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Management Cannot Take Supervisory Support for Granted

  • July 9, 2001

Many health care employers when faced with union organizing activity are "shocked" to learn that the attitude of the facility's first line management and supervisory staff often ranges from indifference to outright support and encouragement of the activity.

What is truly "shocking" is that a facility needs a "crisis situation" to see the extent of loyalty and commitment of its supervisors.

Few "truisms" are more true: it is virtually impossible to stay union free without a supervisory team in sync with the organization's commitment to staying the course and in alignment with the philosophy of top management.

This loyalty, dedication and commitment, however, cannot be taken for granted and must be earned. Some steps to consider:

  1. First, be clear you know who your supervisors are; e.g., do they meet the test for supervisory status under the National Labor Relations Act. This is particularly true with the Head or Charge Nurse classification.
  2. Second, make your supervisors "feel" they are a part of the management team. Do you recognize, respect and celebrate their status? If not, do not be surprised if they align themselves with their "employees".
  3. Third, give supervisors skills training and other tools to do their jobs effectively. When you treat supervisors as important players, they will respond.
  4. Fourth, recognize and fulfill supervisors' legitimate needs. We often ignore the fact that they have special "needs".

Facility management can and should expect supervisors to act "supervisory" as the voice and representation of management. By taking these steps, management's expectations can become a reality.

©2001 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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