Friday, March 17, 2006
NURSES VOTE FOR UNION HUNG UP ON "BOGUS" CHARGES
One of the fastest growing unions in the country, the California Nurses Association has won elections for more than 18,000 RNs at 49 hospitals the past five years, a record unequaled by any other union. CNA represents 66,000 registered nurses in 170 facilities.
One of the latest battles is at the Citrus Valley Medical Center located in West Covina, CA. It serves the San Gabril Valley community.
Nurses there held a candlelight vigil last night. The vigil was joined by Assemblyman Ed Chavez and religious and political leaders in front of the hospital. The protest was to draw public attention to the hospital administration filing frivolous legal objections to the nurses overwhelming vote to join the California Nurses Association (CNA) on January 27. The count was 358 to 247 for CNA in the secret ballot election that was supervised by federal labor board officials.
A hearing before the NLRB ended on March 10, utilizing only half of the scheduled three days. A decision is expected at the latest by the end of April.
“I think the reason why the hearing ended so soon is because Citrus administration didn’t have much of a case to begin with,” said Maria Domingo an RN who works in Labor and Delivery at Queen of the Valley and who attended both days of the hearing. “Whether you are for or against CNA, it is insulting to all nurses when they say our vote was somehow influenced by the ludicrous things they have raised during this hearing.”
“The nurses have exercised our democratic right and overwhelmingly voted in a secret ballot election for CNA because we want a real voice in decisions that effect patient care,” said Annazilta Pierre-Duncan a Citrus RN who was also present at the hearing. “Administration should respect the wishes of the nurses. The hospital is just stalling and in wasting precious time and resources that could be better spent on improving care.”
According to the CNA, the vote was the largest NLRB victory for RNs in the nation in several years, and was the second victory for CNA at major hospitals with more than 700 RNs in three months. About 800 RNs at Tri-City Medical Center in northern San Diego County affiliated with CNA in November.
One of the fastest growing unions in the country, CNA has won elections for more than 18,000 RNs at 49 hospitals the past five years, a record unequaled by any other union. CNA represents 66,000 registered nurses in 170 facilities.
The following article is from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Citrus Valley nurses defend unionizing plan
By Jason Kosareff Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
WEST COVINA - Registered nurses Thursday protested efforts by Citrus Valley Medical Center to allegedly block unionizing by filing legal objections.
Diane Flores, a nurse who voted in favor of going union said the hospital's legal objections are "just bogus charges." Flores gathered with dozens of co-workers on Sunset Avenue, in front of the hospital, for a candlelight vigil.
Since the Jan. 27 vote to join the California Nurses Association, Citrus Valley Health Partners, the hospital's parent company, has filed nine legal objections with the National Labor Relations Board.
The nurses voted 358-247 in favor of joining the union in a secret-ballot election supervised by federal labor officials.
Union organizer Roy Hong call the objections "frivolous."
"We obviously don't think they're frivolous," said Lisa Foust, vice president of human resources for Citrus Valley Health Partners. "We think they're responsive."
Foust said nurses opposed to unionizing were subjected to coercion by union organizers.
"The specific conduct that was described to us by our employees was not in fact free and fair," Foust said.
The hospital's objections include complaints of surveillance, harassment, coercion and use of outside influence, Foust said.
"These are not frivolous complaints," Foust said. "They are bona fide and serious concerns expressed by a large number of RNs."
Nurse Marilyn Cluff, who voted against joining the union, said some nurses crossed the line when campaigning inside the hospital. She said in many cases, union organizers were trying to campaign as nurses were working on patients. Some nurses and union organizers took photographs at nursing stations that later appeared in union literature, Cluff said.
Hong said union organizers have a right to any place in the hospital accessible to the public. Hospital administrators said union organizing at nursing stations or at patients' bedsides is unacceptable.
The protesters on Thursday were joined by Assemblyman Ed Chavez, D-Industry.
"I'm disappointed at the administration of the hospital," Chavez said. He said the 111-vote margin of victory for the union should show that most nurses did not find the union's organizing tactics objectionable.
A final ruling on the vote is expected from the National Labor Relations Board next month.