Just 14 service technician employees at Buena Park Honda sought to organize a union. The employer thought that, at a minimum, lube technicians should be included in the bargaining unit, but the NLRB disagreed because, according to the Board, other workers did not share “an overwhelming community of interest.”
When employees of a labor organization petition for an election in a unit of employees who are readily identifiable as a group based on job classifications, departments, functions, work locations, skills, or similar factors, and the Board finds that the employees in the group share a community of interest after considering the traditional criteria, the Board will find the petitioned-for unit to be an appropriate unit, despite a contention that employees in the unit could be placed in a larger unit which would also be appropriate or even more appropriate, unless the party so contending demonstrates that employees in the larger unit share an overwhelming community of interest with those in the petitioned-for unit.
The NLRB cited several examples why the lube technicians did not share an overwhelming community of interest with the service technicians. For example, the service technicians were more skilled, paid substantially higher wages, and required to routinely update and maintain their training and skills, making them “clearly identifiable and functionally distinct.”
Worth noting, Member Miscimarra agreed with the outcome but not the reasoning. To him, the Board’s reliance on Specialty Healthcare was misplaced. Instead, he argued that the Board should have applied its traditional principles, believing “bargaining unit determinations should be circumscribed and guided by industry-specific standards where applicable.”
Matt Austin who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.