NLRB Addresses Supervisory Status
In a case involving whether dispatchers are statutory supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act, the National Labor Relations Board addressed the issue of whether the dispatchers used “independent judgment” when assigning field employees to locations during power outages.
In order to be considered a statutory supervisor, and therefore outside the protections of the Act, the Board and courts will consider 12 statutory indicia, which includes the assignment of employees. In Entergy Mississippi, Inc., the Board assessed whether the dispatchers utilized independent judgment when assigning field employees to locations. Specifically, the dispatchers prioritized outages, determined how many employees should be sent to address a given outage, and decided to reassign or hold field employees over from their regular shift or to summon additional on-call employees to work. The dispatchers also independently assessed, in the case of multiple outages, whether to address the outages sequentially or simultaneously. Further, the employer did not utilize standard operating procedures or rules for dispatchers to follow given outages. Instead, the dispatchers held broad discretionary authority in making prioritization decisions. This exercise of independent judgment determined the places where field employees would be sent. Thus, the dispatchers assigned field employees to places using independent judgment, and are therefore supervisors under the Act who cannot participate in the bargaining unit.