Down to Three Members, NLRB Still Overturns Three Bush-Era Rulings

With Wilma Liebman already departed, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is down to three members with another departure looming at the end of the year. Nevertheless, the board has been busy overturning Bush-era decisions just days after publishing a final rule mandating the display of an NLRA Employee Rights Poster in virtually every workplace.

In two of the decisions it issued on Tuesday (Aug. 30, 2011), the NLRB resurrected what is called the "reasonable period" waiting standard for two scenarios.

The Lamons Gasket decision abolished a George W. Bush board decision that allowed for immediate challenges to newly certified bargaining units by 30 percent of the company's employees or by a rival union. The UGL-UNICCO Service Company decision likewise abolished a Bush-era rule that said a new owner of a company could immediately challenge its union representation. In both cases, the standard now is that a "reasonable period" of time has to elapse before a challenge can be undertaken.

The third decision actually dates back to a Bush Sr. (George H.W. Bush) board ruling, which created a "special test for bargaining unit determinations in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other none-acute health care facilities." In other words, everyone working for those types of facilities had to agree upon one union for all. In its Specialty Healthcare case on Tuesday, the Obama-appointed board ruled the opposite—that the employees could unionize by separate units.

When the term of Craig Becker expires on Dec. 31, the NLRB will be down to two members, and the Supreme Court has declared that no rulings can be made by a two-member board. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any Obama appointee to the board, which could mean a return to stasis.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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