National Labor Relations Board Overturns Cedars-Sinai Nurses’ Decision To Unionize
The National Labor Relations Board on Monday "thr[ew] out" a vote by nurses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to join the California Nurses Association, ruling that CNA "engaged in unfair tactics that influenced the election," the Los Angeles Times reports (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 8/4).
Cedars-Sinai officials appealed the unionization vote to the national office of the NLRB after an administrative law judge from the agency's regional office denied the hospital's initial challenge in March 2003 (California Healthline, 4/14/03). The decision to unionize had been decided by a vote of 695-627.
The NLRB ruling found that an employee who opposed unionization received anonymous threatening phone calls, which were "likely to have intimidated enough nurses to potentially chance the election's outcome," the Times reports. According to the Times, the NLRB's "rare decision" is "a setback to the union, because Cedars-Sinai is one of the largest and most prestigious hospitals in the West."
CNA spokesperson Chuck Idelson said that the threats were "unfounded, unsubstantiated and uncorroborated allegations by one individual who was well known as the most anti-union official in the hospital."
However, Cedars-Sinai officials said that many nurses made complaints about the union's behavior days before the election. Idelson said that he believed Cedars-Sinai nurses would unionize when another is vote is held -- potentially within the next year (Los Angeles Times, 8/4).