Monday, April 02, 2007


Nurses continue to represent a vanguard of the US labor movement. All across the country nurses have been at the forefront of organizing drives. And they ain't stopping.

Way back last summer an official with the National Labor Review Board ruled that administrators at Flagstaff Medical Center (see picture) repeatedly violated labor laws weeks before nurses voted whether to unionize.

The finding invalidated the results from a two-day vote in June and would have forced the medical center, known as FMC, to hold a new election in the fall, but an appeal of the ruling by FMC has long delayed a new vote.

The following is from the web page of the California Nurses Association.

Flagstaff Hospital Faces Trial for anti-RN Illegal Acts - Administration's Refusal to Settle Charges Stalls Election As Community Coalition to Urge End to Lawbreaking

Flagstaff Medical Center will go on trial May 1 for violating federal law in interfering with the democratic rights of its registered nurses to form a union.

Concurrently, a broad community coalition is forming in Flagstaff that on Tuesday will demand FMC stop its lawless activities and will express concern that FMC’s interference with the RNs’ rights undermines the nurses’ ability to provide quality patient care.

What: Community coalition press conference
When: 9 a.m., Tuesday, April 3
Where: Front entry steps, Flagstaff City Hall
211 W. Aspen Ave. , Flagstaff

For the third time in five months, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late Friday indicted FMC for ongoing illegal actions.

Last October the NLRB issued its first complaint against FMC for penalizing nurses who testified under subpoena on the hospital’s threats of wage freezes if nurses voted for the union in June 2006 as RNs were deciding on affiliation with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, the national arm of the California Nurses Association.

In January, the NLRB ordered a new union election citing those threats which it said had prevented a fair election. In March, FMC initially agreed to settle a new round of charges, but the administration abruptly reversed course, delaying the new election. As a result, the hospital will now face trial in front of a federal administrative law judge before an election can be held. The NLRB does not conduct elections while the employer is engaged in ongoing unlawful conduct.

"We have fought hard just to have our right to a fair election,” said Nancy Swann, FMC RN. “FMC needs to stop violating the law and honor our united voices to have our union so that we can deliver the best, safest patient care for our community. It is time for FMC to stop interfering with our rights and demonstrate the same respect and dignity for nurses that we have for our patients."

According to the latest NLRB complaint, the hospital has created a bogus, management-controlled union intended to subvert the ability of RNs to form their own, independent union. The so-called Alliance for Professional Nursing Excellence has begun dealing with FMC officials on issues affecting working conditions, a clear violation of federal law, the NLRB charges.

Additionally, the NLRB charged Friday that the hospital has also broken the law by threatening RNs with the loss of pay increases and retirement benefits if they vote to join NNOC/CNA. The complaint came as a result of a thorough field investigation by labor board agents in Flagstaff involving examination of hundreds of hospital documents and talking with many nurses.

Included in the later group, the Board alleges that FMC has:

“threatened its employees with loss of wage increases and benefits if they supported the Union”
“threatened its employees with unspecified reprisals because they discussed their appraisals and other terms and conditions of employment with their fellow employees”
“created an impression among its employees that their concerted activities were under surveillance”
"FMC needs to end its serial lawbreaking, which continues even after it has been repeatedly sanctioned by the federal government. Hospital officials are also compromising the well-being of the community by refusing to respect the rights of its professional caregivers to form a strong, independent union. It's time for this behavior to stop," said NNOC/CNA organizing director David Johnson.

NNOC/CNA is one of the nation's largest and fastes- growing organizations of RNs, representing some 75,000 RNs in 50 states.

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