NLRB’s latest bombshell signals higher costs for the nursing home industry … and patients

NLRB’s latest initiative signals increased costs for the long-term, non-acute care nursing home industry … and patients
Critical Developments in Labor and Employment Law
John Raudabaugh | Nixon Peabody

On December 22, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an invitation for interested parties to file briefs regarding the issue of the appropriate composition for bargaining units in long-term nursing care facilities. The pending case, Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile and United Steelworkers, District, 15-RC-8773, concerns a union’s effort to organize a unit of certified nursing assistants. The employer, however, contends that the unit should consist of all nonprofessional service and maintenance employees.

From a practical viewpoint, a union can organize a smaller group of employees more easily, quickly, and cost-efficiently than a larger, more diverse group. From an employer’s perspective, the prospect of separate, multiple units means potential conflicts among bargaining units, increased costs for bargaining and administering multiple contracts, significant restrictions on operating flexibilities, and the risk of significantly increased labor disputes and strikes. Related increased costs will inevitably be passed on to the customer/patient/nursing home resident.

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