A federal appeals court ruled that Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services violated the National Labor Relations Act when it canceled anniversary raises for unionized nurses, according to a Reuters report.
Here are six things to know about the issue.
1. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit made the ruling May 18, affirming a previous ruling by the National Labor Relations Board.
2. The NLRB found Prime “violated both the unilateral change doctrine and the duty to provide relevant information during negotiations with its employees’ bargaining representatives, Service Employees International Union Local 121RN and SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West,” according to the May 18 ruling. The NLRB specifically found Prime canceled anniversary step increases for nurses after the expiration of its labor deals with the two SEIU bargaining units, and determined the private for-profit hospital operator failed to provide information about employee healthcare programs as requested by the units. The NLRB ordered Prime to resume the raises, take care of any owed back pay due to the discontinuation of the raises and provide the requested information.
3. Both sides reached a settlement regarding complaints related to UHW’ unfair labor practice charges in the matter, and the unfair labor practice charges filed by 121RN remained at issue, according to the ruling. Prime’s agreements with 121RN, as well as UHW, were effective from Jan. 1, 2007, through March 31, 2011. The 121RN bargaining unit represents registered nurses at Prime’s Encino (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center, while UHW represents service and technical employees at Encino and Prime’s Garden Grove (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center.
4. Prime argued, among other things, that the anniversary step increases were terminated when the labor deal with 121RN expired in 2011 because they were tied to annual pay increases in the expired contract, according to the ruling.
5. The appeals court found “no merit in these challenges, however. Accordingly, we deny the petition for review and grant the [NLRB] board’s cross-application for enforcement of its order.”
6. In response to the ruling, Jamie Konn, outside counsel for Prime, told Becker’s Hospital Review: “This is an old matter that is now behind us. Encino and 121RN entered into a collective bargaining agreement in November 2014. The parties will continue to work together, and this matter should be resolved soon.”