On October 3, the National Labor Relations Board issued a potentially devastating ruling regarding a number of separate cases in the health care field which are collectively referred to as ‘Kentucky River’ or ‘the Kentucky River decision.’ The decision broadly reclassifies as ‘supervisors’ thousands of workers who, under the National Labor Relations Act, will lose their right to union membership.
This ruling, though it has great impact on the labor movement as a whole, should have no direct effect on the majority of TCU members—because the majority of TCU members work under the Railway Labor Act. While supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act may be excluded from representation, supervisors or “subordinate officials” may be represented under the Railway Labor Act. In other words, what is fully legal and sanctioned by the Railway Labor Act is not protected under the NLRA.
“This case refers to activity under the NLRA,” says President Bob Scardelletti. “It has no application whatsoever to union members working under the Railway Labor Act, as most TCU members do.
“The RLA specifically protects the right of supervisors to organize and join unions and for us at TCU, the supervisors from ARASA and WRSA are a vibrant part of our union. They are members who add great strength to our union as a whole,” stresses Scardelletti.
For workers outside the industries of the RLA, however, the decision announced by the Republican-dominated NLRB opens the door for employers to strip thousands of workers of their rights. To learn more, click here to go to the AFL-CIO blog or here to read AFL-CIO President John Sweeney’s response.