What is the impact of the Board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. 83 (2011), on how hearings will be conducted?
In Specialty Healthcare, the Board set forth the analytical framework to be applied where a party contends that the smallest appropriate bargaining unit must include additional employees or job classifications beyond those in the petitioned-for unit. The Board stated that it would first assess whether the petitioned-for employees are “readily identifiable as a group (based on job classifications, departments, functions, work locations, skills or similar factors),” and would then apply traditional community-of-interest principles to determine if the petitioned-for unit is appropriate. If the petitioner satisfies that standard, the burden is on the party challenging the unit to demonstrate that the additional employees it seeks to include share “an overwhelming community of interest with the petitioned-for employees,” such that there “is no legitimate basis upon which to exclude certain employees from” the larger unit because the traditional community-of-interest factors “overlap almost completely.”