CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST: NRLB Enters Nurses’ Union Recognition Case
The National Labor Relations Board went to court Monday to force Catholic Healthcare West to recognize the Saint Louise Regional Hospital nurses' union, the San Jose Mercury News reports. In October, CHW closed its Morgan Hill facility and consolidated operations with St. Louise, located in Gilroy. At that time, CHW told nurses that it would not recognize the union unless it represented more than half of the combined staff. According to Joe Lindsay of the California Nurses Association, the hospital administration has made "unilateral changes in working conditions," including altered seniority requirements, reduced overtime and on-call pay differentials and a new sick leave policy that requires that nurses miss work for five days before they can draw sick leave pay. The suit is asking that CHW recognize the union and rescind the changes. Harry Joel, vice president of Human Resources at CHW, said that the 70 nurses at the Morgan Hill facility did not have a bargaining agent. He added, "In reality, only 46 of 100 nurses at the Gilroy facility were represented by the CNA." NRLB lawyers contend that by refusing to recognize the union, CHW "is sending a continuing message to unit employees that the union is powerless to either protect their interests or compel the respondent to comply with the law." Veronica Clements, an NRLB attorney, said, "We're asking the court to force the hospital to bargain on an interim basis with the nurses while we litigate the case before an administrative law judge beginning April 25" (Rodebaugh, 4/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.