Federal appeals court sides with union, NLRB against nursing home operator

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A U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the National Labor Relations Board determination that a nursing home operator should have negotiated with an existing union when it took over a facility, and was discriminatory when it refused to hire five union local officers.

Cambria County sold Laurel Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pennsylvania to Grane Health Care in 2009. The court agreed Grane “unlawfully refused to bargain as a successor to the previously unionized public employer.” Contrary to Grane's assertions, both the NLRB and the court said Cambria County and Grane “constituted a single employer jointly and severally liable for any unfair labor practice violations.”

Most Laurel Crest employees applied to work at Cambria Care and most were hired, court documents state. But Grane did not hire five Local 1305 officers or an SEIU employee. The court wrote the assertion that the “Company violated the NLRA by refusing to hire five former Laurel Crest employees is supported by substantial evidence.”

Grane owns several facilities in Pennsylvania, and fired 20 union employees who held a one-day strike at one of them in 2004.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its opinion in the Laurel Crest case April 5.

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