News Releases

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Isakson Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Fair Collective Bargaining

Bill would prevent 'micro unions' as small as two or three workers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today continued his fight against a federal labor board that is allowing unions to target small numbers of employees within a company in hopes of organizing them into small bargaining units, or “micro unions,” that fragment the workplace and make it nearly impossible for employers to manage.

Isakson re-introduced the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, which would prohibit unions from forming individual bargaining units within the same company consisting of as few as two or three workers, called “micro unions.” The legislation seeks to reinstate the 77-year-old standard for determining which groups of employees should constitute an appropriate bargaining unit.

Isakson first introduced this legislation in 2011, in the wake of the National Labor Relations Board setting a new precedent with its ruling on a case in Alabama in which unions were allowed to target and organize just the certified nursing assistants into a micro union within a nursing home. The case set a precedent that can result in several micro unions being formed inside one store. For example, in one grocery store, the cashiers could form one “micro union,” the baggers could form another, the produce stockers could form yet another, and so on. Since the labor board’s 2011 decision, micro unions have begun to form in multiple retail stores and manufacturing sites across the country, making it nearly impossible for employers to manage such fragmentation of the workforce.

“When the National Labor Relations Board decided to allow micro unions, they tipped the scales dramatically in favor of unions and neglected 77 years’ worth of precedent in collective bargaining,” said Isakson, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees labor issues. “The Representation Fairness Restoration Act reinstates the traditional standard for determining appropriate bargaining units. By allowing employers and managers to focus on consistency and fairness in a workplace instead of trying to negotiate separately with each faction of their workforce, they are better able to meet the needs of both customers and workers alike. I have introduced this legislation every year since this rule was made and will continue to fight this administration’s unfair and partisan decision-making.”

Isakson’s legislation has garnered the support of 13 original co-sponsors in the Senate, including Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John Boozman, R-Ark., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., David Perdue, R-Ga., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Tim Scott, R-S.C., and John Thune, R-S.D.