OAKLAND -- Two Oakland senior care homes violated labor laws by firing striking employees and replacing them with nonunion workers, the National Labor Relations Board said in a complaint Thursday.
The NLRB alleged that the Piedmont Gardens senior care home acted illegally when administrators fired 38 caregivers after they went on strike last August.
The labor board set a hearing for May 24 when Piedmont Gardens and the workers' union, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, will present their cases to an administrative labor law judge.
Piedmont Gardens, a multistory facility off Piedmont Avenue, includes assisted-living and skilled nursing care and is owned by Pleasanton-based American Baptist Homes of the West.
"We feel confident the administrative law judge will recognize our organization is acting within its rights to permanently replace 38 team members who walked off the job," said Jeff Glaze, Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Manager.
But the labor board backed the union's claims that the workers had a right to strike, and said the company should pay back wages. Piedmont Gardens will have to turn over financial records including payroll, social security payments, timecards and personnel.
Carlyn Foster, a spokeswoman for the union, said officials anticipate the labor board will force the company to rehire the workers. A dozen have already been rehired since August.
But SEIU-UHW Nursing Director Myriam Escamilla said the 120 or so caregivers at the facility are working without a contract. They are afraid to file grievances, which she said have gone from as many as three per month to zero since the firing.
"This was a very deliberate attempt to break the strike," she said.
The union would consider a settlement, Escamilla added, if it included rehiring with full back wages and a contract to replace the agreement which expired April 30, 2010.
The NLRB hearing will be at 9 a.m. May 24 at the Oakland Federal Building.