New Jersey hospital accused of interrogating employees during union drive

The National Labor Relations Board is accusing Neptune, N.J.-based Jersey Shore University Medical Center of violating federal law during a union's organizing campaign.

In a Feb. 4 news release, the board said it issued a complaint Dec. 6 alleging the Hackensack Meridian Health hospital undermined union support for an election with Health Professionals and Allied Employees.

The board alleges the hospital interrogated employees, promised benefits if they opposed the union or abandoned the union, and hired third-party labor consultants who falsely told employees they were neutral government agents.

"It is the right of employees — and not their employer— to decide whether or not they will be represented by a union. Workers must be permitted to exercise this right freely, unencumbered by employer intimidation or coercion," Suzanne Sullivan, the board's Region 22 director, said in a news release.

The complaint comes after Health Professionals and Allied Employees unsuccessfully tried in 2020 to organize housekeepers, technicians and other services workers at the medical center, according to the Asbury Park Press. The union represents nurses at the hospital.

Union officials filed allegations of coercive actions and coercive statements with the board, which filed its complaint in December.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Jersey Shore officials disputed the allegations. 

"These allegations are totally false, and we will vigorously defend our practices in this litigation," the statement said. "We act in good faith with the unions that represent our team members who are true American heroes. We cannot comment further due to the pending litigation." 

The board said a case hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled for April 19.

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