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SHARON NLRB postpones hearing on hospital



Published: Tue, January 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The agency needs additional time to investigate new allegations against the hospital.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- A National Labor Relations Board hearing scheduled for today on unfair-labor practice charges against Sharon Regional Health System has been postponed.

There have been additional charges filed against the hospital since the hearing was originally scheduled, said Gerald Kobell, regional director for the NLRB.

The decision was made to postpone the hearing until 10 a.m. Feb. 26 to consolidate all of the charges, he said.

The charges stem from unionizing activities at the hospital last year and in late 1999.

Dismissals at issue: The Service Employees International Union lost a union representation vote at the hospital in February 2001, but later filed complaints against the hospital on behalf of employees it says were dismissed in June and July by the hospital for their unionizing efforts.

The NLRB investigated that complaint and found merit, filing a formal complaint against the hospital, which led to the hearing scheduling.

Security guards: The NLRB also filed a complaint charging the hospital with reducing the work hours of two guards involved in a successful organizing effort by the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America union in March 2001.

Sharon Regional has denied committing any violations of labor law, noting that employees had overwhelmingly rejected SEIU's efforts to organize them.

The hospital said it expected to be cleared during the hearing.

Sharon Regional pointed out that SEIU filed six objections to the results of the election it lost and that the NLRB rejected all of them.

New charges: Kobell said Monday that additional charges have surfaced against the hospital involving the alleged firing of a third employee Oct. 3, 2001, for unionizing activities as well as failure to negotiate in good faith with the new guards union.

In the latter case, the hospital gave across-the-board wage increases to all employees except the guards, Kobell said, adding that issue is still under NLRB investigation.

The original NLRB complaint would have the hospital reinstate the dismissed employees with back pay and correct actions taken against the two guards and another hospital employee allegedly given a downgraded performance because of unionizing involvement.




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