AFL-CIO Appeals Kentucky River Ruling

The AFL-CIO filed a protest with the International Labor Organization (ILO), a branch of the United Nations, over the National Labor Relations Board’s recent rulings in Oakwood Healthcare Inc. and two other cases that collectively have come to be known as the “Kentucky River” cases.

The complaint, filed with the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association, asserts that the Bush-appointed majority on the NLRB set out “a new, expanded interpretation” of the definition of supervisor, opening the door for up to 8 million workers, including nurses, building trades workers, newspaper and television employees and others, to be barred from legal protection to join unions.

“Through these decisions, the Bush administration has stripped millions of America’s working people of a fundamental human right recognized all over the globe – the freedom to bargain collectively and have a voice on the job,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

The AFL-CIO, in its announcement of the filing of the complaint, stated that “although the ILO committee does not have enforcement power to change national labor laws, the AFL-CIO asked the body to add its ‘authoritative voice and moral weight in the international community’ to form a movement for legislation to restore the traditional, more balanced test for supervisory status, limiting it to genuine supervisors and managers.”

The complaint also asks the ILO to send a delegation to the United States to investigate the effects of the NLRB’s decision.