May 30, 2017
CONTACT: Ryan Williams


Stop Trying To Make Micro-Unions A Thing, Big Labor


Heather Greenaway
May 29, 2017
Washington Examiner

It’s no secret that Big Labor is constantly looking for ways to boost their membership and wield their influence, and over the last eight years, the Obama administration gave them various tools to do so. President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, in particular, went out of its way to make it easier for labor to organize workers, issuing several decisions that upended decades of bipartisan labor law and fundamentally altered the state of the workplace.

In fact, a report released late last year by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace determined that the Obama NLRB was by far the most partisan board in history, and that taken cumulatively, it upended 4,559 years of legal precedent.

The authors note that, “In each case where the Obama Board changed the law, the resulting new law became more favorable to labor interests than it did under previous Board rulings – frequently at the expense of promoting stable bargaining and economic growth and without regard for balancing the interests of business, labor and employees under the [National Labor Relations] Act.”

Fortunately, there are several efforts currently underway to roll back many of the misguided decisions of the last few years and rein in Big Labor’s control of the Board – including the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S.1217), recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and companion legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 2629) by Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.

These bills would overturn the Board’s ruling in Specialty Healthcare, an egregious decision handed down in 2011 that allowed for the formation of so-called micro-unions.

Specialty Healthcare created an entirely new standard for determining the make-up of bargaining units for a union certification election and the implications were sweeping. The authorization of micro-unions essentially allows labor bosses to gerrymander a workplace, encouraging organizers to group employees together in ad hoc bargaining units in order to increase the chance of a successful election outcome. By switching to a vague “community of interest” standard to determine the appropriateness of bargaining units, the decision in Specialty Healthcare amounted to “a fundamental rewrite of the NLRB’s traditional bargaining unit standard,” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in their recent report on the harm of micro-unions in the workplace.

This decision opened the door to the spread of micro-unions across industries.

For example, we’ve seen labor bosses employ these tactics in department stores like Macy’s after unsuccessful “wall-to-wall” unionization attempts. In 2011, the United Food & Commercial Workers petitioned to represent all of Macy’s sales associates at a department store in Massachusetts, but in the election, employees voted against representation. Then, the following year, post-Specialty Healthcare, UFCW went back and filed a second representation petition to represent only the 41 cosmetic and fragrance sales reps of the store – and the election was a success, despite the fact that for decades prior, NLRB’s precedent for the retail industry required a storewide bargaining unit.

Micro-unions are disruptive to workplaces and make it harder for employers to run their businesses, while allowing labor organizers to place immense pressure on workers. Union organizers used to be required to win elections with a majority of the workforce voting in favor of forming a collective bargaining unit. After Specialty Healthcare, however, we’ve allowed them to hand-pick and sort sub-groups of employees more favorable to representation – increasing their success rates and adding members to their rolls. This doesn’t benefit workers, and it certainly doesn’t benefit our nation’s job creators.

While micro-unions make sense as a tool for Big Labor to increase membership and expand influence, that is simply not the case for the workers and business-owners. Congress must focus on securing wins for the workers and overturning bad labor policy is the perfect place to start.

 Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit:

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.



Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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