While union organizing is decreasing in so many other parts of the economy, healthcare remains a target. The Service Employees International Union in particular continues in its efforts to organize healthcare facilities throughout the U.S. A recent example as to how disruptive such actions can be is set out in a recent settlement agreement reached between University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare of Pennsylvania, through the NLRB. The Union had been attempting to organize a number of employees since May of last year and, as a result, there were over 80 alleged unfair labor practice allegations filed against the hospital through December when a complaint issued against the hospital for such violations. The primary focus of the allegations in the complaint were matters regarding how the hospital applied its e-mail and social media policies limiting solicitation among its employees and for improper discipline. The settlement included reinstatement of two employees, expungement of certain disciplinary action taken towards other employees, and a revamping of the hospital’s e-mail and social media policies.
To read NLRB’s news release on the settlement, click here.
Our Insight. Your Advantage. There is no question that training is a key element in preventing employers from being subjected to such pressure tactics by labor organizations. If management is aware of the tactics used by unions to draw them into situations which foster the perception of value of labor organizations, then the risk is reduced that the wrong responses are made. This includes not only how employees are disciplined but also how policies are applied. In other words, it is all about risk management. One of the biggest ways to manage risk is to have employees appropriately trained and ready for all contingencies that may have an impact upon the operations of their employer.