Cedars-Sinai Medical Center To Challenge Nurses’ Vote; Accuses CNA of ‘Misconduct’
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the largest private hospital in California, Friday said it will challenge a vote by its 1,500 registered nurses to join the California Nurses Association and accused the union of intimidation, property damage and "interference with the right to vote," the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein/Hong, Los Angeles Times, 12/21). On Dec. 13, the nurses voted 695-627 to approve unionization in a three-day election after a "rancorous" campaign between CNA and the hospital. In November, nurses at Cedars-Sinai asked Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) to investigate whether hospital officials "illegally tried to thwart a union organizing drive." Nurses and union officials also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board based on allegations that hospital officials questioned nurses about the unionization campaign, conducted surveillance and threatened to terminate employees who support unionization. Cedars-Sinai nurses petitioned for the unionization vote in September. The nurses hope that unionization will allow them to negotiate with the hospital on issues such as mandatory overtime, nurse-to-patient ratios, improved retirement benefits and seniority-based raises (California Healthline, 12/16). Filing objections with the NLRB could delay the election's certification by weeks or months.
Cedars-Sinai Senior Vice President for Human Resources Jeanne Flores said, "To the extent that we believe that there was misconduct, we have a right and a duty to our nurses to raise the issue and let the NLRB decide." Flores did not provide examples, saying that the hospital prefers to discuss specifics with NRLB during the legal process (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/21). CNA officials called the hospital's allegations "baseless and outrageous," the Times reports. "Ultimately, they're trying to win through legal maneuvering what they failed to win at the ballot box," CNA Executive Director Ann DeMoro said, adding, "They ran a vile, vicious campaign against the nurses" (Los Angeles Times, 12/21).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.