Union Organizing in the Healthcare Industry: Where is the NLRB Going?
Let there be no doubt - there has been a change in regime at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board). The Obama-appointed NLRB, charged with the responsibility for interpreting and enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), already has made significant changes in law and procedure to favor unions and, if the Board has its way, there will be many more to come. In particular, the Board appears to be deciding cases and targeting issues in a manner designed to assist unions in mounting successful election campaigns. In cases involving healthcare enterprises, the NLRB is considering whether it will change decades-long precedent to permit the formation of so-called micro-bargaining units, and whether it will change the ground rules for determining who is, an is not, a supervisory employee. In addition, the Board is considering shortening the time between the filing of a certification petition and a union election, and has approved new and more favorable remedies for unions and their members in the event of employer misconduct. Whether considered collectively or individually, these decisions can be expected to have a significant impact on the organizing environment in the healthcare industry.