Macy’s Challenge to a Union’s Successful Micro-Unit Election Reaches the Court of Appeals

In July, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a bargaining unit of just the fragrance and cosmetic employees at a Macy’s store was lawful. This ruling departed from decades-long precedent favoring a wall-to-wall bargaining unit at retail stores. In an odd procedural mandate, Macy’s was precluded from directly appealing the Board’s decision. Instead, Macy’s had to refuse to bargain with the newly elected union. As expected, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge over Macy’s refusal to bargain. The Regional Director found against Macy’s, as did the NLRB on appeal. Now, Macy’s gets to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals. Circuitous, I know. No one ever said the Board embodied efficiency. This case will be closely watched. The outcome will either cement in stone the legal permissibility or prohibition of micro-units.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at