Last week, President Trump named his final appointee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), giving Republicans a majority of the board’s members. Over time, this majority is likely to reverse a number of controversial pro-labor positions adopted by the NLRB during the Obama administration, including some policies that would affect health care providers.
Many of these decisions involve the board’s expansion of protected concerted activity rights under Section 7 of the NLRA. The board has found multiple standard employee handbook policies to violate Section 7, even in the absence of evidence that the policies were intended or used for this purpose. Examples include decisions banning workplace recordings, granting employees expansive social media use rights and limits on confidential information agreements. The NLRB may also decide to revisit decisions favoring unions in the designation of bargaining units and other rulings involving union elections.
These changes will not occur at once. Absent new rule-making on these issues, changes in NLRB enforcement policy will result from cases brought before the board. In addition, Congress may move to reverse other Obama-era NLRB regulations, especially rules that streamline the union election process and give employers fewer pre-election opportunities to challenge proposed bargaining units.