Federal Agency Files Complaint Against Meadowlands Hospital over Labor Violations: - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Federal Agency Files Complaint Against Meadowlands Hospital over Labor Violations:

Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT-AFLCIO

110 Kinderkamack Road

Emerson, NJ 07630




For Immediate Release: Monday, June 3, 2013               Contact:  Jeanne Otersen (201)280-9279

After a long period of review and inquiry, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center over its violations of hospital employees’ collective bargaining rights. 

The complaint, based on charges filed by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE/AFT/AFL-CIO), states that the owners of Meadowlands Hospital have both refused to and failed to bargain with HPAE, and have interfered with the rights of employees under federal labor law.  The NLRB is the federal agency that oversees union elections and provides recourse for violations by either employers or unions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

The complaint was brought by Region 22 of the NLRB, in Newark,NJ, serving northern New Jersey and consolidates at least 10 charges of unfair labor practices brought by HPAE against hospital owners between August ,2012 and March, 2013, including:

·        Surveillance of employees with cameras and listening devices;

·        Threatening employees with disciplinary action if they engaged in union activities;

·        Refusing to pay 401K payments for employees as required by the collective bargaining agreement with HPAE;

·        Hiring  ‘nurse interns’ at minimum wage, and failing to pay proper wages as required by the HPAE union contract;

·        Selecting employees for layoff without regard to seniority rights and without bargaining with the union over a proper layoff system,

·        Improperly assigning work to non-union workers instead of union workers;

·        Refusing to provide  the union with necessary information to enable the union to represent staff in discipline cases;

·        Changing the health insurance and prescription drug plans without bargaining with the union, and then providing lesser benefits;

·        Failing to process and make payments for employee health insurance and prescription drug claims;

·        Eliminating 12-hour shifts for RNs and Techs without bargaining;

·        Refusing union staff access to meet with members in the hospital cafeteria;

“It is painfully clear that while the owners have been reaping millions in profits, it is coming from the pockets of hard-working nurses and healthcare workers,” said Ann Twomey, HPAE president.  “This complaint is an important recognition that the owners of Meadowlands Hospital have repeatedly and deliberately violated the rights and working conditions of Meadowlands healthcare workers, and it has cost employees millions in lost wages, unpaid medical claims, and retirement pay,” said Ann Twomey, president of HPAE, NJ’s largest health care union, which represents the 350 workers at Meadowlands.  “These violations have also created a climate of fear and intimidation in the workplace among employees who are working everyday to provide quality care to our community despite increasingly difficult working conditions.”

The complaint will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge starting on July 9 in Newark. HPAE estimates that back pay, payment for retirement contributions and medical and prescription drug claims could amount to between $3million and $5million in monies owed union members.  Union employees have also sued and filed complaints against Meadowlands over unpaid medical claims, which are estimated at $1.5million for all employee claims. 

 According to the union, additional charges of unfair labor practices will be filed as early as this week.  and the union will continue to ask the NLRB to seek injunctive relief.

Meadowlands Hospital has been cited for a series of violations of patient safety and licensure requirements since the for-profit owners took over in December of 2010. Recently, the NJ Department of Health required Meadowlands Hospital to hire an independent financial consultant to review and report on the hospital’s true financial status and solvency as a result of the hospital’s repeated failure to provide audited financial reports to the agency, as mandated by law.