Registered Nurses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Vote To Join California Nurses Association
Registered nurses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the largest private hospital in California, last week voted to join the California Nurses Association in a "major victory" for organized labor in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The nurses voted 695-627 to approve unionization in a three-day election after a "rancorous" campaign between CNA and the hospital (Hong, Los Angeles Times, 12/14). 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, 12/12). NLRB must certify the results of the election, after which time nurses will elect a team of negotiators, CNA spokesperson Liz Jacobs said. In a written statement, hospital officials said that they will "examine the union's conduct to determine if any objections should be filed" before certification, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Almeida, AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/15).
The decision by Cedar-Sinai nurses to join CNA may prompt nurses at other hospitals in Southern California to support unionization, CNA Executive Director Ann DeMoro said. "We're now going to see a wave of organizing through Southern California," she added (Hong, Los Angeles Times, 12/14). In addition, the decision may help address the state's nursing shortage through improved salaries and benefits for nurses, the Times reports. The decision "will have a great impact on the standards of nursing practice in California," Jacobs said (Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 12/15).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.