U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today lambasted the decision by a federal labor board to approve the formation of a mini union of employees within the shoe department at the Bergdorf Goodman store in New York, and he called on the Senate to pass his legislation to reverse the board's new policy of allowing as few as two or three employees to form micro bargaining units.
Isakson, who is the senior Republican on the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, voiced dismay that the National Labor Relations Board's Regional Director in New York City approved a micro union application involving employees at retailer Bergdorf Goodman. Specifically, the Labor Board's decision allows "all full-time and regular part-time women's shoes associates in the 2nd Floor Designer Shoes Department and in the 5th Floor Contemporary Shoes Department" to form a micro union within the store.
The National Labor Relations Board set a new precedent in August 2011 by allowing unions to target small numbers of employees within a company for the purpose of organizing them into micro bargaining units, or mini unions. This could potentially create several different unions within the same store location, making it easier for unions to gain access to employees and nearly impossible for employers to manage such fragmentation of their workforce.
"The labor board seems to have run amok as far as I'm concerned. Micro unions in any place of business cause discord and are a way to upset an organization that otherwise is not upset. There is not a problem as far as unions being able to organize, but there is a huge problem in that the labor board continues to try to overturn decades' worth of labor laws that have served us well in order to tip the scales in favor of labor unions," said Isakson. "The recent decision at Bergdorf Goodman is an example of the labor board's doing through regulation what we ought to be doing through legislation on the floor of the Senate."
In November 2011, Isakson introduced legislation that would reverse the National Labor Relation Board's precedent on micro unions. S.1843, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, has garnered the support of 29 co-sponsors in the Senate. The legislation would reinstate the traditional standard for determining which groups of employees should constitute an appropriate bargaining unit, a standard that had been developed through decades of careful consideration and Congressional guidance.