Labor board expands burden on business to disclose worker info to unions

A union will have a second chance at winning an election at Connecticut hospital after the National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency, ruled that the hospital's managers did not comply with a controversial new rule requiring them to turn over all employee contact information to the union.

The ruling was made even though it was undisputed that the hospital's human resources department turned over all of the data that it had. The decision illustrates the extensive burden the rule places on businesses and how difficult compliance can be for employers.

The order followed a failed bid by the American Federation of Teachers to organize workers at Danbury Hospital June 19. The workers voted 390-346 against the union. The union contested the outcome, and a regional director for the labor board ordered the re-do Friday. The director said that because the human resources department had current phone numbers for only 94 percent of the workers, the hospital had failed to comply with the disclosure rule. The employer was obligated to track down all of the numbers — within the two-day period mandated by the rule.

"Under the final rule, the employer was required to provide all 'available' personal email addresses and cell phone numbers. The rule requires the exercise of reasonable diligence, a standard the employer failed to meet by limiting its data search to only the information contained in (the human resource files), despite the fact that it utilizes other databases, as well as other nonelectronic means, to regularly compile and store employee contact information," the labor board director said.

Related Story: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2574118/

The director said the hospital should have scoured those other databases and was unmoved by the hospital's argument that there was no evidence that the missing information was in any of those either. The director also rejected the argument that one of main databases cited in the complaint would have required the managers to sort through an estimated 36,000 listings to find the missing ones, which numbered about four dozen.

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com