A major union announced Tuesday it had filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Complete Care Management over concerns about how the company is spending supplemental Medicaid funding meant to support certified nursing assistants.

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East also alleged in a press release that, “immediately upon taking over operations at homes represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the company unilaterally gutted workers’ benefits.”

Complete Care, a privately held operator, became New Jersey’s largest nursing home chain after acquiring several properties through the Genesis HealthCare-Welltower shakeup this spring. 

“With more than 1,200 seniors and their families at risk and more than 1,500 jobs at Genesis HealthCare’s nursing homes in jeopardy due to its precarious finances, Complete Care stepped in to prevent an interruption of resident care and to preserve jobs,” a spokeswoman for the company told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday. “Complete Care has been negotiating in good faith with the SEIU since the beginning. We offer a comprehensive health plan and competitive benefits, and our facilities are known as great places to work. Because these facilities are critical to our patients and their families, we are committed to their long-term viability.”

But the union said cuts after the management change at eight facilities included a quadrupling of family health insurance costs to over $800 a month; eliminating pensions and educational benefits; and cutting sick time, holidays and vacation time.

The union also argued the company has refused to disclose information about how it would spend supplemental Medicaid funds targeted for CNA pay. New Jersey lawmakers in late 2020 increased Medicaid reimbursement rates by 10%, or about $130 million statewide.  Providers were directed to spend at least 60% of that additional revenue “to increase wages or supplemental pay” for CNAs. The SEIU called that lack of transparency “unlawful” and implied it had led to stalled contract negotiations.

The charges allege unfair labor practices at:

  • Complete Care at Green Knoll (Bridgewater Township)
  • Complete Care at Inglemoor (Englewood Township)
  • Complete Care at Linwood (Linwood)
  • Complete Care at Marcella (Burlington Township.)
  • Complete Care at Park Place (Monmouth Junction)
  • Complete Care at Voorhees (Voorhees Township)
  • Complete Care at Westfield (Westfield)
  • Complete Care at Willow Creek (Franklin Township)

“We are seeking urgent board action to compel Complete Care to bargain in good faith with the union, produce the requested information and cease committing unfair labor practices,”  Clauvice St. Hilaire, vice president at 1199SEIU, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Tuesday. “The allocation of supplemental Medicaid funding to CNAs is a time-sensitive matter that the union has every right to negotiate on behalf of our members. This money was granted by the state with the explicit purpose of improving caregiver pay — management cannot use it at its own discretion because it is a mandatory subject of bargaining.”

In addition to the broad charges against all eight facilities, the union alleged union tampering at the Marcella location, noting in its filing that Complete Care leaders had “unlawfully disparaged employees for engaging in Union activity” and “unlawfully retaliated and discriminated against employees based on their activities in support of the Union.” 

The Complete Care spokeswoman called that charge “pure fiction.”

“It is unfortunate that the union is burdening the National Labor Relations Board simply to further their aims at the bargaining table,” she said.