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ALJ finds pattern of labor law violations at Puerto Rico hospital, orders employees reinstated

An NLRB administrative law judge has found that a Puerto Rico hospital repeatedly violated federal labor laws by changing conditions of work – including the elimination of an entire department - without bargaining with the union representing its employees.

In his Feb. 2 decision, Judge Geoffrey Carter ordered Quality Health Services of Puerto Rico, Inc., doing business as Hospital San Cristobal, to offer reinstatement to eight discharged respiratory therapists and stop subcontracting hospital work without bargaining with the union.

Citing the Ponce hospital’s “pattern of making unlawful unilateral changes to working conditions”, the judge also issued a broad remedial order requiring it to cease and desist from further violations.

This is the third adverse decision by an administrative law judge against the hospital in two years. In February 2011, the National Labor Relations Board affirmed one of those decisions in finding that the hospital unlawfully reduced the number of paid holidays and eliminated its practice of paying holiday pay to employees whose day off fell on a holiday without bargaining with the union. 

Hospital employees, including licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapy technicians, operating room and radiology technicians, voted in early 2002 to join the Unidad Laboral de Enfermeras(os) y Empleados de la Salud. Their most recent collective-bargaining agreement with the hospital expired in February 2010.


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