SHRM Encourages Passage of Representation Fairness Restoration Act
Franchisee tells House subcommittee of the negative impact of micro-bargaining units
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 — The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) voiced its support for the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2347) in testimony today before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Speaking on behalf of the 260,000-member SHRM, Eric Oppenheim told the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions that a 2011 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision permitting labor organizations to form micro-bargaining units resulted in workforce fragmentation that is detrimental to employers and employees alike.
The Representation Fairness Restoration Act would overturn the NLRB v. Specialty Healthcare decision, which allowed the creation of small bargaining units.
“SHRM is very concerned that the micro-union standard established in the NLRB’s Specialty decision is imbalanced and may harm employee morale, deprive employees of professional development opportunities and compel employers to negotiate with and manage unnecessarily small bargaining units of similar employees,” said Oppenheim, chief operating officer at Republic Foods in Rockville, Md.
His testimony outlined SHRM’s concern that the NLRB decision could create a burden to HR professionals and employers in managing multiple small bargaining units of employees who have different wages, hours and working conditions. As a result, SHRM supports the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
Oppenheim, a Burger King franchisee with about 530 employees, told the subcommittee: “Small businesses like ours with thin margins can’t afford the time and expense required to negotiate and manage crew members working under different collective bargaining contracts. The costs associated with complying with the NLRB decision may unfortunately compel employers of all sizes to raise prices, reduce services or eliminate jobs.”
Oppenheim, who is co-leader of SHRM’s Special Expertise Panel on Labor Relations, also noted the impact on employee morale. “The workforce fragmentation caused by the decision may deprive employees of autonomy at work,” he said. As a result, he noted, the decision could be detrimental to the workplace because smaller bargaining units would mean fewer available shifts for employees and could create morale problems when employees work side-by-side with those having different wages, benefits and working conditions.
A live stream of the subcommittee hearing is available at http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=339619. SHRM’s full testimony is available at http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/Issues/EmploymentandLabor/Documents/Statement%20FINAL%20-%20SHRM%20Eric%20Oppenheim%20Ed-Work%20062713.pdf.
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About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 260,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and the United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at shrm.org or follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.