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NLRB in Washington, DC rules against area nursing home

03.31.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

NLRB in Washington, DC rules against area nursing home

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC ruled against an operator of a area nursing home in Hazleton and ordered them to begin contract negotiations for a first time Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which involves Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) employed at the facility. However, the employer has refused to begin contract negotiations and promised to appeal the NLRB decision.

Twenty months ago a unit of approximately fourty LPN’s employed at the Manor and Pavilion at St. Luke’s Village Nursing Home on Stacie Drive in Hazleton, voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87.

AFSCME District Council 87, which represents AFSCME members throughout 9 Counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania, won a representation election conducted by the NLRB Region Four Office in Philadelphia in June 2013, 26 to 12 that involved the LPN’s.

There were fourty-three workers eligible to participate in the election. AFSCME already represented a unit of workers at St. Luke’s which included dietary aids and other food service workers.

The Union won the right to represent the LPN’s despite the operators of the nursing home hiring a lawfirm that specializes in attempting to delay representation elections and the spending of thousands of dollars on anti-union attorney’s and consulting firms.

The employer challenged the right of whether the LPN’s had the right to become union members claiming they are supervisors and under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) are ineligible from joining unions. However, Region Four ruled they were and conducted the election.

However, according to Matt Balas, Business Representative of AFSCME District Council 87, the nursing home operators will not meet with the union to discuss the CBA.

AFSCME filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against the St. Luke’s operators with the NLRB in which the agency ruled in favor of the union. St. Luke’s appealed the Region Four decision to the NLRB Washington office and the five member agency the parties are still waiting for their decision of whether the LPN’s are management or can be represented by AFSCME.

Mr. Balas stated that the existing CBA with St. Luke’s has been re-negotiated since the LPN’s voted for unionization.