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SEIU files complaint against Lackawanna County employer

05.21.10

APRIL 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

SEIU files complaint against Lackawanna County employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 28th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging a employer in Lackawanna County violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

On March 19th, 2010, the Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the Lackawanna Healthcare Center, Sturges Road in Olyphant, alleging the Employer violated Section 8(a) and 5 of the NLRAct.

The Lackawanna Healthcare Center is a nursing home and is owned and operated by Millenium Management LLCof Miami Florida.

Lackawanna County owned and operated the facility until March 2010 when a sale was approved to Millenium Management for $13.4 million. Funds from the sale will be used to fill a projected hole in Lackawanna County’s 2010 budget.

Lackawanna County will use approximately $6 million of the sale to pay the outstanding dept and around $1 million will be used to pay employees accrued benefits including vacation days.

After the Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Mike Washo announced their intention to sell the 272 bed facility in March 2009, bids were accepted to purchase the nursing home.

According to the complaint there are approximately 295 workers employed at the facility.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania also represents nurses employed at the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

“Since on or about March 1st, 2010, and at all times thereafter, the above named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, failed and refused to bargain collectively in regards to hours of employment and other conditions of employment.

The employer, Millennium has refused to talk to the union, process grievances or meet with the union to discuss charges in the employees working conditions. Such as changing members’s job, changing medical plan, assigning union jobs to managers (erosion of the bargaining unit), failure to provide information requested in the attempt to investigate a possible grievance and change direct deposit procedure without discussing with the union,” states the complaint.

The Employer Representative to be contacted on the complaint is Teresa Viscardia, indentified as the Lackawanna Healthcare Center Vice President of Operations.

The Unfair Labor Practice charge was filed on behalf of the Union by Carlos Rivera, indentified as Organizer of SEIU Health Pennsylvania.

The SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Union for many years was called SEIU 1199P but changed the name several years ago.

The NLRB told the newspaper the agency is investigating the complaint and if found the operator of the Lackawanna Healthcare Center violated the NLRAct a hearing will be scheduled.

Before Millenium took over the operation of the nursing home company officials stated the company would honor the terms and conditions of the bargaining agreement signed by the SEIU and Lackawanna County. However, according to the union, company officials have made unilateral changes to the bargaining agreement without meeting with them. Under the NLRAct, an employer must negotiate with a union before making changes regarding working conditions.

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