“Bargaining in Good Faith” and what the NLRB Has to Say

Remember when I was wondering what the National Labor Relations Board was going to find in reviewing Borgess management’s role in the contract negotiations between the management and the nurses? A reminder, here’s what Borgess asked of their nurses:

If the NLRB issues a complaint, we expect the MNA-NNU to declare in the media and to our nurses and staff that Borgess has been found guilty of illegal activity. Hopefully you will see this for what it is and help Borgess counter the MNA-NNU’s efforts to disparage Borgess and further erode our reputation in the community. Hopefully, you will tell your family, friends and neighbors the truth. Hopefully, our community will recognize that this is one more baseless claim by a union intent on doing anything it can to harm our hospital.

We’ve already touched on the fact that MNA would not say that Borgess was “guilty” because that decision would be based on a judge’s decision.

However.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has spoken and they are decidedly unhappy with Borgess management. Here’s a summary:

The NLRB decision is a repudiation of Borgess’s bargaining tactics. The NLRB intends to issue a Complaint which, with one exception, incorporates all the major components of MNA’s ULP charge. The NLRB will charge Borgess with the illegal restraint, interference and coercion of employees in violation of section 8(a)(1) of the act; unlawful discrimination against employees in terms and conditions of employment in violation of sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the act; and of refusing to bargain in good faith in violation of sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the act. The only section of the act which MNA claimed was also violated that the NLRB said it was not going to issue on was section 8(a)(2), where MNA alleged Borgess interfered in the administration of a labor organization. Significantly, the NLRB has concluded that the Borgess adopted an illegal bargaining strategy at the inception of the negotiations, and that it insisted on contract proposals that violated the duty to bargain in good faith.

So, that leaves Borgess management with a choice. They can either voluntarily settle the issues or Borgess will get slapped with a formal Complaint from the NLRB charging that they have violated federal labor law and committed several serious unfair labor practice violations against the members of the Borgess Staff Nurse Council.

Now to add to this scenario is today’s news – the NLRB has dismissed all of the unfair labor practice charges that Borgess management had filed against MNA. The charges, according to the NLRB, “did not have merit.”

So, what exactly should the Borgess RNs be telling their family, friends and neighbors? First, MNA isn’t trying to disparge Borgess and erode their reputation in the community.  All MNA did was make the case that Borgess management was using unlawful methods of bargaining with respect to their nurses. Second, you can’t go with the “baseless claim” argument because obviously the actions of the Borgess management gave the NLRB plenty of evidence to make their decision.

So, all you’re really left with is the truth and that’s simple enough.

The question now – what more has to happen before the Borgess management will start negotiating in good faith?

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