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Labor board rules in favor of Kittanning union's complaint against hospital

| Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 3:41 a.m.

ACMH Hospital officials are going to have to allow its technicians and licensed practical nurses union members to make their own schedules after the National Labor Relations Board determined the hospital illegally ended the practice last July.

The ruling, announced in a news release issued by the union on Tuesday, gives hospital officials until Friday to begin allowing the scheduling practice again, said Curtis Dahn, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union that represents the workers.

“We're going to wait to see if the hospital settles the charge by fixing what they did wrong and allowing the technicians and LPNs to do their own scheduling,” Dahn said. “That's what I expect them to do, but if they don't, we'll file a complaint and this will move to a trial with the National Labor Relations Board.”

Hospital officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

The NLRB began conducting investigation of the labor complaint filed by the union in November. Union officials alleged in the complaint that the hospital ended self-scheduling in July as retaliation against the 125 technicians and LPNs who unionized in June.

“The change, which came after 25 years, was a way of discriminating against these employees for starting a union,” Dahn said. “It shouldn't take much to let the employees start making their own schedules again – it's not that tall of an order.”

The union and ACMH officials have met about 30 times to negotiate a contract since August, but have not been able to come to terms.

Along with the ability to make their own schedules, the union is seeking the addition of one technician to each shift, cost-of-living wage increases and a larger contribution by the hospital into employee retirement plans. Members of the union went on a one-day strike on March 31 and continued holding informational pickets after the hospital used temporary staffing for several days after the strike.

“There's a number of additional charges we're going to be filing with the labor relations board against ACMH Hospital within the week,” Dahn said. “They all relate to discriminating against the techs and LPNs for taking part in union activities.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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