SNF must bargain with union that lost organizing election

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a statement from Wingate Healthcare Inc.

A New York skilled nursing facility must recognize and bargain with a chapter of the Service Employees International Union after being cited for unfair tactics, a judge ruled last week.

Wingate at Dutchess, a Wingate Healthcare Inc. facility in Fishkill, NY, was found to have engaged in unfair labor practices prior to union election in July 2014.

Wingate officials allegedly threatened and interrogated employees about their support for the union, and unlawfully monitored workers who engaged in union activity, according to the judge. Employees were offered a free pass to wear jeans on the day of the election if they also wore a pro-Wingate t-shirt.

Administrative Law Judge Mark Carissimi ruled that Wingate be given a bargaining order, which can be handed down in cases where a fair rerun election cannot be held “because of the lasting effect” of the anti-union sentiments expressed by the facility.

Carissimi also ordered Wingate to rehire and provide backpay to an employee who was suspended and fired for union activity.

"We believe the ALJ's decision not to be supported by the substantial and contrary evidence Wingate produced at the trial," a Wingate spokeswoman said in a statement to McKnight's. "The facility's staff voted in opposition of unionization, and we are committed to uphold their vote. Wingate is appealing that decision."