It's started already.
The National Labor Relations Board on Friday impounded all ballots cast by 45 employees of Maui Medical Group. The employees had voted whether to have union representation by the Hawaii Nurses Association.
The employer challenged all ballots of the registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and medical assistants, alleging that 37 of the positions are supervisory and thus not eligible to be represented by the union, said Tom Cestare of the NLRB.
However, Cestare said the board's "regional director had made the decision they were employees, not supervisors" at an election hearing on May 2.
Maui Medical Group filed a motion challenging the election at 3 p.m. the day before the election was held. The labor board decided it was too late to stop the election and impounded the ballots after the vote.
Perry Confalone, an attorney representing Maui Medical Group, said the challenge was made in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on May 29 changing the way labor officials should determine supervisory status.
Nancy McGuckin, executive director of the HNA, said 34 of 45 positions are not supervisory.
"I think they're using a new Supreme Court decision to try to thwart an election at their facility," McGuckin said.
She said that during a hearing of the Maui Medical Group on May 2, the regional director of the board had argued there were just four supervisors.
"I think it's a ploy and a tactic to not let them have a fair election," McGuckin said.
McGuckin said the issue of whether registered nurses act in supervisory roles has been a long-standing issue in this country.
Cestare said the issue is complicated because nurses give orders, which may be equated to a supervisory role. He said if the board rules any ballots ineligible, they can be removed, and there is no need for a repeat vote.
The labor board's regional San Francisco director will rule on the employer's motion challenging the votes and whether to reopen the hearing records.