AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

NURSE SUPERVISORY STATUS

WHEREAS, millions of nurses and other healthcare professionals in the United States provide compassionate, exceptional and necessary care every day, often for low wages and under unsafe conditions; and

WHEREAS, for more than 70 years, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) has ensured the right of most healthcare professionals in the private sector to collectively bargain with their employers over wages, hours and working conditions; and

WHEREAS, the NLRA gives employees the right to "self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection," however, the statute does not extend these rights to supervisors; and

WHEREAS, since the passage of the NLRA and the 1974 healthcare amendments and rules changes, almost 500,000 nurses have joined unions in the United States and are currently using their rights as union members and the mechanism of collective bargaining to advocate on behalf of their patients and themselves; and

WHEREAS, in the last 12 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) test for supervisory status in NLRB v. Health Care & Retirement Corp. of America, 511 U.S. 571 (1994), and NLRB v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc., 532 U.S. 706 (2001), which resulted in the loss of collective bargaining rights for thousands of nurses and other healthcare professionals and did not provide definitive guidance on the question of who is a supervisor for purposes of the NLRA but remanded the questions of determining criteria for who is and who is not a supervisor to the NLRB; and

WHEREAS, there are three lead cases, Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., Case 7-RC-22141; Golden Crest Healthcare Center, Case 18-RC-16415, 18-RC-16416; Croft Metals, Inc., Case 15-RC-8393, pending before the NLRB on the question of who is a supervisor for purposes of the NLRA, and there are some 60 plus cases pending before the NLRB regions that will be decided in light of the three lead cases; and

WHEREAS, the NLRB is controlled by Bush-appointed pro-management members who have issued dozens of anti-worker decisions since 2001; and

WHEREAS, the continuing uncertainty over who is a supervisor for purposes of the NLRA has the potential to cause tremendous instability in the healthcare industry; and

WHEREAS, if the nurses and other healthcare professionals lose their right to collectively bargain with their employers, an important vehicle for patient care and advocacy may be lost forever; and

WHEREAS, preservation of the right to join a union and collectively bargain over wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for nurses and other healthcare professionals is at the core of the AFT's mission and purpose:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, along with its sister unions in RNs Working Together, the new AFL-CIO Industry Coordinating Committee for nurses, work to provide legal assistance, organizing strategies and collective bargaining resources to assist all AFT Healthcare locals regarding the nurse supervisory status issue; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT endeavor to use all legal means to press for a favorable decision in the three supervisory status cases that are pending before the NLRB; and

RESOLVED, whether or not the NLRB acts to eliminate collective bargaining rights for even one nurse, the AFT use the full measure of its legal, moral and political authority to continue to fight for the right of all nurses to have the right to collectively bargain; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on all healthcare industry employers to exercise their ability under section 14(a) of the NLRA to recognize all nurse supervisors as union members in the event of an unfavorable ruling by the NLRB; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage the establishment of a sensible supervisor definition under the NLRA that recognizes the professionalism of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and healthcare professionals to enable these professions to perform jobs historically recognized to have the right to form unions of their choosing and to collectively bargain.


(2006)