Friday, March 21, 2014

NLRB asks federal judge to force UPMC to produce documents in unfair labor practices complaint

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:39 PM

The National Labor Relations Board has asked a federal judge to force UPMC to turn over documents relating to whether or not UPMC is a single-employer and not merely a holding company with no employees as the non-profit corporation contends.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab who has scheduled a hearing on the matter for 8:30 a.m. on April 29. UPMC is required to respond to the NLRB’s motion by April 16.

Based on complaints from employees and labor union SEIU, the NLRB issued a complaint against UPMC last fall, accusing the healthcare giant of "threatening, interrogating, and intimidating employees" who showed an interest in forming a union. The hearing began Feb. 12 and is still ongoing.

According to a motion to compel UPMC to comply with the subpoena, The NLRB sent a subpoena for document production to the healthcare company on January 14. Despite UPMC’s objections, Administrative Law Judge Carissimi, who is adjudicating the NLRB complaint of unfair labor practices against UPMC, ruled on Feb. 24 that a portion of the documents must be turned over.

However in a Feb. 27 email from UPMC attorney Thomas Smock wrote, “For all of the reasons stated on the record and in various other pleadings filed in connection with this matter, our position remains unchanged: UPMC is not a proper party and therefore the subpoena, even in light of [Judge Carissimi’s] rulings on the above-referenced petition to revoke, is not proper. For the same reason, we do not intend to engage in further negotiation of any stipulations regarding the relationship between UPMC and UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.”

In her brief to compel UPMC, NLRB attorney Julie Stern wrote, “By this conduct, [UPMC] has flouted the law by failing to obey a validly issued subpoena requiring the production of relevant documents. Respondent’s failure to produce the subpoenaed documents, which are relevant to the issues in the proceeding before the Board, constitutes contumacious conduct,” and that conduct “has impeded and continues to impede the unfair labor practice proceeding before the Board at the expense of the alleged discriminatees as well as the taxpayers, and is preventing the Board from carrying out its duties and functions under the Act.”

In a statement released to City Paper late Thursday UPMC said, “"The SEIU and the NLRB raised the single-employer argument late into the proceedings and have demanded a vast amount of information on that issue from UPMC. They have not, however, asked for any relief against any UPMC entity other than Presbyterian University Hospital. The delay and expense involved in responding to those requests is therefore not justified."

But Stern argues that UPMC’s objections have been given a proper hearing, their claims have been dismissed and now UPMC “must understand its obligations under the law, and be ordered to comply fully and faithfully with the subpoena properly served upon it.”



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