loader
Page is loading...
Print Logo Logo
Airplane2_Detail

Labor Board Clears Boeing For Takeoff, Ices Funky Bargaining Unit


In the latest turn of a union campaign saga for Boeing, the National Labor Relations Board invalidated a bargaining unit at Boeing’s South Carolina facility this week by applying its PCC Structurals, Inc. decision.

The source of the saga was the Obama Board’s 2011 decision in Specialty Healthcare, which opened the floodgates on “micro-units” – small bargaining units within a larger facility of employees. The decision was a boon for unions, which are more effective organizing small groups of workers than gaining majority support of an entire workforce. That decision served as the basis for the Board affirming funky bargaining units for years until Specialty Healthcare was overturned in 2017 by PCC Structurals, Inc., which reinstated the traditional community of interest test in determining appropriate bargaining units.

Despite that win for employers, Boeing saw the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers organize a micro-unit win at its South Carolina facility in 2018. After the IAM failed twice in organizing Boeing’s 2,700-employee facility, it successfully petitioned for an election with roughly 178 technicians/mechanics at the plant – just 6 percent of the workforce. Boeing refused to bargain, setting up an appeal over the appropriateness of the fractured micro-unit. That appeal issued Monday, handing Boeing the win and clarifying the Board’s community of interest test under PCC Structurals, Inc.

The Board explained that, when determining whether a petitioned-for unit is appropriate, it will consider:

  1. Whether the members of the petitioned-for unit share a community of interest with each other
  2. Whether the employees excluded from the unit have meaningfully distinct interests in the context of collective bargaining that outweigh similarities with unit members
  3. Guidelines the Board has established for appropriate unit configurations in specific industries

In Boeing’s case, the Board determined that the mechanics did not share an internal community of interest with each other and did not have meaningfully distinct interests from the other 94 percent of the workforce excluded from the unit. The Board also concluded that there were no appropriate-unit guidelines specific to the employer’s industry.

Despite this win, the fight over scope of unit in union elections will continue to be difficult. For example, after being remanded by the Board, the regional director overseeing the election in PCC Structurals, Inc. found – under the community of interest test – that the micro-unit in that case was still proper.


RELATED ARTICLES

New Test for a New Year? Labor Board Reconsiders Independent Contractor Status

January 4, 2022 | Labor Relations, National Labor Relations Board, Union Organizing

Union Organizing Alert: Micro-Units May Be Back at the Labor Board

December 16, 2021 | Labor Relations, Union Organizing, National Labor Relations Board

Abruzzo's Tweets Take Aim at Employer-Friendly Labor Law Precedent

December 8, 2021 | Labor Relations, National Labor Relations Board, Unions and Union Membership

What the 'Vaccine or Test' Mandate Means for the Union Workplace

November 16, 2021 | Labor Relations, National Labor Relations Board, Unions and Union Membership

Fast Times at the NLRB: The Labor Board Targets Spicoli

November 12, 2021 | Labor Relations, National Labor Relations Board, Unions and Union Membership

Subscribe

Do you want to receive more valuable insights directly in your inbox? Visit our subscription center and let us know what you're interested in learning more about.

View Subscription Center
RELATED TOPICS
Boeing
NLRB
Union
Trending Connect
We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to use cookies.