[Nov. 30, 2015] LOS ANGELES – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered Prime Healthcare to reimburse hundreds of employees at Centinela Medical Center in Inglewood, Calif. an estimated $1.6 million for illegally cutting workers’ healthcare benefits over a five-year period.
The NLRB ruled that Prime violated federal labor law when it made unilateral changes to the caregivers’ health insurance that improperly raised employees’ costs. The board ordered Prime to reimburse workers for the out-of-pocket increases.
“We are happy with this decision because it demonstrates what we have been saying for years – that Prime is just about maximizing profits, even if it comes at the expense of patients and employees,” said Martha Alvarez, a certified nursing assistant and 40-year employee at Centinela. “We just want to be treated fairly so we can focus our full attention on providing the best care to our patients.”
Some of the employees affected by the ruling were forced to pay as much as $3,900 more per year for their health coverage. The change violated the federal law requiring employers to bargain with workers over such changes.
The NLRB’s decision requires Prime Healthcare to pay employees for any increased premiums and co-pays – with interest – during that period, cover any employee tax penalties resulting from the reimbursement, and restore the health plan options and costs that were in effect prior to Jan. 1, 2011.
More than 630 employees at Centinela Medical Center are members of SEIU-UHW. Their jobs include certified nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, admitting clerks and administrative staff.