The NLRB has issued many recent decisions making it easier for employees to organize in healthcare workplaces across the USA. Described below are some of these recent decisions. For more information, please come to the Labor Update Seminar in Cincinnati on November 6, 2012.
One of the recent decisions by the NLRB (Specialty Healthcare) allows for smaller bargaining units than have been historically allowed in healthcare facilities. Unions generally have had a better chance of winning a union election in smaller sized bargaining units. Due to the NLRB Specialty Healthcare decision, unions are able to cherry-pick the small bargaining unit where the union will have the highest probability of success.
Another decision by the NLRB (Sodexo) invalidated a hospital’s policy related to off-duty access by employees to hospital facilities. By allowing off-duty employees on hospital premises for some reasons and not others may cause the entire policy to be declared illegal by the NLRB.
In Banner Health System, the NLRB made company internal investigations much more complicated. By casting doubt on when healthcare employers can require confidentiality related to such investigations, it is unclear how companies can effectively do internal investigation and maintain the privacy and confidentiality concerns of all employees involved.
The NLRB recently established a new rule (often called the Ambush Election Rule) changing years of precedent related to the union election process. This rule provides for much quicker union elections which do not allow employers enough time to fully educate their employees about the potential effect of a union if it wins the election. Although the courts currently are keeping this rule from going into effect, the NLRB is still trying to get this rule into effect, and even if it does not do so, it appears the current NLRB’s goal is to establish quicker elections one way or the other.