Labor Board Decision May Slash Union Membership The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that nurses with certain responsibilities are supervisors, and therefore barred from joining unions. Labor organizers say the ruling could cut the potential union membership among nurses by hundreds of thousands.
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Labor Board Decision May Slash Union Membership

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Labor Board Decision May Slash Union Membership

Labor Board Decision May Slash Union Membership

Labor Board Decision May Slash Union Membership

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The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that nurses with certain responsibilities are supervisors, and therefore barred from joining unions. Labor organizers say the ruling could cut the potential union membership among nurses by hundreds of thousands.

DEBORAH AMOS, Host:

Frank Langfitt, NPR's labor reporter, is here to explain. Good morning.

FRANK LANGFITT: Good morning.

AMOS: What did the board actually say?

LANGFITT: Well, they were focusing on a Michigan hospital case. And the question there was who is actually a supervisor? And what they ended up saying is that charge nurses who use their independent judgment to assign other nurses to care for specific patients in fact are supervisors, and therefore, of course, they're management. And so they don't have any protection under the National Labor Relations Act. And probably most significantly, they have no right to join or form a union.

AMOS: So, who exactly does this affect?

LANGFITT: I want to read you something from the decision that came out yesterday. They say today's decision threatens to create a new class of worker under federal law: workers who will not have the genuine prerogatives of management nor the statutory rights of ordinary employees.

AMOS: Now, does this happen right away, or...

LANGFITT: No. No.

AMOS: ...or is there...

LANGFITT: And the question of who's a supervisor is probably going to end up back in front of the National Labor Relations Board, and probably drag on in the courts for a long time. And that delay ultimately helps employers. You know, the longer it takes to certify a bargaining unit or win an election, the more likely that people who want to join a union are going to lose confidence in the organizers and lose interest.

AMOS: Thanks very much.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it.

AMOS: NPR's labor reporter Frank Langfitt.

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