attractive to millions of Americans, while eroding the high level of customer service consumers have come to expect from retailers."
"The decision to validate these units, unnecessarily fragmenting retail workplaces, is just the latest example of the board pushing bad policy at the behest of Big Labor. The NLRB must re-evaluate its activist agenda and pursue policies that strike a fair balance between workers' rights and economic growth," said Kolb.
The concept of micro unions emerged from the NLRB's August 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision. The decision redefined what the NLRB considered a proper bargaining unit, abandoning the past, business-wide standard in favor of one that allows union organizers to gerrymander a workplace by cherry-picking small groups of employees within a larger workforce to form a bargaining unit.
In 2013, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S. 1166) which is legislation designed to overturn the NLRB decision that created micro unions and address efforts of the NLRB to more widely apply the decision.
In addition, Representative Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to H.R. 4320, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, introduced by House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) to strike down the NLRB decision in Specialty Healthcare, which created micro unions. The amendment was included in the bill reported out of the Committee.
"Now, more than ever, it is imperative that Congress act and pass pending legislation to prevent the further spread of the toxic labor practices associated with micro unions and reverse the Specialty Healthcare decision," Kolb concluded.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.