The Supreme Court Declines to Enter the Fray with the NLRB over Micro Bargaining Units

As the last weeks of June ticked down, the typical flurry of activity that accompanies the end of the Supreme Court’s term overshadowed the Court’s denial of certiorari in Macy’s, Inc. v. NLRB (Case No. 16-1016) on June 19, 2017, thus leaving intact the Fifth Circuit decision[1] affirming the Obama Board’s decision[2] finding a small unit of cosmetics and fragrance employees employed at a local Macy’s department store in Saugus, Massachusetts to be appropriate. As discussed more fully below, the Board in Macy’s relied on it’s prior decision in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. 83 (2011) enfd. sub. nom., Kindred Nursing Center East LLC v. NLRB, 727 F.3d 552 (6th Cir. 2013). In Specialty Healthcare, the Board sets forth the principles that apply in cases where one party, usually the employer, contends that the smallest appropriate bargaining unit must include additional employees beyond those sought in the petitioned-for unit. In Specialty Healthcare, the Board stated that “…when employees or a labor organization petition for an election in a unit of employees who are readily identifiable as a group (based on job classification, departments, functions, work locations, skills or similar factors) and the Board finds that the employees in the group share a community of interest after considering traditional criteria, the Board will find the petitioned-for unit to be an appropriate unit, despite a contention that the employees in the unit could be placed in a bargaining unit, …unless the party so contending demonstrates that employee in the larger unit share an overwhelming community of interest with those in the petitioned-for unit. 357 NLRB at 945-946 [footnotes omitted].”[3]

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