2 Regional NLRB's rule HHA Nurses can join union

  1. Ruling affects Visiting Nurse Services of Health Midwest which serves Kansas City and Meridian Home Care in Wall Township, NJ.

    Each agency contended that because their nurses supervised aides they should not be included in any bargaining units.

    Under the National Labor Relations Act, the term 'supervisor" means individuals with authority '" to hire, transfer,suspend,layoff,
    recall, proomote,discharge,assign, reward or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievences, or effectivelt recommend such action." Such authority can't be "of a merely routine or clerical nature" but must require"the use of independent judgement."

    In the NJ case, the director of the NLRB's Region 22 office , Gary Kendellen, found numerous reasons for denying the Meridian agency's claim that RN's are supervisors based on the nursing staff's testimony and agency operating procedures. According to his written opinion, nurses testified that :

    * "Contact between RN's and HHA's assigned to the same client
    may not take place for weeksand when it does, it may only be
    for several minutes."
    * The agency's instructions to aides on how to carry out their
    personal care plan duties refers to "office" contacts for
    "special instructions/observations." But the internal care plan
    guidence forms have "no similar area delineated as 'RN
    contacted' or 'supervisor contacted.' " Aides also are directed
    to report changes in a client's condition "to the office, which in
    turn updates the field RN by phone."
    * Aide performance evaluations are done by the agency's clinical
    practice manager. According to the manager's testimony, her
    evaluations reflect her own observations and the working
    relationship between aides and the agency staff, as well as
    nurses notes and comments.

    Claification of the role of supervisors should be done by all HH agencies along with field staff nurses.If your job description includes duties like "hiring, firing and disciplining", or "overseeing documentation or coordinating care" that may be considered supervisors duties under the law and preclude a nurse from belonging to a union.

    Health Professionals and Allied Employees Union, and AFT affiliate is attempting to organize about 140 Meridian Home Care nurses in NJ , while Nurses United for Improved Patient care, another AFT affiliate is involved with organizing about 100 nurses at the Visiting Nurse Services of Health Midwest in Kansas City.
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