SACRAMENTO: Mercy Healthcare Workers Request Union Vote
Mercy Healthcare Sacramento workers requested National Labor Relations Board sanction Monday to hold a union-organizing vote for more than 2,000 hourly employees at the system's seven hospitals, the Sacramento Bee reports. Bill Watson, a monitor technician at Mercy General Hospital, explained the reason behind the workers' request, noting, "At this point in time, we're pretty well stifled. When someone complains to their supervisor ... it's easy for management to say, 'Well, that's just one person's opinion.' With a union behind us, it becomes a listened-to voice." In conjunction with the sanction request, State Assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) announced that he has formed a committee to "monitor the ballot to ensure employees feel free to vote their conscience." Mercy Healthcare Sacramento spokesperson Jill Dryer said the oversight committee is unnecessary since Mercy officials have urged workers for more than a year to seek a union election. "We're optimistic about this. Now this process can move forward," she said. She added that the "National Labor Relations Act provides important and effective protections for employees and a time-tested process that many unions ... have used very successfully." But Lisa Hubbard, spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union Local 250, which would serve the unionized workers, said "Employees are generally concerned about the environment not being one where they can freely express the desire to form a union" (Fisher, 11/16).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.