Prime Healthcare

Natalie Kitroeff
October 25, 2016

In a ruling last week, the National Labor Relations Board ordered Prime Healthcare Services, the owner of several Southern California hospitals, to pay back wages to laboratory technicians, clerks and pharmacists, among other employees.

The chain owes $6.5 million to 500 workers at Encino Hospital Medical Center and Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center, according to the union representing them, the SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

Prime Healthcare had appealed a 2014 ruling by a regional NLRB judge requiring that the company pay employees annual raises they were promised in an expired 2011 contract.

The national labor board affirmed the judge’s decision, noting that the language in the old contract provided for continued raises for employee’s yearly work anniversaries, even if the contract was not renewed.

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Union officials have been sparring with Prime Healthcare for more than five years over lapsed contracts and the provision of benefits to employees.

In February, a regional NLRB judge ordered Prime Healthcare to recognize a 2014 contract agreement that covers 1,100 employees. Prime has appealed that ruling.

“This is a marker for the workers. It’s a blow against the company, but the pursuit is still about getting the company to recognize the contract vote,” said Sean Wherley, a spokesman for the SEIU-UHW.

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