In a one-sentence order, the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. may have set the stage for Volkswagen to overturn a UAW election win. After the new Republican majority on the NLRB reversed the Obama Board’s micro-unit decision, the NLRB then moved to have the Volkswagen case sent back to it for further review. On December 26, the Court of Appeals granted the NLRB’s motion and sent the case back to the NLRB.
In December 2015, the UAW won an election for a micro-unit of VW’s maintenance workers. VW refused to bargain with the UAW because it argued that the small unit was not an appropriate unit for bargaining. The Obama-appointed NLRB ruled in favor of the UAW and ordered VW to recognize the UAW as the bargaining agent of the small unit and bargain with it, but VW then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The basis for the Obama Board’s decision in favor of the UAW was its Specialty Healthcare decision recognizing micro-units or small groups within a workforce. Now that the NLRB has overturned Specialty Healthcare in PCC Structurals, the whole underpinning of the UAW’s victory can be questioned. Once the NLRB is back to its full complement of five Members, the NLRB will likely question the previous Board’s decision in the Volkswagen case. It does not bode well for the UAW.