San Ramon Medical Center Challenges Nurses’ Bid To Unionize
San Ramon Regional Medical Center officials are challenging the facility's registered nurses' recent vote to join the California Nurses Association, the Contra Costa Times reports (English, Contra Costa Times, 10/31). The nurses earlier this month voted 119-93 to join the union. Two hundred twenty-five of the 241 nurses eligible to vote participated in the "secret-ballot" election; 13 of the votes cast were contested. San Ramon Regional nurses have said staffing at the hospital is "inadequate" and have sought improved benefits and wages (California Healthline, 10/15). Hospital officials, who filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Oct. 17, claim that CNA officials or representatives "engaged in a list of activities that interfered with the election, affected its results or prevented a fair election," the Times reports. The hospital alleges that union representatives "harassed, intimidated or possibly even threatened" San Ramon Regional employees. Kim Burch, the hospital's director of business development, said, "We believe the objections to be well founded," but she did not explain the details of the complaint. CNA organizer Beth Kean said the complaint is similar to a "nuisance lawsuit," adding, "The election was conducted in a proper manner, and the behavior of all parties was spotless." NLRB Assistant Regional Director Bruce Friend over the "next few weeks" will consider the hospital's complaint and decide whether the "objections merit a hearing," the Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 10/31).
In other union news, service and maintenance workers at Stanford Hospital and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital have voted "overwhelmingly" to authorize a strike if they are unable to reach a compromise with officials before their contract expires Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The workers, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 715, are seeking improved wages, a "procedure for addressing staffing issues" and less "reliance" on nonunion workers. Stanford officials have said they are "hopeful" a compromise can be reached by Monday. But union spokesperson Isobel White said that negotiations have "not gone well," the Chronicle reports. The nurses must give the hospitals 10 days' notice prior to a strike (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31).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.