Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to support an amendment to be offered by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) designed to stop efforts of the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) to fragment workplaces through the application of the micro-union decision from 2011.
The amendment is expected to be offered Thursday, during the full-committee mark-up of the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Senator Graham offered a similar amendment last year during mark-up of the FY 2014 bill.
"RILA applauds the continued efforts of Senator Graham and encourages the Committee to support this important amendment," said Bill Hughes, executive vice president of government affairs. "The Graham amendment slows the application of the micro-union decision, allowing time for due process to consider the issue and preventing the proliferation of the unnecessary conflict and complexity micro-unions inject into the retail workforce. This amendment will benefit employees and customers alike."
Micro-unions are a result of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, in which the NLRB redefined what could be considered a proper bargaining unit. Pushed by the NLRB in spite of a half-century's worth of precedent, the novel interpretation allows union organizers to gerrymander a workplace, cherry-picking groups of employees within a larger workforce to form micro-unions.
Since 2011, the NLRB has expanded the application of the rule, which initially only applied to non-acute health care facilities, to other industries, including retail, certifying units consisting of the second and fifth floor women's shoe department at a Bergdorf Goodman store, and the cosmetics and fragrance department at a Macy's department store.
"Micro-unions detract from the variety and flexibility that makes retail positions attractive to employees and inhibits the cross-training and nimbleness that forms the foundation of the customer service experience," added Hughes. "Furthermore, at a time when the economy is starting to turn the corner, introducing the uncertainty and challenges associated with micro-unions to more industries will stunt growth and jeopardize more jobs."
RILA plans to join with other organizations in a letter to the full committee urging its support of Senator Graham's amendment and encouraging thoughtful consideration of the challenges posed by the NLRB's actions on this matter.
The complete letter, sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member today, can be read here.
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.