Labor board official sues Colorado hospital over allegedly withheld nurse pay

A National Labor Relations Board regional director is suing Longmont (Colo.) United Hospital, seeking pay raises for nurses based on allegations that the hospital held back pay and benefit increases to unionized nurses amid their representation election appeal, according to court documents accessed by Becker's.

NLRB Regional Director Matthew Lomax filed the civil lawsuit Sept. 7 in federal court. It follows a March decision by NLRB Administrative Law Judge John Giannopoulos. Mr. 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 representation election.

Mr. Lomax's lawsuit also names as a defendant Centennial, Colo.-based Centura Health, which has folded into Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health. It says the hospital appealed the administrative law judge's decision and that is pending before the NLRB.

Longmont United Hospital shared the following statement with Becker's: "Per our policy, we do not comment on pending litigation."

Mr. Lomax said announcements and subsequent withholding of wage increases and benefits from Longmont nurses occurred after nurses at Longmont voted to join National Nurses United in July 2021. The NLRB certified the union as the collective bargaining representative for the nurses last year. Mr. Lomax said the hospital is still contesting the unions' certification before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  

"The result of respondent's unfair labor practices has been a predictable disaffection of Longmont RNs from the Union (and a mass exodus of those RNs from Longmont United Hospital itself), as they learned that wages and benefits they would have been eligible for prior to the union campaign and election were now being withheld from them," he said. 

He added in his lawsuit that "such disaffection is likely to continue in the absence of intervention." 

The lawsuit seeks, among other measures, to give nurses at the hospital pay increases that were previously announced for other workers.

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