Pennsylvania health system should have turned over parts of sale agreement to union, court rules

The National Labor Relations Board was wrong in ordering Crozer-Keystone Health System to disclose to a union its entire sale agreement Prospect Medical Holdings, a U.S. appeals court ruled Sept. 24.

But the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia agreed with the board’s previous determination that the health system violated federal labor law by failing to turn over parts of the sale agreement.

The appeals court’s 2-1 ruling found that at least part of the agreement between Springfield, Pa.-based Crozer and Prospect, a for-profit hospital operator based in Los Angeles, was relevant to collective bargaining with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, and that the health system, in not turning it over, violated the National Labor Relations Act. The court sent the case back to the board to determine which documents the union is entitled to review.

At issue in the case are documents pertaining to Prospect’s 2016 acquisition of Crozer, which involved Crozer hospitals, its physician network and other facilities.

In the case, the Pennsylvania union asked Crozer-Keystone for a full copy of the sale agreement for “effects bargaining” after union members learned about the  pending sale, but the health system refused to provide  it, saying the agreement was confidential and not relevant to the bargaining process, the appeals court said. 

The union subsequently filed unfair labor charges with the National Labor Relations Board, which found that at least parts of the agreement were relevant, and Crozer-Keystone petitioned the appeals court to review the board’s previous decision.

Crozer Health, formerly Crozer-Keystone, praised the appeals court decision in a statement shared with Becker’s Hospital Review.

“We are pleased that the 3rd circuit court of appeals has ruled for the case to be sent back to the NLRB to determine which documents are permissible for the collective bargaining process,” the health system said. “We are confident that the remaining documents that are at issue are not relevant to PASNAP’s role as collective bargaining representative of Crozer employees. We look forward to moving forward before the NLRB on this issue.”

Becker’s reached out to the union and will post more details when they are available.

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