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PA Labor Relations Board to Hear Nursing Home Pension Dispute

According to the Erie Times News, the state board will hear a dispute over proposed changes to a pension plan of employees at Pleasant Ridge Manor, Fairview Township and Pleasant Ridge Manor-East, Millcreek Township, both owned by Erie County.
AFSME, the union representing the employees has filed an injunction and an unfair labor practice complaint with PLRB arguing that under state law, pension changes must be negotiated through the union.
According to court information, the county council approved a hybrid pension change that allows about half of the almost 360 nursing home employees to continue to accrue benefits while for the other half, pension accrual would stop. Those employees and others hired after January 1 could opt into a new 401(k) in which Pleasant Ridge would match dollar for dollar, the first three percent of the employee’s contribution. The county wants the pension changed as part of a cost savings measure that also includes consolidating the two facilities.
The council is considering building a new nursing home that could cost more than $60 million as well as a less costly alternative-moving Pleasant Ridge-East patients into Pleasant Ridge and upgrading that facility.
President Judge Ernest J DiSantis prohibited the county from making the pension changes until he or the PLRB authorized them.