In the first three blogs in this four part series, we discussed how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) traditionally analyzed petitions for bargaining units. We then described how the NLRB deviated from the “wall-to-wall” presumption of collective bargaining in its Specialty Healthcare decision and possibly through its granting of an appeal in Bergdorf Goodman.
What is an employer to do?
Employers know that they cannot avoid bargaining obligations by altering their business practices. However, if making their operational decisions, retail storeowners may wish to harness the community of interest factors as well as account for the supervision, geographic location and management factors that will be considered by the Board.
The employer should use the following factors to enhance their chances that larger, wall-to-wall units are deemed appropriate:
Geographic cohesiveness and proximity
Integration of business operations
Centralized control of supervision, labor relations and overall management
Common collective bargaining history
Similarity in employee skills, duties and working conditions (wherever possible)
While the Board evaluates the retail store's supervision, geographic location and integrated operations to determine the bargaining unit's appropriateness can be examined.
Employers should be proactive to shape their companies to advance their interests ? creating a company where there is centralized oversight and standardized employment terms and conditions can significantly increase the chances of a larger bargaining unit.