SW Legal Educational Publishing

LPNs Are Not Supervisors for Purposes of Collective Bargaining
Description Appeals court upheld decision of NLRB that LPNs at a nursing home were employees who could engage in collective bargaining, not supervisory personnel, as are RNs. Their supervision over nursing assistants was rather routine and did not involve substantive decisions expected of supervisors.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Collective Bargaining, Supervisors, Nurses
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The NLRB held that licensed practical nurses (LPNs) at a nursing home were employees who could vote to be represented by collective bargaining. The employer appealed that LPNs are supervisors, as are Registered Nurses (RNs), who cannot be unionized because they supervise Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
Decision NLRB's order is to be enforced. The RNs are clearly supervisors. "But the rubber meets the road with the LPNs, who lie betwixt and between lowly CNAs and lofty RNs." There are 38 LPNs and 90 CNAs in addition to the 19 RNs at the facility. It makes little sense to say that there are 47 supervisors (RNs and LPNs) over 90 employees (CNAs). The RNs clearly have supervisory powers over both other categories. The LPNs have much less responsibility; they have little independent judgment. Rather, they have "incidental supervisory authority over CNAs."
Citation National Labor Relations Board v. Grancare, - F.3d - (1999 WL 107918, 7th Cir.)
170 F.3d 662 (7th Cir., 1999)

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