Chicago health center brings back laid-off workers in response to labor probe

Chicago-based Howard Brown Health has reinstated 24 employees after a National Labor Relations Board investigation spurred by layoffs that occurred in early 2023.

The LGBTQ+ healthcare provider told Becker's in a statement that it reinstated the employees on Aug. 28 — 25 accepted reinstatement and one person rescinded before onboarding. A total of 61 union-represented employees were offered reinstatement. 

The reinstatement of employees is part of recommendations from the National Labor Relations Board that were provided following layoffs.

In January, Howard Brown Health laid off about 60 workers as part of its plan to close a fiscal year $12 million revenue shortfall. 

The provider said it received preliminary findings from the labor board in July stating that Howard Brown Health "did not bargain in good faith because of the speed at which we implemented layoffs. We were surprised and disappointed by the findings — it was always our intention to bargain in good faith and protect the viability of our organization."

After receiving the preliminary findings, the provider received a settlement from the National Labor Relations Board. 

"Prior to receiving the written settlement, we began negotiating reinstatement and back pay with our union partners at the Illinois Nurses' Association," Howard Brown Health said. "We are now complying with the settlement as quickly as we can because we want our community to be certain that our number one priority is the high-quality, affirming patient care for which we are known."

Howard Brown Health is a federally qualified health center with 11 clinics in Chicago. Additional background information is available here.

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