Howard Brown layoffs: NLRB discover benefit in complaints


Among the many affiliation’s 16 prices that allege not less than 24 separate violations of the Nationwide Labor Relations Act, the NLRB discovered benefit in eight prices, in keeping with INA lawyer Matthew Bartmes. These embrace prices that Howard Brown bargained regressively with the union, equipped false data to it, and unlawfully bargained over and carried out the layoffs of greater than 60 staff with out reaching a authentic deadlock. The remaining prices are nonetheless beneath investigation, Bartmes stated.

Now, as is customized, the NLRB says it can search a settlement between the events, which may embrace reinstatement of staff, again pay and different damages paid to wrongfully laid-off staff. If Howard Brown doesn’t conform to settle, the NLRB would then situation a criticism in opposition to the supplier and the matter would go earlier than an administrative legislation choose, who would in the end make a ruling on whether or not Howard Brown violated the Nationwide Labor Relations Act.

Howard Brown’s Affiliate Director of Communications and Advertising Wren O’Kelley informed Crain’s that the group was notified of the NLRB’s findings on Tuesday and is “deeply shocked and upset.”

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“Our purpose has at all times been to work and negotiate in good religion with our union and all of our staff,” O’Kelley says.

O’Kelley added that Howard Brown has not but decided the way it will transfer ahead or whether or not it can conform to the settlement.

Howard Brown laid off 16% of its employees late final yr amid monetary challenges and a $12 million income hole. Reduce positions included administrative, social service and behavioral well being roles. In response, a whole lot of Howard Brown employees started placing at a number of of the well being system’s clinics throughout Chicago, asking the supplier to reinstate the workers.

“Figuring out that many individuals who cared about this group can be dropping their jobs, and that so many sufferers can be dropping the employees who cared for them, was infuriating,” Lindsey Martin, a licensed medical social employee who had labored for Howard Brown for eight years earlier than being laid off, stated within the union assertion. “This NLRB willpower feels deeply vindicating. It’s not simply us, our sufferers, and our group who sees the injustice.”

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The layoffs got here simply months after a lot of those self same staff voted to affix the well being system’s current nurses union. With the transfer, the union started representing greater than 400 Howard Brown, Broadway Youth Heart and Brown Elephant employees, although that quantity has now dropped to 355 employees. Roles represented embrace affected person assist employees, social work and behavioral well being groups, retail employees and a few administrative professionals.

In its assertion at the moment, the union stated Howard Brown management got here to preliminary bargaining conferences with a proposal for workers cutbacks. As contract negotiations proceeded, the union stated Howard Brown administration delayed offering monetary proof that layoffs have been needed, equipped false data to union leaders and employees, threatened a bargaining unit and surveilled union members.

Howard Brown CEO David Ernesto Munar beforehand informed Crain’s he was conscious of the NLRB complaints however maintained that administration had bargained in good religion with the union.

Based in 1974, Howard Brown gives well being care primarily to LGBTQ+ sufferers throughout a number of clinics in Chicago and serves greater than 40,000 adults yearly. In accordance with its web site, the system has an annual funds of greater than $145 million.

This story first appeared in Crain’s Chicago Enterprise.

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