The National Labor Relations Board last month ruled that it was not lawful for a continuing care home to hire temporary workers on a permanent basis in response to a strike.
American Baptist Homes of the West hired the temporary workers permanently after a union went on strike in August 2010 at a facility in Oakland, Calif.
Employers can permanently replace workers on strike, but the board found the hiring of permanent replacements in this case was unlawful because it was done to interfere with workers’ future protected labor activity such as strikes, according to the decision. It cited a statement by the home’s counsel that the employer hired permanent replacements to teach the strikers and the union a lesson as well as statements by the home’s executive director that she felt the replacement workers would be more willing to work in the event of another strike.
A report by law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP said the decision reverses more than a half century of precedent.
“Although the American Baptist Homes of the West decision does not make the hiring of permanent replacements for economic strikers a per se violation of the National Labor Relations Act, it does make employers who hire such replacements vulnerable to unfair labor practice charges,” according to the firm’s report.