R.I. nonprofit files allegations against SEIU

Michael P. Tremoglie Feb. 24, 2012, 12:16pm

LINCOLN, R.I. (Legal Newsline) -- Fellowship Health Resources Inc. has filed an unfair labor practice charge with Region One of the National Labor Relations Board against the SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts.

The nonprofit organization claims that the union representatives at their Fall River, New Bedford, and Cape Cod facilities engage in disruptive and deceptive tactics.

"SEIU organizers have lied to FHR staff in order to obtain signatures on union authorization cards by claiming to be fellow FHR employees who are merely conducting a 'survey', or advocating with a 'petition' for more money at the State House," explains FHR President/CEO Joe Dziobek. "In reality, we believe our employees were being deceived into signing union authorization cards."

According to the company, SEIU union organizers have been making visits to FHR employees' homes since January and have been trying to gain access, at all hours of the night, to FHR's group residential programs often using false pretenses. When discovered and asked to leave the organizers have refused until threatened that the police will be called.

"The most offensive aspect about this situation is that the union is aggressively trying to gain access to our residential programs - which are home environments for the individuals served - to pull employees away from their direct care jobs," Dziobek says. "Staff repeatedly tell me that the union obtains access and signatures under false pretenses. FHR has taken legal action to preserve our clinical program environments."

The official complaint filed at the National Labor Relations Board by FHR accuses the Union of violating Section 8(b)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act "by intentionally deceiving and coercing employees into signing union authorization cards, and thereby depriving employees of their rights under the law."

Dziobek said the company will take the appropriate steps to safeguard their employees. The union's intimidation will not be permitted.

"We've advised employees about these disdainful actions and are taking legal action to protect our employees' rights," Dziobek says.

FHR operates 73 behavioral healthcare services programs across Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. These services include mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, vocational rehabilitation, case management, assistance with daily living, and social support. They assist people in "their recovery while improving their mental health, well-being, and quality of life."

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