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Unions take action; gird themselves for pending NLRB rulings on supervisor status
UNION MEMBERS RALLIED LAST week in 18 cities across the U.S. --and 
outside National Labor Relations Board headquarters in Washington, DC--
to protest what they anticipate will be significant anti-labor rulings by the agency. 
The unions' "national week of action" came as the Board is poised to rule on a 
trio of cases that will clarify, and perhaps sharply limit, who is eligible to join 
a union under the National Labor Relations Act. Labor fears the rulings "will be 
one of the most serious attacks on workers' rights in decades," according to the 
AFL-CIO. Planned protests included marches to regional NLRB offices in 
various cities. The AFL-CIO said the rallies marked the first time that such 
concerted actions have focused on the Bush labor board's decisions.

Rulings are thought to be imminent on the pending Board cases, jointly referred to 
as the "Kentucky River" cases, after the Supreme Court decision which prompted 
their reconsideration ( NLRB v Kentucky River Community Care, Inc , USSCt 2001, 
143 LC 10,988). The cases have been pending before the Board since 2002. The crux 
of the issue in each is whether certain employees are "supervisors" under the NLRA--
and thus ineligible to join a union:

    * Oakwood Healthcare, Inc, Case 7-RC-22141 (involving RN charge nurses in a 
    * Golden Crest Healthcare Center (enf. den'd 8thCir 2001) 144 LC 11,126 (charge 
      nurses in long-term care facilities);
    * Croft Metals Inc , 337 NLRB No 106 , 2001-02 CCH NLRB 16,256 ("leadmen"
      and "load supervisors" in a manufacturing facility).

Labor says these workers will likely be unfairly classified as supervisors and thus 
ineligible for union representation. "At stake are collective bargaining rights for 
hundreds of thousands of workers who could be reclassified as supervisors and 
therefore not eligible for union protection under federal law," according to an AFL-
CIO statement. "By broadening the legal definition of 'supervisor,' these three 
cases will significantly strip workers of their existing contract protections and 
deny even more their right to organize, reversing decades of worker protections," 
the union contended.

Last Thursday, in light of the protests, the NLRB issued a statement. "In deciding 
the three pending cases, the Board is bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court," 
the Board reminded. "After reviewing the written record, the briefs and arguments 
of the parties, the relevant case precedent and the applicable sections of the Act, 
the Board will issue its decisions in the pending cases."

At this point there are more than 60 other cases pending on the Board's decision in 
the instant cases. According to American Rights at Work, a union advocacy group, 
scores of organizing campaigns have been put on hold as well.

© 8/06 CCH Internet Research NetWork

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