(Washington) - John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), today issued the following statement in reaction to a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that may keep millions of employees from exercising their collective bargaining rights.
“AFGE is deeply troubled by the NLRB’s decision to limit the collective bargaining rights of nurses in the Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. case. Any decision which limits the rights of workers to have a true voice in the workplace—especially in the health care field—is a bad one and could have a devastating effect on employees in both the private and public sector.
“In the case, the NLRB decided that charge nurses who use a small amount of their time directing and assigning the work of others are supervisors. Supervisors are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act and are prohibited from realizing the benefits of collective bargaining and must possibly forfeit their right to join a union, an organization that works to improve working conditions and protect employees who see wrong-doing in the workplace. In rendering this decision, the Bush appointee-dominated Board has found an underhanded way to trample on the rights and livelihoods of up to 8 million workers now and potentially millions more in the years to come.
“Nurses are on the frontlines of the nation’s health care system and need a strong voice in the workplace to ensure that patients receive the best quality care. However, the NLRB’s decision flies in the face of this logic and punishes nurses for doing their jobs and stepping up when needed.
“By denying private sector employees collective bargaining rights, the NLRB is destroying worker rights instead of protecting them, the exact opposite of what it was created to do. This decision should serve as a warning to workers everywhere. Workers should not be penalized for wanting a say in how they are treated on the job.”