Retailers condemn micro-union at Macy's

Retailers are fired up over a National Labor Relations Board decision that will allow a small group of Macy's employees to organize without the consent of the rest of their colleagues. 

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) say the NLRB's decision to recognize Macy's cosmetics and fragrances workers at a store in Saugus, Mass., will pave the way for micro-unions at thousands of retail stores around the country. 

The RILA said this decision is unfair to employers, because it allows union leaders to "gerrymander a workplace" by "cherry-picking" only the employees who are most likely to organize and ignore the others.

“The decision to validate these units, unnecessarily fragmenting retail workplaces, is just the latest example of the board pushing bad policy at the behest of Big Labor," said Kelly Kolb, vice president of government affairs at RILA. "The NLRB must re-evaluate its activist agenda and pursue policies that strike a fair balance between workers’ rights and economic growth," 

The NLRB has found itself in crossfires of business groups once again, after it ruled 3-1 in favor of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union on Tuesday. 

The decision follows the Speciality Healthcare case, in which the NLRB ruled that a group of nurse assistants could form their own union without including other employees at the company.

But the Macy's case broadens the scope of the original Speciality Healthcare decision to now include the retail industry.

David French, senior vice president of government relations at the NRF, called it a "nonsensical and impractical" decision.

"Recognizing individual groups of employees that work in the same store as unique bargaining units is nonsensical and impractical," French said.

"This decision will impact any large employer that maintains a diverse workforce," he added.