NUHW Secures Expanded Worksite Access for Worker Organizers through Labor Board Decision

Press ReleasesOctober 3, 2012

Emeryville, California — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has rejected a request by Keck Medical Center of USC and Sodexo America LLC to reconsider a July NLRB Decision and Order which found that the hospital had violated the National Labor Relations Act by unfairly restricting worksite access by off-duty employees in a way that discriminated against employees engaging in union activity.

The decision marks a rare and significant advance in the rights of workers to organize a union. The NLRB’s ruling affirms that employers must craft clear off-duty worksite access policies and apply them fairly and consistently instead of leaving them so vague as to afford managers broad leeway to improvise excuses to squelch workers’ rights to freely associate.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) prompted this landmark ruling when it contested Keck Medical Center’s discriminatory treatment of four of its employees who were NUHW supporters and who entered the worksite while off duty.

In the July decision, the Board majority argued that Keck Medical Center’s policy was overly broad, and unfairly allowed management to bar workers from the facility simply for exercising their protected rights to organize.

“It isn’t often that the NLRB makes a decision that advances workers’ rights instead of abridging them,” said Ruben Duran, a Pulmonary Function Tech at Keck. “It only happened because we belong to a union that believes in standing up for workers when we’re bullied by management instead backing down or, worse, siding with employers against union members.”