In a 3 to 2 decision, the National Labor Relations Board has overruled the controversial Specialty Healthcare decision of 2011. The Board has reinstated the traditional “community of interest” standard for determining whether a bargaining unit sought by a union is appropriate.
Under Specialty Healthcare, a union could petition for a subset of employees in a larger department. If that subset of employees shared a community of interest among themselves – and the Employer took the position that the unit was inappropriate and should include others – Specialty Healthcare imposed an overwhelming community of interest standard. This made it much easier for unions to organize small groups and get their “foot in the door” and was a radical departure from NLRB jurisprudence.
In the new decision, the overwhelming community of interest standard has been abandoned.