The Retail Litigation Center (RLC) issued the following statement in response to the decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in the Macy's case, in which the Board certified a retail industry "micro union" for the first time.
"The decision from the NLRB abandons longstanding legal precedent for retail store bargaining unit determinations in favor of an illogical and circular analysis intended to tilt the balance at the expense of the overall harmony and unity of a retail store's full employee complement," said RLC President Deborah White. "Nothing in this case justified a departure from a half-century's worth of precedent that consistently recognized a presumption in the retail context in favor of the whole-store unit. These labor practices are fundamentally at odds with the needs of the retail industry and the expectations of American consumers."
Micro unions are the result of the NLRB's Specialty Healthcare decision, redefining what is considered a proper bargaining unit. While the decision originally applied to non-acute health care facilities, the NLRB has begun applying the decision to other industries and allowing union organizers to gerrymander a workplace by cherry-picking small groups of employees within larger workforces to form a micro-union.
In January of 2013, the Retail Litigation Center filed an amicus brief with the NLRB in support of the appeal Macy's lodged of the Regional Director's original recognition of the micro union. The brief can be read here.
From the brief:
"Such fragmentation is fundamentally at odds with the central purpose of a retail establishment, which is to provide seamless and effective customer service throughout the store. A retail employee must be ready and able to respond to questions outside her particular area of expertise, and cannot effectively operate within a narrow operational fiefdom. The workforce in a typical retail store is therefore highly integrated. Employees work in close proximity under common management, common policies, and common working conditions."
The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry. The RLC, whose members include some of the country's largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases