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Sutter Health dealt unfairly with nurses, says federal labor board

Sacramento Bee, 7/26/13

 By Mark Glover

A federal administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Sutter Health East Bay Region officials engaged in unfair labor practices in its dealings with the California Nurses Association representing about 300 registered nurses at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch.

The Tuesday ruling by Jay R. Pollack said Sutter, based in Sacramento, acted improperly when it implemented terms and conditions of employment in September last year, following prolonged negotiations that Sutter declared at an impasse.

The union maintained that talks were not at an impasse and continued to request additional information about fiscal estimates that it said would enable talks to continue. Pollack's ruling faulted Sutter for failing to provide "information relevant for collective bargaining."

CNA objected to conditions it said unilaterally cut paid sick leave and eliminated all paid health care coverage for registered nurses working less than 30 hours a week at the Antioch facility.

The conditions came on the heels of Sutter's expressed concerns about the possible economic impact it would absorb as a result of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Pollack ordered that, on request by the union, Sutter "rescind any unilateral changes it has implemented in its employees' terms and conditions of employment" and "make whole all bargaining unit employees for the losses they suffered as a result of (Sutter's) unilateral changes, plus interest."

CNA noted that the ruling affects only the approximately 300 nurses at the medical center in Antioch.

Sutter issued a short statement: "We think we did nothing wrong and are exploring our options, including filing an appeal."



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