The nation’s largest nursing home association and its assisted-living organization accused the National Labor Relations Board of overstepping in determining how workers may unionize in long-term care facilities and other work places.

The American Health Care Association accused the NLRB of “abusing its discretionary authority” in written comments submitted Friday in conjunction with a hearing of the U.S. House Education & Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions on NLRB “trends.”

“The time has come for us to defend our workforce,” stated Gov. Mark Parkinson, AHCA’s president and CEO. “Simply setting aside over 75 years of history and precedent of determining appropriate bargaining units in long term-care facilities is too significant to ignore.”

The long-term care lobbying organization said a recent NLRB notice suggests the board will engage it what the group called “improper ‘de facto’ rule making,” bypassing the legislative process. Most providers and conservatives hope to preserve secret ballots for union organization votes, while pro-labor forces are pushing the NLRB to allow simple collection of signatures or “cards” to build their case.

Other providers also submitted comments, with some (including the panel’s chairman) accusing the NLRB of pursuing a liberal, “activist” agenda. Live testimony included experts criticizing the board’s actions, as well as another who said it was acting within its rights.