As posted on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives blog, many in the labor community are familiar with the Machinists Union’s (“Union”) long running effort to unionize Boeing’s South Carolina-based 787 Dreamliner manufacturing facility. After failing in two previous attempts to organize the entire facility, the Union recently won a bid to organize a “micro-unit” limited to a group of flight line technicians and inspectors. The Regional Director’s decision to approve the Union’s proposed bargaining unit took most labor practitioners by surprise, given the NLRB’s recent decision in PCC Structurals overturning the controversial Specialty Healthcare standard that facilitated the formation of micro-units. In PCC Structurals, the NLRB rejected the Specialty Healthcare test and reaffirmed that in reviewing representation petitions, the NLRB cannot limit its analysis to the interests of employees in the proposed bargaining group and instead must make a “meaningful” evaluation of the interests of those excluded from the group.

Under this standard, the micro-unit proposed by the Union should have been rejected. Inexplicably, the Regional Director reviewing the petition approved the unit, paying little heed to the guidance announced in PCC Structurals. Boeing has petitioned the full NLRB to review and overturn the Regional Director’s decision.

Hunton Andrews Kurth filed an amicus brief supporting Boeing’s appeal on behalf of a group including the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, Independent Electrical Contractors, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Federation of Independent Business, National Retail Federation, Restaurant Law Center and Retail Industry Leaders Association. In the brief, the amici urged the NLRB to accept Boeing’s petition for review in order to provide guidance to the regulated community and the NLRB Regions charged with processing representation petitions on how to properly apply the standard announced in PCC Structurals.