Lee Cosponsors Legislation to Reverse Rule on 'Mini-Unions'

Bill Has Support of 28 Original Cosponsors in the Senate

November 10, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today introduced legislation that would reverse the National Labor Relation Board’s recent decision allowing as few as two or three employees to form micro bargaining units, or “mini-unions,” to engage in collective bargaining with employers. Isakson’s legislation, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, has 28 cosponsors.
Isakson’s legislation comes in response to the Aug. 26, 2011, decision by the federal labor board in the “Specialty Healthcare” case, which set a new precedent allowing unions to target small numbers of employees within a company for the purpose of organizing them into micro bargaining units. For example, in one grocery store, the cashiers could form one “mini union,” the baggers could form another, the produce stockers could form yet another, and so on. 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 the workforce.
Isakson’s legislation would reinstate the traditional standard for determining which employees will constitute an appropriate bargaining unit, a standard that has been developed through years of careful consideration and Congressional guidance.
“The administration’s decision to allow micro bargaining units recklessly disregards the long-standing principles of collective bargaining. This action is yet another example of how President Obama’s appointees at this agency are tipping the scales in favor of unions,” said Isakson. “This decision is adding to the pressure and uncertainty facing employers today and threatening the creation of private-sector jobs at a time when unemployment is over 9 percent.”
In March 2011, while the National Labor Relations Board was in the process of making its final decision on the “Specialty Healthcare” case, Isakson joined Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in sending a letter warning the agency that its legal reasoning could be used to apply new rules for unionization for all U.S. industries and businesses under its jurisdiction. The senators further expressed concern about the Board’s practice of trying to make labor policy through adjudication instead of the established rulemaking process.
The legislation has garnered the support of 28 original cosponsors in the Senate, including Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), John Thune (R-S.D.), and David Vitter (R-La.).