Millions of American workers denied right to organize

With this week's Kentucky River decision, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expanded the definition of "management" to conveniently strip millions of American workers of their right to organize.

John Sweeney of the Huffington Post explains:

As dissenting NLRB members Wilma Liebman and Dennis Walsh wrote, the decision "threatens to create a new class of workers under federal labor law--workers who have neither the genuine prerogatives of management, nor the statutory rights of ordinary employees."

Most professionals--the fastest growing occupational group of workers--could fall into this phony category, Liebman and Walsh warn. By 2012, they "could number almost 34 million, accounting for 23.3 percent of the workforce.
The decision centered on a nurses known as charge nurses, employees with some supervisory responsibilities, but none of the powers or privileges of management. The NLRB ruled that these workers are management and therefore not entitled to belong to a union. Jordan Barab explains the twisted legal reasoning behind the 3-2 ruling.

The prohibition on managers belonging to unions is an arbitrary one to begin with. Every workplace has some hierarchy among the workers, whether it's a foreman on a jobsite, or the head nurse in a hospital ward. Supervising is not the same as managing. Managers have the power to hire and fire people, to discipline employees, to make the rules. This decision is a loophole that will allow real management to gerrymander jobs to ensure that their employees can't unionize.

[Huffington Post, Confined Space]

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