Unions suffered a resounding defeat in Wisconsin last week. They’re far from down and out, however. Unable to reverse their decline in membership under existing law, they are circumventing Congress and using the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to create an entirely new type of union. A new rule hatched by the Obama-appointed board, authorizes the creation of union cells—organizing a few employees within a company to gain a foothold—which will severely impact businesses.

Until recently, employees organized based on shared job characteristics—for example, all the hourly employees at a firm. The new practice allows micro-unions representing only a small minority of workers in a company. Instead of a grocery store’s employees having a union, the store could face separate unions for cashiers, shelf-stockers, and janitors.

The NLRB permitted this in its Specialty Healthcare decision last year, allowing organized labor to form unions by job title. A decision last month by one of the NLRB’s regional directors demonstrated just how harmful—and absurd—a policy this is. The regional director green-lit a union election at the Bergdorf Goodman department store. But most employees will not get to vote; only shoe salesmen will cast ballots. Not all shoe salesmen, however. Only those selling women’s shoes.

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