Centura hospital illegally withheld pay from nurses: Judge

Longmont (Colo.) United Hospital, part of Centennial, Colo.-based Centura Health, illegally held back pay and benefit increases to unionized nurses amid their representation election appeal, a National Labor Relations Board judge found, according to Bloomberg Law and Law360.

NLRB Administrative Law Judge John Giannopoulos said in a decision issued March 28 that Longmont violated federal labor law when it announced that employees would receive wage and benefit increases, except nurses whose wages and benefits would remain static at the existing "status quo" until the resolution of matters related to the election.

"This language points the finger at the very presence of the union, and employees exercising their right to petition for a union election, as the reason why Longmont nurses will not receive the same wage and benefit increases as their colleagues," the judge wrote. 

Nurses at Longmont voted to join National Nurses United in July 2021, and the NLRB certified the union as the collective bargaining representative for the nurses last year. Meanwhile, the hospital challenged the election results, eventually bringing its challenge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, according to Bloomberg Law and Law360

Between September 2021 and October 2022, Longmont implemented wage and/or benefit increases on multiple occasions, while noting that registered nurses were being excluded from the increases, according to the judge's order. The order states that Longmont said the exclusion was necessary to retain the status quo until pending representation election matters were resolved, citing federal labor law. 

Mr. Giannopoulos ruled that the hospital violated the law in doing so and ordered Longmont to provide more than 200 nurses with compensation for lost pay and benefits as well as bargain with the union, according to Bloomberg Law.

The union did not immediately respond to a request from Law360 for comment.

Centura Health shared the following statement with Becker's: "We are aware an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision on maintaining the status quo for Longmont United Hospital nurse wages and benefits. We are reviewing this decision to determine Longmont United Hospital's response and options."

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