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Mount Sinai Medical Center

June, 2001

On May 29, 2001, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that severely curtails the collective bargaining rights of physicians employed in the private sector by effectively defining all healthcare professionals as "supervisors" not eligible for collective bargaining. In its 5-justice majority opinion, the Court held that, if a professional employee uses "independent judgment" to direct the work of another, he or she is a supervisor - even if the employee giving the direction is a professional who customarily gives professional direction to other employees and has nothing to do with hiring, firing or discipline. This holding is in direct contrast to a series of decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since 1994 whereby healthcare professionals who exercised "ordinary professional or technical judgment" in directing less-skilled employees were not exercising the type of "independent judgment" needed to make them supervisors. Click here to see more information about this Supreme Court decision.

PRN was created in 1999 by the American Medical Association to promote the art and science of medicine, the betterment of public health, and the integrity of the physician-patient relationship through collective bargaining and PRN will continue to function as was intended. Though we can not proceed with an organizing effort at Mount Sinai at this time because of the new law deeming all residents/fellows to be supervisors, we will look for organizing opportunities with physicians employed in the public sector and continue representing the private sector physicians we have already engaged in legal battles. It is PRN's moral and ethical responsibility to fight these new legal challenges on behalf of the profession and on behalf of the patient care issues that many employers prefer to overlook.

Historically, there have been ebbs and flows in the federal labor laws with regard to collective bargaining rights. PRN is confidant that the pendulum will swing back in the future to allow for unencumbered physician collective bargaining. For now, PRN will continue to monitor legal developments and, when the climate changes, PRN will be prepared to immediately recommence organizing physicians at Mount Sinai. If, in the meantime, you are subject to any perceived discrimination or retribution as a result of your involvement with PRN to this point, please notify us at once.

We will continue to serve as a resource to you and we hope we can work together in the future. Please contact PRN at 312-464-4776 with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your support.

Click here to see the archive of web postings related to the Mount Sinai organizing effort.

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