A Pennsylvania judge accused a federal labor arbiter of acting as an extension of a powerful labor union in a dispute with a local hospital.
Federal Judge Arthur J. Schwab said that the National Labor Relations Board overstepped its bounds when it demanded personnel information from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian (UPMC) during an investigation into alleged unfair labor practices filed by SEIU. The hospital objected to three requests because they would aid the union’s attempt to organize the workplace.
Schwab called the NLRB’s requests “overly broad and unfocused” and unprecedented in their “massive nature.”
“The scope and nature of the requests, coupled with the NLRB’s efforts to obtain said documents for, and on behalf of, the SEIU, arguably moves the NLRB from its investigatory function and enforcer of labor law, to serving as the litigation arm of the Union, and a co-participant in the ongoing organization effort of the Union,” the ruling states.
The NLRB is in charge of enforcing labor law and overseeing the unionization process. Regional officials were called in to UPMC to investigate union charges that UPMC management had interfered with pro-union employees. The company appealed to the federal courts to determine if the “investigation has a legitimate purpose [and] the inquiry is relevant to that purpose.”