New documents reviewed by LaborLab reveal that Rogers Behavioral Health, a residential mental health center in Oconomowoc, WI, hired anti-union "persuader" consultants to coerce employees who are charging the company for violating their right to unionize. The nurses and other professional staff working with the National Union of Healthcare Workers were specifically targeted by the union busting firm Valens Business Services.
Anti-union "persuaders" are notorious for skirting the law and coercing workers into opposing the formation of unions. They are hired by employers to meet with workers and put pressure on them to vote against unionization. Anti-union "persuaders" are notorious for skirting the law and coercing workers into opposing the formation of unions. They are hired by employers to meet with workers and put pressure on them to vote against unionization.
Interestingly, Valens Business Services shares an address in Broken Arrow, OK, with the most active anti-union "persuader" firm in the country: Labor Relations Institute (LRI) headed by Phil Wilson. Many union busting firms have been started by LRI underlings or are connected to LRI through subcontracts.
Rogers Behavioral Health, which offers inpatient and residential treatment for children, teens, and adults in a "tranquil setting," is opposing unionization, which is ironic because unions have been shown to improve mental health outcomes for both providers and patients.
The company brought in union busters to meet with workers in March and April. However, the anti-union activities were not reported until May, which is a violation of disclosure laws that state union busters must disclose their activities to the U.S. Department of Labor within 30 days of entering into an agreement because workers are entitled to the information.
At the time of publishing this bulletin, the charges against Rogers Behavioral Health have not been resolved by the NLRB. This case highlights the need for greater transparency around the activities of anti-union "persuader" firms and their connections to other anti-union organizations.
Employees have the right to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. It is essential that companies respect these rights and that the government enforces the laws designed to protect them. It is time to hold companies like Rogers Behavioral Health accountable for their anti-worker activities and to ensure that workers have the freedom to unionize without fear of coercion or intimidation.
Published May 8, 2023