A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision Oct. 3 stretches the definition of "supervisor," opening the door for employers to take away the right to union protections from nurses and other workers. The ruling on a group of cases, known together as Kentucky River, says employers can label workers as supervisors if they assign another employee to a particular location, to work at a certain time or to perform a significant task. They also may be called supervisors if they're held accountable for the tasks they assign.
The decision could bar millions of workers from the protections unions offer.
"The NLRB's test for determining who is a supervisor is a stretch at best and a threat to safe working conditions at worst," says AFT president Edward J. McElroy. The AFT represents 70,000 health professionals.
The main case, Oakwood Healthcare Inc., was decided on a 3-2 vote. It says permanent "charge" nurses are bosses under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), while rotating charge nurses may not be. In the other two cases, Kentucky River Community Care and Golden Crest Healthcare Center, the board said the nurses did not exercise supervisory authority. …