San Francisco Nursing Home Workers Collecting $500k in Back Pay

This week, 84 members of the Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers – West are collecting $500,000 in total back pay owed to them by San Francisco Healthcare & Rehab, Inc. (formerly known as Grove Street Extended Care and Living Center).

The payout is the result of an Order issued on December 16, 2011 by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) also requiring the nursing home operator reinstate nearly 100 workers to their positions and bargain with their Union.

The case arose two years ago when San Francisco Healthcare & Rehab, Inc. (SFHCR) became the operator of the nursing home located in the San Francisco North of Panhandle neighborhood. 

SFHCR terminated and subcontracted the work of nearly 100 workers represented by the Union, apparently believing that by doing so it could shirk its obligations under the NLRB’s Burns rule.  That rule provides that a successor employer (like SFHCR) must bargain with the Union of its employees when it hires a majority of its predecessor’s employees and the bargaining unit remains unchanged.  Under federal labor law, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire employees of its predecessor purposefully to avoid this obligation. 

SFHCR not only terminated nearly 100 workers, but it also cut the wages and benefits of the workers that it retained and refused to bargain with the Union.  If that was not enough, SFHCR had workers sign agreements saying they were “independent contractors” when they provided the same care they had been providing to residents of the nursing home for many years.   

The workers’ Union filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB and the case went to trial before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge in 2011 and lasted several days.

The NLRB ordered San Francisco Healthcare & Rehab, Inc. to do all of the following:

  1. Reinstate all workers who had been unlawfully terminated on or after SFHCR became the nursing home operator;
  1. Compensate the workers for any loss of wages and benefits as a result of their unlawful terminations;
  2. Restore the working conditions (including wages and benefits) held previously by the Union members and reimburse those workers for loss of wages and benefits as a result; 
  3. Cancel and rescind the subcontracts SFHCR entered into with third parties to perform the bargaining unit members’ work; and
  4. Post a Notice detailing the workers’ rights, SFCHR’s violations of the NLRA, and SFHCR’s obligations to remedy those violations.

By Manuel Boigues

Legal Developments