(CN) – A health-care workers’ union violated labor law by urging members to refuse to work overtime without giving their hospital adequate notice, the 9th Circuit ruled.
The National Labor Relations Act requires a union to give 10 days’ notice before launching any “concerted refusal to work.”
Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers-West gave only four days’ notice before its members declined overtime work.
The union claimed the 10-day notice was unnecessary, because its collective bargaining agreement barred the hospital from forcing individual employees to work overtime.
But the National Labor Relations Board held that the union violated the notice requirement, because an individual’s right to decline overtime isn’t the same as a collective refusal.
A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco affirmed.
Judge Schroeder acknowledged that all employees could independently refuse to work overtime without triggering the requirements tied to a “concerted refusal to work.”
“Here, however, the members did not act on an individual basis,” Schroeder explained. “Rather, their action was ‘concerted’ because it was orchestrated by the union.”
As a result, the court deferred to the labor board and upheld its decision.