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Create Your Optimal Bargaining Unit - Today

  • October 1, 2000

When a union files an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent a unit of employees, the petition describes the employees that it wants to include or exclude from the bargaining unit. The employer then has the opportunity to dispute the unit requested by the union. If the employer and the union do not reach an agreement on the composition of the unit, the National Labor Relations Board will decide what the "appropriate" unit is, based on evidence presented by the employer and the union at a hearing.

The employer's key to success in these hearings is to lay the groundwork for the appropriate bargaining unit before the union sets foot in the door. For example, if an employer wants to ensure that a particular employee is excluded from a unit because he is a supervisor, it must invest that employee with real supervisory authority. Or, if an employer would like to ensure that a group of employees are not disenfranchised with respect to such a critical decision, it should make sure they share a "community of interest" with other employees the union may seek to include in the unit. (In general, the Labor Board groups employees based on the community of interest they share). The community of interest analysis often includes a comparison of employees' compensation, benefits, job content and working conditions. The Labor Board may also review interrelationship of employee duties, interchange of employees, integration of operations and whether common supervision exists.

Trying to construct your best appropriate unit after a Labor Board petition is filed is too little, too late. So start planning today.

©2000 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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