Labor Law Takes a Step Toward the 21st Century

By October 4, 2006Labor Unions

In a major decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday ruled that — hold onto your hats here — supervisors should be treated as supervisors for purposes of union elections. In so doing, they updated a few decades of old “us vs. them” workplace notions and brought federal labor law closer to the realities of the 21st Century workplace.

Predictably, lead dinosaur John Sweeney has cried “Foul!” The workers in question were nursing home nurses whose duties included assigning and directing other workers. Kinda sound like supervisors, no?

In this WaPo story by Dale Russakoff, he quotes U of Tennessee labor law professor Jeff Hirsch as saying that the decision is important because the lines between workers and supervisors are blurring throughout the economy. Says Hirsch:

“You have far more workers who have a lot more responsibility than they did when the National Labor Relations Act was passed almost 60 years ago … It’s a much more skilled economy.”

Amen to that. And bravo to the NLRB. Here’s a link to the full decision.