July 2008Newsletter

Healthcare Organizing Alert

Labor & Employment Law Update

Michael Best recently assisted a national long-term care provider with variety of issues that arose in connection with a union organizing campaign in Central Wisconsin.

A critical issue in the campaign was the United Steelworker's claim that nine Licensed Practical Nurses ("LPNs") should be allowed to vote in a union election. Since a majority of the LPNs were sympathetic to and actively involved in supporting the union's organizing effort, it made for an interesting two-day hearing (Case No. 30-RC-6726).

Last month, Region 30 of the NLRB (Milwaukee) held that the nine LPNs were "supervisors" within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the NLRA and not eligible to vote in the election. Region 30 found that the Employer had met its burden of establishing that these LPNs possessed the authority to both reward and discipline other staff members, or to effectively recommend such action, using independent judgment in more than a merely routine or clerical nature.

Based on this finding, the NLRB also dismissed unfair labor practice charges filed by the union on behalf of one of the LPNs who was suspended for refusing to perform his supervisory responsibilities prior to the NLRB representation hearing in this matter.

As a result of these rulings, the union withdrew its election petition. If you are interested in discussing these and other strategies to ensure the supervisory status of line supervisors, a multi-faceted assessment of your vulnerability to union organizing and tactics that can be pursued by an employer when unions organize, please contact Rob Mulcahy at 414.271.6560, or

back to top