On behalf of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, whose members employ one million people in the State of New Jersey, we ask you to vote no on the release of Assembly Bill No. 6015. This bill, with proposed amendments, places unfair and illegal conditions on transfer of ownership of healthcare facilities. If enacted, this bill could force the closure of essential long-term care facilities and disrupt the market in the healthcare industry.
While we all may want every employee to be protected when a business or entity changes ownership, the law already provides for such protections. It is called collective bargaining. This bill, however, changes the rules of the game and forces a new owner to accept the employees and wage and benefit terms negotiated by the former owner. Such an illegal legislative mandate can have serious consequences for the healthcare industry.
Some of the unintended consequences of this bill include:
- Essential nursing home and other health care facilities may be forced to close because the current owners cannot keep them open and potential purchasers may be dissuaded by the conditions being imposed by this bill. During a pandemic, when these facilities are more essential than ever and struggling to survive, is not the time to make it even more difficult for them to remain open.
- Given the continued consolidation in the healthcare industry, this bill can have a devastating effect on the market forcing certain facilities to close. This may be particularly problematic in our urban areas, where many healthcare facilities have struggled to remain open.
- By requiring that future layoffs of employees be based on a seniority system, you would be removing the necessary flexibility to maintain the best staff ensuring that a business can prosper. No for profit or non-profit business should be forced to accept those conditions on their management.
We also worry about what is next. If the Legislature can mandate the continuation of collective bargaining agreements in the healthcare industry, it is only a matter of time until other industries fall prey to this illegal and intrusive mandate. We note there is already another bill applying similar language to the hotel industry. The time to stop these mandates is now. Let’s not make New Jersey an even worse place to do business.
Given the negative potential impacts of this bill on the essential health care industry, we ask that this bill not be released from committee.