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Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center v. National Labor Relations Board

decided: July 21, 1982.


Long Island Jewish Hillside Medical Center sought review of the National Labor Relations Board's decision and order finding it guilty of unfair labor practices, and the Board cross-petitioned for enforcement of its order. The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Feinberg, Chief Judge, Cardamone, Circuit Judge and Sand, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Feinberg

FEINBERG, Chief Judge:

Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center (the Center) petitions this court to review and set aside an order of the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) dated April 16, 1982 that found that the Center had unlawfully refused to bargain with the League of Registered Nurses, District 1199, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, RWDSU, AFL-CIO (the Union). The Board has filed a cross-application for enforcement of its order. The Union has intervened in these proceedings, and the Hospital Association of New York and the American Hospital Association have filed briefs as amici curiae. Because we find that the Board applied an inappropriate standard in determining the proper bargaining unit, we remand for further proceedings.


In June 1981, the Union filed a representation petition with the Board seeking certification as the exclusive bargaining representative of the registered nurses employed at the Center's facility in Manhasset, New York. After five days of hearings in July, the Board's Regional Director issued a Decision and Direction of Election in August 1981 in which he found appropriate for collective bargaining the following unit of employees:

All full-time and regular part-time registered nurses, including staff nurses, nurse practitioners, assistant nursing care coordinators, and per diem staff nurses employed by the [Center] at its Manhasset division . . ., excluding all other employees, clinical nurse specialists, guards, and supervisors as defined in the Act, including the director of nursing, associate director of nursing, assistant directors of nursing and nursing care coordinators.

In September 1981, the Center filed a Request for Review of this decision, alleging, inter alia, that the Regional Director erred in finding that a unit of approximately 80 registered nurses limited to a single division, rather than one encompassing 630 nurses at all the relevant divisions, was appropriate. The Board denied the Center's Request for Review in October 1981. That same day, the Regional Director conducted an election in which a majority of employees selected the Union as their bargaining representative. Two weeks later, the Regional Director issued a Certification of Representative to the Union, making it the exclusive bargaining representative for the unit.

Thereafter, the Union asked the Center to bargain with it, but the Center refused in order to obtain further review of the appropriateness of the bargaining unit. In April 1982, the Union filed an unfair labor practice charge, alleging that the Center had violated sections 8(a) (1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), 29 U.S.C. ยงยง 158(a) (1), (5). The Center admitted its refusal to bargain but challenged the appropriateness of the unit and the validity of the certification. On April 16, 1982, the Board issued its Decision and Order, granting the General Counsel's motion for summary judgment and finding that the Center had violated the Act. The Board required the Center to cease and desist from its unfair labor practices, to refrain from interfering with its employees' rights in any like or related manner, to bargain with the Union upon request and to post appropriate notices. This petition for review and cross-application for enforcement followed.


The crux of this controversy is whether a unit of registered nurses limited to one of several divisions is appropriate or whether the unit must encompass all of the Center's divisions. The evidence before the Board indicated that the Center is a non-profit voluntary health care institution, which employs registered nurses at three operational divisions: the Hillside division, the Long Island Jewish division and the Manhasset division. The Hillside division mainly provides intermediate term care, while the Long Island Jewish and Manhasset divisions provide medical services on a short-term basis to acutely ill patients. The Center operates under a single, center-wide "operating certificate" issued by the New York State Department of Health, and it is a single entity under the New York State Hospital Code and the standards of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. It has a single reimbursement rate for the cost of patient care anywhere within the Center. The annual budget and the financial and audit report are prepared on a center-wide basis.

The Center is governed by a board of trustees, with everyday administration delegated to the president. A senior vice-president has direct day-to-day responsibility for the operation of the three divisions and reports to the president. The Corporate Management Council is the highest administrative decision-making body. It receives recommendations regarding administrative and personnel policies from the Management Council and other suggestions regarding programs and policies from the Executive Management Committee. These recommendations and suggestions are formulated on a center-wide basis. Personnel, purchasing, community relations, employees' health service, management planning, grants management, risk management, and laboratory and medical records are handled on a center-wide basis; thus, if a patient needs treatment unavailable in one division, he can easily be transferred to another division to obtain the required care.

The Center acquired the Manhasset division in June 1981 to alleviate a chronic shortage of beds. The Manhasset division is located about five miles from the Center's unified campus in New Hyde Park, New York. When construction of a new medical facility on the main campus is completed in the next few years, the Center plans to relocate the Manhasset beds at its Long Island division. At that time, Manhasset will cease to be an operating division of the Center and will be converted to some other use. Manhasset employees will be transferred to the Long Island division with perhaps some reduction in number due to attrition.

Although the Regional Director found that administrators at Manhasset continue to exercise substantial control over day-to-day operations, they cannot formulate hospital policy and are bound by the centralized administration's directives, in particular, those of the Director of Nursing. After acquiring the Manhasset facility, the Center altered the division's supervisory structure and titles somewhat to conform to those at other divisions. With respect to personnel decisions, the Center's Associate Director of Nursing for Administration screens applicants for nursing positions before sending them over to the Manhasset division for interviews. The Director of Nursing makes final decisions as to hiring, although she accords great weight to the recommendations of supervisory authorities at Manhasset. The Center also claims that the job openings are posted on a center-wide basis, although the Regional Director found that official postings for certain positions had not been placed at the Manhasset division. The Regional Director also found that there had been ...

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