NLRB allows body shop workers to unionize on their own

NLRB allows body shop workers to unionize on their own

In an important decision for US auto dealers, the National Labor Relations Board has agreed that a voting unit, limited to body shop employees, is an appropriate voting unit for purposes of a union election (Hall Chevrolet, June 26, 2014).

The dealership, Hall Chevrolet, in Chesapeake, Virginia, employed 70 workers in fixed operations, 19 of whom were body shop employees. The International Association of Machinists filed a petition with the NLRBês regional office in Baltimore, seeking an election among only the body shop employees, excluding workers in the service and parts departments.

The Board relied on its landmark 2011 decisions that imposed on the employer the burden of demonstrating that the community of interest among workers in the broader unit is –so overwhelming” that there is no factual basis that would allow the smaller unit to be separated from the larger overall unit. In the Hall Chevrolet case, the Board applied that principle to dealership body shops.

The NLRB in the last several years has allowed unions to petition for smaller and smaller voting units, imposing on employers the risk of having their work force fragmented by narrowly tailored union petitions.

Thanks to Stephen D. Shawe at Shawe & Rosenthal, LLP, for providing this information. For questions, contact him at 410-752-1040 or

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