EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint for unfair labor practices against East Liverpool City Hospital.

The Ohio Nurses Association first filed the charges with the board, leading to an independent investigation by the NLRB. During the investigation, the board found merit to many of the charges, according to Anne Mueller, labor representative with the Ohio Nurses Association.

“The fact that the NLRB, as part of their investigation, found merit is significant,” Mueller said.

In the complaint, the allegations claim unlawful labor practices dated back as far as August 2020. Some of the charges alleged that the hospital failed to implement a wage increase. There were also other charges filed.

“The bad-faith bargaining, which included failure to provide information to the union, unlawfully cutting off negotiations, unlawfully declaring impasse, unlawfully changing nurses working conditions and conditions of employment,” Mueller said. 

The hospital was given until December 31, 2021, to respond to the charges. Mueller says it did respond, denying any wrongdoing.

“Which is very disappointing and disheartening. Because it’s a sign that they basically rather fight, continue to fight and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting, now the federal government, rather than just settling with the federal government and settling with the union and the nurses,” Mueller said. 

Mueller says she hopes the hospital will work with the union to resolve the issue. She said there is currently a nurse shortage at the hospital and believes higher wages will help fill those positions. 

A hearing has been set for March 7. The hearing will take place in a hearing room of the National Labor Relations Board before an administrative law judge. Both parties will have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence regarding the allegations. 

First News reached out to East Liverpool City Hospital and the National Labor Relations Board. As of yet, we have not heard back from East Liverpool City Hospital.

A representative from the NLRB did confirm that its Region 8 will be prosecuting the case. If found to be at fault, the judge could order the hospital to carry out certain actions, however, the hospital cannot be ordered to pay any fines.

According to the NLRB website, “Under its statute, the NLRB cannot assess penalties. The agency may seek make-whole remedies, such as reinstatement and backpay for discharged workers, and informational remedies, such as the posting of a notice by the employer promising to not violate the law.”