A Step in the Right Direction

February 6, 2017
HR Law Talk blog

On Thursday, January 26, President Trump named Republican Phillip Miscimarra as acting Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (the Board). Miscimarra was the sole remaining Republican on the Board, along with two Democrats – all of whom had been appointed by President Obama. Miscimarra takes over the chairmanship from Mark Gaston Pearce. Miscimarra has a background as a member of several management-oriented labor and employment law and general practice firms. The Board currently has two vacancies which President Trump will be filling in the coming months, along with the position of general counsel. The term of the current general counsel expires later this year.

Under the Democrat majority, over recent years the Board has reversed an impressive number of long-standing precedents and decided a number of controversial cases. Among those was the Specialty Healthcare case in which the Board announced that it would find “appropriate” so-called “micro-units” consisting of only portions of an employer’s work force at a given location. The effect of that decision was to allow unions to carve out a small segment of a work force and organize that group as a foothold in the employer’s overall work force. That decision overturned decades of precedent under which the Board had generally found appropriate much broader units such as a “production and maintenance” unit in a manufacturing facility.

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Bass, Berry & Sims’ HR Law Talk blog features news, commentary and insights on the complicated and constantly changing labor & employment and employee benefits laws affecting employers.