Despite a week of talks between Yale-New Haven Hospital and the union trying to represent the hospital’s workers that was intended to produce a settlement without federal intervention, the National Labor Relations Board has rescheduled a hearing for next month to resolve the union’s complaint that the hospital intimidated workers.
The NLRB announced Monday the hearing between the hospital and New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199 scheduled for Feb. 12 will be held March 19 to address the union’s management obstruction charges.
District 1199, which is attempting to unionize the 1,800 service and maintenance workers at the hospital, originally filed the complaint with the NLRB last summer after incidents July 4 and Aug. 3 in which hospital workers distributing union pamphlets and pins were allegedly threatened with arrest by hospital police.
The hearing, originally slated for Feb. 5, had been delayed to continue settlement discussions, NLRB spokesman Richard Concepcion said.
“The atmosphere between all sides is one of exploring a settlement, but there’s no commitment yet by either side,” Concepcion said.
All sides have been cautious so far in revealing how the meetings are progressing and the implications of the most recent rescheduling.
“I don’t think the scheduling of the hearing reflects anything in regards to outcome,” 1199 spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff said. “Whether we have a hearing or a settlement is dependent upon the hospital’s willingness to adhere to the law.”
Hospital spokesman Mark D’Antonio declined to comment on all aspects of the meetings.
Connecticut Hospital Association spokeswoman Deborah Hoyt also had no comment on the proceedings, saying only that hospital management and 1199 need to resolve their issues in the best interests of their workers.
The NLRB would meet with officials from Yale-New Haven Hospital for a settlement conference sometime this week, Concepcion said.
The NLRB officially recognized the merit of 1199’s complaints Sept. 28 and scheduled a hearing before an administrative law judge for Feb. 5. Only days before that hearing date, Yale-New Haven requested the hearing be postponed so the two sides could attempt to resolve issues outlined in 1199’s complaints without federal intervention.
One of the issues being advocated by 1199 is the establishment of a neutrality agreement between the union and Yale-New Haven, which would prevent the hospital from interfering in unionization efforts of workers. Among those supporting such an agreement was Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who said a neutrality agreement would help guide the unionization process.
“Unionization should be up to the hospital workers in an environment where they are not intimidated,” DeStefano said. “We want to be sure organizing efforts proceed in an orderly fashion.”