The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Bozeman (Mont.) Deaconess Hospital should not have ceased to recognize the Montana Nurses Association as the bargaining agent for 120 registered nurses.
The hospital, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision, said in 1994 that nurses were supervisors and therefore were not entitled to bargain collectively. It unilaterally stopped dealing with the union several months before its contract was to expire in October 1994.
An administrative law judge determined in 1995 that the nurses were not supervisors and should be allowed to bargain (Oct. 30, 1995, p. 54).
The NLRB agreed with the 1995 ruling on these grounds: "RNs' status as professional employees carries with it responsibility for making expert judgments in assessing the conditions and needs of patients. Having made these determinations, however, the RNs' additional responsibility for directing employees to perform the appropriate tasks to care for the patients is a routine matter."
In the meantime, the hospital signed a new contract with the nurses in December 1995 that runs until December 1997.