On Monday, March 13, a pre-election hearing began with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to determine whether medical residents at Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) will be allowed a formal vote to unionize. In February, organizers collected signatures from the required 30% of residents to file for an election with the NLRB, seeking to be represented by the Union of American Physicians & Dentists.
The NLRB is an independent federal agency responsible for enforcing labor law in the United States. Both the regional NLRB office overseeing the case and the national NLRB Board denied LLUH’s request to stop the pre-election hearing while it makes an argument that the government can’t interfere in its labor relations due to religious freedom.
On March 14, Loma Linda University Health also filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against the NLRB. “If the Church were to be ordered by the Board to recognize and bargain with the Union, it would be forced under the threat of civil sanction to act contrary to its long-standing and well-established religious teachings regarding labor organizations,” the complaint reads.