Disagreement Between CNA, Antelope Valley Hospital Officials Delays Union Representation for Nurses
Nurses at Lancaster-based Antelope Valley Hospital have sought union representation, but hospital and union officials disagree on the number of registered nurses employed at the facility, which has delayed the process, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the California Nurses Association, a majority of the hospital's registered nurses in May voted to join the union. However, according to Antelope Valley officials, the hospital has 653 registered nurses, not 575 as the CNA claims, which raises questions about the May vote. In addition, hospital officials "refuse to recognize" the union as a result of a disagreement over "how a union election should be held."
The Antelope Valley nurses made the "recent push" for union representation over concerns about low nurse-to-patient ratios at the facility, which they attribute to the closure of two area hospitals and the area's 27% increase in population over the last 10 years. Colleen Sichley, a registered nurse at the hospital, said, "Pay is not the issue. It's unsafe staffing." However, Gary Hill, chair of the hospital's board, said, "I think (the union) is engaged in hyperbole. We know they are making a major statewide push to increase their membership." Nine state lawmakers last week sent a letter to the hospital's board listing the "perceived problems" at the facility, including a "wide range of anti-union activities" conducted by hospital personnel. The lawmakers said that they would investigate the hospital "if administrators do not recognize the union," according to the Times. Ed Callahan, an Antelope Valley spokesperson, denied the allegations of anti-union activities. The Public Employment Relations Board issued a complaint on behalf of the nurses, and union and hospital representatives will meet on July 22 to "explain their positions" to an administrative law judge (Fausset, Los Angeles Times, 7/9).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.