Right-Wing Attack on Labor

In California, the nurses may possibly be the most effective union in the state. They were instrumental in defeating Schwarzenegger’s ballot initiatives.

Here is the way the government repays them for their efforts. Of course, this attack on nurses opens the door for an assault on other unions who do not have the power of nurses, who are presently in short supply.

Maher, Kris. 2006. “Labor Board Eases Supervisor Rule Decisions Could Give Firms Sway to Keep More Workers from Entering Union Ranks.” (4 October): p. A 8.

“In three widely anticipated decisions, the National Labor Relations Board opened the door for some employers to classify more workers as supervisors and exclude them from union representation. The decisions outraged unions, but didn’t go as far as business groups had hoped. In the main decision, by a 3-2 vote, the five-member board said nurses who independently assigned staff based on such things as patient conditions, and were involved in such decision-making more than 15% of their time regularly, should be considered supervisors and exempt from collective-bargaining protections.”

“At issue in the cases, which stemmed from union organizing attempts, were U.S. labor-law provisions that state workers who use “independent judgment” in a “nonroutine” manner to assign or direct other employees, should be considered supervisors, even if they don’t have employees who report directly to them. Supervisors aren’t guaranteed collective-bargaining rights under the law. A broader interpretation could exclude more workers.”

“The decisions, which were expected to favor employers at a board controlled by Bush administration appointees, could at a minimum hinder labor’s chances of organizing workers in the fast-growing health-care sector. Business groups generally applauded the decision in the lead case, concerning nurses at Oakwood Healthcare Inc. in Taylor, Mich., saying the board clarified the standard it uses to determine such issues as what it means to use independent judgment when assigning work for other employees.”

“Economists said it was hard to predict how the decisions might affect factors such as labor costs. If employers tried to make certain workers qualify as supervisors by creating new responsibilities for them, they would risk incurring other costs as a result of lost productivity should workers turn down such work, said Lonnie Golden, an associate professor of economics and labor studies at Penn State-Abington.”

“Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, called the decisions “horrendous,” and said it would cause nurses to turn down work as charge nurses and trigger protests by nurses across the country. “Ultimately what this has done is redefine a ‘registered nurse,'” she said.”

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