13 CIR 418 (2001)


UNION, LOCAL NO. 554 affiliated )
with INTERNATIONAL                                     )
                                   Petitioner, )
             v. )
 BOARD OF SALINE COUNTY,                                   )
                                       Respondent. )

Filed November 14, 2001


For the Petitioner: M. H. Weinberg
Weinberg & Weinberg, P.C.
9290 West Dodge Road-Suite 201
Omaha, Nebraska  68112
For the Respondent: Jerry L. Pigsley
Harding, Schultz & Downs
121 S. 13th Street
800 Lincoln Square
P. O. Box 82028
Lincoln, Nebraska  68501-2028

Before: Judges Orr, Burger, and Blake.



General Drivers & Helpers Union Local No. 554 (hereinafter, "Petitioner"), affiliated with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, filed a Petition on August 1, 2001 and an Amended Petition on August 23, 2001, seeking an election and certification of Petitioner as the exclusive bargaining representative for all employees performing road work in the Department of Roads of Saline County, excluding supervisors, office clerical, guards and all other employees. The County of Saline, Willis Luedke, Beth Mares and Phil Weber, County Board of Saline County (hereinafter, "Respondent") filed an Answer, asserting an affirmative defense that the Bridge Foreman, Rick Korbelik and the Assistant Bridge Foreman, Randy Younger are considered supervisors under NEB. REV. STAT. § 48-801(9) (Reissue 1998), and therefore, should be excluded from the proposed bargaining unit.

The Commission held a hearing on October 19, 2001, to determine the sole supervisor issue.


In order to determine Korbelik and Younger's role in this bargaining unit, the Commission must determine whether the employees are supervisors under NEB. REV. STAT. § 48-816(3) (Reissue 1998). NEB. REV. STAT.      § 48-816(3) provides that, "a supervisor shall not be included in a single bargaining unit with any other employee who is not a supervisor."  Section  48-801(9) defines supervisor as follows:

Supervisor shall mean any employee having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.

This statutory definition is disjunctive and therefore, to be classified as a supervisor, an employee need only have one of the types of authority specified in the statute. See Rodeo Telephone, Inc. v. Rodeo Telephone, Inc. Supervisory Employees Ass'n, 9 CIR 111 (1987); Communications Workers of America v. City of Hastings, 3 CIR 4 (1974); and Hall County Pub. Defenders Org. v. County of Hall and the Hall County Board of Supervisors, 12 CIR 227, 240 (1996) (citation omitted), rev'd on other grounds, 253 Neb. 763, 571 N.W.2d 789 (1998).

The Commission has previously defined the term supervisor in § 48-801(9). See Neligh Ass'n Group v.City of Neligh, County of Antelope, 13 CIR 305 (2000). In defining supervisors, the Commission distinguishes between truly supervisory personnel, who are vested with "'genuine management prerogatives,'" and employees such as "'straw bosses, leadmen, and set-up men, and other minor supervisory employees'" who are entitled to join collective bargaining units even though they perform "'minor supervisory duties.'" Neligh Ass'n Group, 13 CIR at 307-308 (2000) (quoting NLRB v. Bell Aerospace Co., 416 U.S. 267, 280-81 (1974)).

Under these standards, Korbelik is a supervisor and Younger is not a supervisor.

Bridge Foreman

Rick Korbelik is the Bridge Foreman in Saline County. Korbelik is responsible for maintaining and managing the day-to-day operations of the bridge crew in Saline County. Korbelik exercises independent judgment when he determines what work needs to be done on a particular bridge and in what order the bridges will be worked on. Korbelik also determines equipment needs at a particular bridge while supervising the employees of the Bridge Crew. Korbelik is responsible for the safety of the men on the Bridge Crew and attends quarterly safety meetings and trains the Bridge Crew accordingly.

The purpose for excluding supervisors from membership in units with those whom they supervise is to minimize potential conflicts of interest. See Nebraska Ass'n of Pub. Employees v. Nebraska Game & Parks Comm'n, 197 Neb. 178, 247 N.W.2d 449 (1976). Korbelik is more closely aligned with management than with labor. The County treats Korbelik as a supervisor. Korbelik is paid a salary by the Saline County Commissioners like other management personnel--the Highway Superintendent and the Assistant Highway Superintendent. Including Korbelik in the bargaining unit has the potential to create a conflict of interest.

Korbelik possesses the authority to hire, suspend, assign, reward, and discipline other employees. While Korbelik has not performed all of the traditional responsibilities of a supervisor, he has the authority to exercise his own independent judgment in assigning work as well as effectively recommending hiring of an employee. Korbelik has also recommended the disciplining of an employee. It is clear that Korbelik is a supervisor under § 48-801(9) and therefore, should be excluded from the bargaining unit.

Assistant Bridge Foreman

Randy Younger does not possess the authority to hire, suspend, or promote an employee,  Younger does not use his independent judgment in assigning work when Korbelik is absent.  Younger fills in for Korbelik only when he is away assessing other jobs to be done, on vacation, or on sick leave, which accounts for only about ten percent (10%) of the time.

Younger is more closely aligned with labor than with management. Younger is paid on an hourly basis, as are the other employees on the Bridge Crew. He never attends safety meetings with Korbelik and does not exercise independent judgment to responsibly direct employees. To the extent that Younger directs other employees, his direction is routine in nature. Younger clearly does not possess § 48-801(9) supervisory authority. Therefore, Younger should be included in the bargaining unit.


THE COMMISSION HEREBY FINDS that the Bridge Foreman is a supervisor under § 48-801(9) and that the Assistant Bridge Foreman is not a supervisor. The appropriate bargaining unit consists of:

All employees performing road work for the Department of Roads of Saline County, excluding supervisors such as the Bridge Foreman, as well as excluding office clerical, guards and all other employees.


A secret ballot election within the above described unit be conducted within a reasonable time from the date of this decision.


All panel judges join in the entry of this order.