While union organizing is decreasing in so many other parts of the economy, the healthcare industry remains a target.  The Service Employees International Union in particular continues in its efforts to organize healthcare facilities throughout the United States.  A recent settlement agreement through the NLRB between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare of Pennsylvania illustrates how disruptive such actions can be.  The Union had been attempting to organize a number of employees since May of last year.  As a result, there were over 80 alleged unfair labor practice allegations filed against the hospital when a complaint was 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 required 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 foster the perception that labor organizations are valuable, then the risk is reduced that incorrect responses will be made.  This includes not only how employees are disciplined but also how policies are applied.  In other words, the key to union-prevention is 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.  Husch Blackwell attorneys have experience in all areas of union-prevention campaigns and are prepared to assist organizations with every step of the process.