In 2015 the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued two opinions, Cook Inlet Tug & Barge, Inc. and Buchanan Marine, L.P., each finding that tugboat captains did not qualify as “supervisors” for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). These decisions demonstrate a trend in recent Board decisions narrowing the definition of a supervisor.
Under Section 2(11) of the Act, a supervisor must have the authority to perform one of several enumerated functions, including “assigning” or “responsibly directing” employees, using “independent judgment” in the interest of the employer. In 2006, the Board issued three decisions defining these terms. Oakwood Healthcare, 348 NLRB No. 37 (2006); Croft Metals, Inc., 348 NLRB No. 38 (2006); Golden Crest Healthcare Center, 348 NLRB No. 39 (2006).