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Court Ruling Could Lead to “Micro-Unions” of CNAs

October 17, 2013

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled (pdf) that certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in an Alabama nursing home can form their own union, independent of other nonmedical workers in the same facility.

The ruling sets the stage for the formation of “micro-unions” in long-term care facilities throughout the U.S., reports McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

The case before the Sixth Circuit involved a group of 53 CNAs at Kindred Nursing Centers East in Mobile.

The CNAs wanted to form a union to bargain with Kindred management, but Kindred refused, arguing that any union of its workers would also have to include its 86 non-supervisory, non-professional service and maintenance employees.

The Sixth Circuit disagreed. It cited a 2011 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which specifically allowed the formation of so-called micro-unions in long-term care organizations.

“As the court unanimously found, the decision falls easily within the NLRB’s traditional authority,” AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Hauser told the Wall Street Journal.

— by Matthew Ozga

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