April 08, 2020

NRLB decision weakens union rights for some

Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board broadened the definition of supervisory workers to include workers who sometimes delegate and assign responsibilities, but have no power to hire and fire.

By changing the statutory definition of supervisory workers, the NLRB decreased the number of workers eligible to belong to unions.

It affects some occupations more than others. Nursing is one of them. Members of Unit 1 of the Maine State Nurses Association at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor rallied Thursday with members of the Eastern Maine Labor Council to protest the NLRB ruling.

Judy Brown, an EMMC nurse and president of Unit 1, said the three members of the five-member board who voted for the change were all appointed by President Bush.

“It’s another attempt by the Bush administration to limit union rights,” Brown said.

The case leading to the decision was initiated in Kentucky and has become known as the Kentucky River decision.

Jack McKay, president of the labor council, said the NLRB decision creates a whole new class of workers who “aren’t really management but don’t have the protection of unions.”

In a press release, Maine Senate President Beth Edmonds said: “This is an unfortunate decision which could cause a sweeping redefinition of workers’ rights. It could eliminate the rights of millions of hard-working people to be represented at the bargaining table.”

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