NLRB issues labor complaint against CHS

The National Labor Relations Board Office of General Counsel has decided to move forward with a consolidated labor complaint against Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, as well as the hospital operator's 38-hospital spinoff, Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Corp., according to a National Nurses United release.

The complaint, issued by the NLRB earlier this week, consolidates 11 charges, covering 50 alleged unfair labor practices, filed against CHS, and five hospitals staffed by registered nurses affiliated with National Nurses United, the union said. The hospitals are: Massillon, Ohio-based Affinity Medical Center, Bluefield (W. Va.) Regional Medical Center, Ronceverte, W.Va.-based Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, Barstow (Calif.) Community Hospital, and Watsonville (Calif.) Community Hospital.

The union alleges CHS "has engaged in rampant and serious unfair labor practices at all of these locations, including terminating RN leaders in a wide-scale attempt to weaken support for the union and forestall reaching initial collective bargaining agreements."

According to National Nurses United, the NLRB also issued a national complaint against CHS less than a year ago for numerous alleged labor violations at the five hospitals. The most recent complaint marks the first time the NLRB has named Quorum in alleged labor infractions associated with CHS, according to National Nurses United. Quorum purchased the CHS hospitals in Ohio and California cited in the complaint earlier this year.

The union said the NLRB trial for the earlier complaint began in February and is currently underway in hearings being held and planned across the country, including in Nashville, Tenn. The NLRB has not scheduled the trial or hearings for this newest complaint but they are expected to take place after the current trial is complete.  

Tomi Galin, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing for CHS, confirmed that hearings are underway before an NLRB administrative law judge. In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Ms. Galin said CHS and the named hospitals "are vigorously contesting allegations of the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel related to accusations by" National Nurses United.

"The [newest] complaint referenced ... is simply a reiteration of accusations which the administrative law judge rightly did not allow the NLRB's general counsel to add to the ongoing hearings. It is merely a procedural step taken by the NLRB's general counsel," she said.


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